5 Announcements a Mobile Dev Can’t Afford to Miss from the 2015 Microsoft Build Conference
There are a lot of developer events that often provide little news. The Microsoft Build conference 2015 event this week is not one of them, Microsoft made some major announcements that deserve developer attention.
Developers who have attended the last couple Microsoft Build events know that they have been more about receiving cool devices than hearing about big announcements. In 2013, developers received a Microsoft Surface Pro along with news about Windows 8.1. At the Microsoft Build Conference 2014, developers received Xbox One and news about Window Phone 8.1 and an update on Visual Studio. While it’s always fun to go to an event and receive products, we are now seeing the developer impact from Satya Nadella’s ascension to Microsoft CEO.
2015 Microsoft Build Announcement Developers Need to Know
1. New Toolkits to Port Android and iOS Apps to Windows 10
One of the most interesting announcements was that Microsoft will be providing tools to port Android and iOS applications to Windows 10. Porting applications cross-platform is nothing new. In the early days of mobile app development, companies became proficient at porting apps across different Java platforms. This is a smart strategy and could be great for developers, but it really depends on how the tools work. It needs to be well executed for developers to perform the initial port, and provide a solid user experience and way to effectively manage updates). Amazon recently had a similar approach porting Android apps to the Fire Phone OS. It seemed to work well for many apps, but that was less of a port.
2. Microsoft Edge to Replace Internet Explorer
The company also announced its new browser, Microsoft Edge. This was not a surprise. The new browser had been known as Project Spartan, and was meant to replace Internet Explorer. However, it was a surprise to learn Microsoft Edge will support Mozilla and Chrome extensions. Project Spartan is supposed to support the ORTC API for WebRTC in the 1.1 version, but I saw no new details on that at Microsoft Build.
3. Release of .NET Core for Mac and Linux
Another indication of the company’s move toward cross-platform support was its announcement of .NET Core. This open source software allows developers to build cloud apps on multiple platforms including Linux and Mac OSX. Microsoft has made .NET Core foundational libraries available on GitHub, so developers can already start to use it.
4. HoloLens VR Headset at Microsoft Build
Many of us have probably already seen videos of the HoloLens VR headset, so it’s no surprise that it was at the center of the coolest technology announcement at the Microsoft Build Conference. There are a lot of companies working in virtual reality. One of the most impressive demos today was when the HoloLens VR headset was used to study the human body. The person wearing the headset could zoom through the different layers of the body to learn more about it. The company announced the Windows Holographic Platform, which developers can use to turn their Windows 10 apps into HoloLens holograms.
5. Continuum Turns a Mobile Device into a Desktop
Microsoft had previously announced that Continuum could transition apps between tablets and PCs (and that the Windows 10 OS would cover all devices). At Microsoft Build, the company took it one step further and demo’d how you can use Continuum to turn your mobile Windows device into a desktop computer. Just as people have been carrying tablets instead of laptops, with Continuum you can see how people might just carry their phone and then connect it to a monitor and keyboard. Here, developers will want to think about how their Windows Phone apps can take advantage of this capability.
What do you think was the most interesting announcement at the Microsoft Build Conference 2015? Let us know in the comments.