Connect(); 2016

Volume 31 Number 12

[Editor's Note]


By Michael Desmond; 2016

Two years ago we published a special issue of MSDN Magazine focused on Microsoft’s tools and services efforts in the wake of the 2014 Connect(); conference in New York City. That event was remarkable in that it transformed the dialog Microsoft was having with developers. Cross-platform, open source, mobile and cloud were the points of emphasis at the 2014 conference, and the seeds Microsoft planted then have gone on to bear fruit today.

On Nov. 16 Microsoft holds its third Connect(); conference, and as was the case at the first event, the focus is on breaking down borders, reaching across platforms and maximizing developer productivity. The difference this year is that the nascent tools and platforms Microsoft touted in 2014 have matured, from innovative frameworks like .NET Core and ASP.NET Core, to cross-platform tools that leverage Xamarin technology such as Visual Studio for Mac and Visual Studio Team Services. Microsoft is paying off on the promises it made in 2014, and the impact on developers will be profound.

Our exploration of the innovations coming out of Connect(); begins with Kasey Uhlenhuth’s dive into the productivity enhancements coming in Visual Studio 2017, while Mikayla Hutchinson explores the new Visual Studio for Mac IDE, which brings the first-class Visual Studio development experience to developers on the Apple flagship platform. MSDN Magazine columnist Mark Michaelis follows with a deep exploration of the upcoming C# 7.0 programming language, which adds compelling features like deconstructors, local variables and improved pattern matching.

The Microsoft acquisition of Xamarin this year was a game changer, and its impacts are on display both at Connect(); and in this issue. Former MSDN Magazine columnist Charles Petzold returns to our pages to show how native view embedding improves cross-platform mobile development by letting developers directly reference iOS, Android and Windows native controls within Xamarin.Forms XAML files. Tyler Whitney shows how Xamarin can be used to target the Universal Windows Platform alongside iOS and Android, while Craig Dunn dives into the interactive documentation and live coding features of Xamarin Workbooks that let developers learn and experiment with the entire native SDKs for Android, iOS, macOS and Windows Presentation Foundation.

There’s a lot more, including Jean-Marc Prieur’s and Sam Guckenheimer’s feature on ruggedized DevOps and how it injects security into the development and release pipeline. And don’t miss Omid Afnan’s dive into Big Data and Yina Arenas’ exploration of the API-driven capabilities of Microsoft Graph.

Finally, check out our additional coverage on the MSDN Magazine Web site. Thomas Dohmke shows how Microsoft is taking DevOps to the next level, enabling developers to connect a repository and then build, test, deliver and monitor apps from a single dashboard connected with an Azure back end ( Also featured is Justin Raczak’s examination of Xamarin Test Cloud in mobile app development (, and Michael Rys’ dive into U-SQL and its use in Big Data applications (

Microsoft Connect(); carries forward the work that the conference first laid out two years ago. We hope this special issue of MSDN Magazine will help you to take full advantage of all the advances we expect to see in the years to come.

Michael Desmond is the Editor-in-Chief of MSDN Magazine.

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