Joe Belfiore’s keynote, which was titled Microsoft 365 Application Development, certainly sounds like a pure developer talk. However, Microsoft, the new subscription package the company announced last year, includes licenses for Windows 10, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility + Security for managing all those devices.
Many heard the name Joe Belfiore associated with the third and final keynote on Day Two of Microsoft BUILD 2018 and were convinced it would be all about Windows 10.
They were actually about half correct in that assumption.
This third and final keynote did show off some features that are coming to Windows 10. However, the real opportunity Microsoft discussed was related to how developers can use these features to enhance their own apps.
The focus around these new capabilities during the keynote was directed towards enterprise and business users, and how their own ecosystem of devices can be expanded through apps that use these features.
There was also some serious developer news in this session that will provide great possibilities for those enterprise and business customers.
Let’s take a closer look at the announcements from the Day Two keynote.
- The Microsoft Teams APIs have been updated to provide access to the Microsoft Graph and support for organization-specific apps in Teams. This will enable developers to build applications that are based on the business that company is involved. These custom apps can be published to the Teams app store as well for easy access on client devices.
- SharePoint now has a more in-depth integration into Microsoft Teams. Now users can pin a SharePoint page into Team channels for collaboration purposes.
- Power BI Visualizations have new support in Microsoft Excel. This allows developers to create custom visuals that can be included in Excel so they can be seen by more users.
- Microsoft’s Fluent Design system has received updates so developers can incorporate their own complete experiences in their line of business applications. This includes the use of new UWP XAML Islands to create more capable, flexible, and powerful XAML controls whether using Windows Forms, WPF, or Win32.
- MSIX is a new system to package large groups of applications for deployment using enterprise management tools and the Microsoft Store.
- Windows Machine Learning is a new platform to help developers build ML models in the Intelligent Cloud. They will then be able to deploy these ML models offline or in high-performance mode on PCs.
The remainder of the news from Belfiore’s keynote directly impacts the way we will all use Windows 10 and our mobile devices in one ecosystem.
- Your Phone is a new app that will allow a user to connect to their mobile phone directly from their Windows 10 Desktop. Users will be able to do messaging, handle images, and notifications across these shared devices. After long struggling with how to handle messaging between the desktop and mobile device, Your Phone just might finally be the solution for easy access to mobile devices and their content. Sounds a lot like Remote Desktop for your phone. Windows Insiders will get the app sometime this week.
- Microsoft introduced Timeline with the recently released Windows 10 April 2018 Update. An update to Microsoft Edge has since enabled browsing data from your Android or iOS device to be shared with Timeline on your Windows 10 Devices. An update to the Microsoft Launcher on Android will now include Timeline access on those devices. Updates to Microsoft Edge on iOS will enable this same functionality for iPhone and iPad devices.
- Opportunities also exist for developers to make their apps Timeline aware so that users can easily pick up where they left off on different apps on all of their Windows 10 devices.
- Sets is another feature that Microsoft spoke about as a developer opportunity. Originally announced for the Fall Creators Update, they are now in testing with Windows Insiders as part of the Redstone 5 development branch. Developer opportunity with Sets includes building support for Sets into their apps so users can use that app in a tab and open those collections of tabs, aka Sets, back up to continue their work later. IN simple terms, this is like Tabs in a web browser except properly coded apps can also be opened in tabs right alongside the main program in use. This can be saved and opened as a group later to continue work. There is potential here for sure.
- Adaptive Cards are now supported in Microsoft 365. Developers can create these cards that contain content from apps, bots, or services in programs like Teams and Outlook. Users will be able to accomplish tasks like paying bills, approving reports, and commenting on issues/ideas.
There were fewer news items from today’s final keynote compared to the Day One Keynote. As Microsoft Build 2018 jumps into the second full day of sessions, expect more coverage from us as we get the chance to look closer at features like Your Phone, Timeline access in Android/iOS devices, new Sets features.