Thursday, March 31, 2016

Build 2016, Day One

First day of Build 2016 is over, at least for my part. It’s been fun, a bit chaotic, and man… My feet hurt like crazy!

After registering I went straight up to get in line for the keynote. Good call, there were already at least 200 other that had the same great idea - 1.5 hours before it was to start! Pretty much everyone attends the keynote, which is the broader look at what Microsoft has in store for the near and far future.

After some fluff about how they are to empower every person and organization on the planet, and figures about how many Windows 10 installations that have been made (270+ million. whoah!) they dropped the first bit of good news - the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is coming this summer. Seem to have a lot of goodies in that one, for sure! And, it will be totally free. Awesome!

They went on with some news about Microsoft Edge. They will integrate the Windows Hello authentication so you can get to it by some simple javascript api’s. Great for logins to different sites etc - albeit, if people want to log in with their fingerprint there’s already good solutions for it with third party software - that works across browsers. My 2 cents: Good feature, sure, but just another Edge-exclusive api.

Big news for anyone looking into development for the Xbox One! From this summer (and out as a preview TONIGHT) any retail Xbox can become a developer edition by just flicking a checkbox in the settings. This removes the ability to start any games and apps you have installed, but instead you can connect to your Xbox from a Visual Studio 2015 installation and install any Universal Window Platform application to test. When finished with the app, just release it to the store as usual. If marked as Xbox compatible, it will automatically turn up in the Xbox store as well. Pretty darn sweet! You can of course turn it back into a regular non-dev console at any time.

I’m really starting to dig the whole UWP thing. Will have to mess around with that a bit more. You get a lot for free as well, they automatically hook up the controller instead of mouse events etc on the Xbox, and touch on phones/tablets/touchscreens. Of course you can also very easily override it all to tailor it for each device.

They have talked a lot about bots and experts. Experts are essentially your app telling Cortana how she can use it, which keywords to trigger on etc. Seems easy enough to hook up to her. No pun intended. I really like this. Instead of going the route Apple is taking with Siri, as well as Google with Google Now, they let developers around the world extend Cortana as they see fit, and essentially make her smarter by helping out with the brain power. That also means she will become more tailored to you since it’s based on what applications you have installed giving her a boost through experts.

Integrations with Cortana seem to be huge within Microsoft as well. They showed some really cool (and kinda scary) demos of Cortana reading through your emails, looking for things you might have forgotten and automatically add as reminders and calendar events. Did you tell your mom you’ll call her tomorrow instead? Busted; this time Cortana will remind you of your white lie.

Bots are… Well, bots. Satya Nadella (Microsoft's CEO) was talking about a world powered by bots, where conversation is the platform, and voice is the UI. Good examples would be an automated bot taking your order at a drive-through restaurant, and other bots residing inside your favorite messaging app (which of course during Build everyone agrees is Skype no matter what we use otherwise). These bots could trigger on certain keywords, for instance if you talk about being hungry, instantly ask you if you want to order your favorite pizza. Like even easier access to pizza is a good thing for the world.

I can definitely see a lot of potential in this, and it really hit me when they showed a video of a blind man having helped design technology that, with a pair of smart glasses, let him take pictures, and have it described back to him through speech synthesis. Technology helping a blind person to see the world. Simply amazing.

And in other news;

  • Visual Studio Update 2 was released today.
  • Hololens is ready, and started to ship to preorder customers today.

Coincidence? I… Think… Not!

Hopefully I have the strength to stand in that humongous line tomorrow and let you guys know if it’s worth the hype or not. If, I manage to keep my sanity after standing in that line. That line. That line scares me.

And alas, I saved the best for last!

Bash is coming to Windows! Amazing news! We’re talking real Bash, with all your favorite gnu tools, finally native on windows.

Yes, I am a happy camper. A tired one though, so good night for now!