Build 2014: Enabling Developers to Embrace Cloud First/Mobile First experiences

Today, John Shewchuk and I delivered the concluding keynote at Build 2014 in San Francisco.  Our keynote focused on hands-on demos that demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to helping developers achieve success in the mobile-first/cloud-first world of ubiquitous devices and ambient intelligence

This year at BUILD, our goal has been to focus on simplifying a developer’s life.  We've gone about this in three ways: by empowering developers to painlessly bring their existing investments and assets forward, by enabling the creation of cloud and mobile first app experiences, and by providing tools and technologies that help developers maximize their business opportunities across different platforms.

A core component of Microsoft’s commitment to web developers is our enablement of one seamless development approach for both the web and Windows and our facilitation of developer reuse of existing investments. As an example, the enhanced Web App Template (WAT) enables developers to turn their websites into first class HTML5 apps on Windows and Windows Phone, as well allowing these apps to pull throughWindows features like access to device and sensors, charm integration, live tiles and offline protocols. Today we are making available offline functionality for Windows 8.1; the same functionality for Windows Phone will arrive in May.

John and I showcased a number of partner apps that demonstrate this commitment and the business opportunity of building on the Microsoft platform:

  • Accela demonstrated the capabilities of WAT’s offline functionality and we showed their app , designed forWindows andWindows Phone to empower users to make better-informed real estate property decisions.Thisapp uses an internal proxy to automatically pre-fetch and cache content to enable it to function fully offline.
  • Doodle God 2, the successor to JoyBits’ hit game Doodle God, will start as an exclusive to Microsoft.  JoyBits built the new game in native C++ and Direct X code and used 100% of the same code across Windows 8.1 Update, Windows Phone 8.1 and Xbox One, enabling players to pause the game on one device and resume where they left off on another (powered by Windows Azure). 
  • Vesper built a new app for iOS, which is a minimalistic to-do list app.  The Vesper team made an early decision to use Windows Azure Mobile Services to build their back end services
  • Heapsylon’s Sensoria fitness socks use low energy Bluetooth (v4) to connect to a device and provide not only distance and speed data, but also insight into the quality of a runner’s form using Big Data services running on Microsoft Azure.  A Windows Phone app will arrive in the coming months.  The socks come with an SDK so developers can build out new scenarios and experiences apps around this wearable technology.
  • GoPro, maker of the world’s most versatile lifestyle cameras have taken their existing Windows Phone app and extended it to Windows 8.1 Update and Xbox One using a common platform built on JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.
  • Foursquare carried forward their existing investments in Windows to build next generation Windows Phone app.  By taking advantage of Windows Phone 8.1’s geo-fences capabilities, the Foursquare app can trigger notifications when the users enters/leaves a defined area – without the app even running.  Developers can set thousands of geo-fences, far more than available on competitive platforms, while the OS minimizes battery consumption.  In Foursquare’s case, they can use their Live Tile and system notifications to serve context appropriate real-time, location-based promotions.
  • empowers developers to take legacy code and not only keep using it, but bring it forward.  With their WebMAP v2 tool, developers can take previous assets like VB6 code into modern, C# windows and web code.
  • Gobbler helps artists, producers and video editors use the cloud to create and collaborate on music and video projects.  Gobbler is migrating from Amazon’s AWS to Microsoft Azure because of Microsoft’s collaborative approach to partnership and a detailed technical analysis which demonstrated their existing platform would thrive in the Microsoft cloud.   Gobbler CEO and Founder Chris Kantrowitz says it best…
  • Akai/Newmark announced their latest instruments, the Akai MPC and Numark NS7, built on Windows Embedded Industry 8.1. These are the same instruments used by artists including Skrillex, Lady Gag, Dr. Dre and Trent Reznor.
  • AutoDesk is continuing a long track record of success in innovating on Windows through the announcement of Pixlr for photo editing, 123D 3D for 3D Modeling and AutoCAD 360.
  • Java on Microsoft Azure was also unveiled today, providing even greater access to Azure for developers who build their apps on Java.

We are also excited to announce Star Walk, Rollerblade and Airport City, available in the Windows Phone store today.

In today’s market, it is possible for developers to become overnight successes with little upfront investment, but not without challenges. Competition is fierce and market fragmentation of the runtimes that matter make ROI a paramount concern to developers and development organizations of all sizes. 

At Microsoft we’re committed to providing new opportunities for developers to maximize their business opportunities, across the broadest range of devices and services. Build provided no shortage of great examples of technology companies achieving new heights of success on the Microsoft platform.  Our keynote and all of the Build keynotes are available for viewing on Channel 9.

Guggs & Shew