BUILD2018 Begins Today
BUILD2018 is upon us, what can we expect? BUILD is the annual Microsoft Developer Conference and whilst in past years, we have seen a lot of end-user oriented announcements in addition to the slew of amazing APIs, SDKs, apps and improvements to existing Dev platforms, rumors expect BUILD2018 to be strongly developer oriented.
So what are expectations and predictions?
Anticipate a strong keynote by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella. He will no doubt highlight and reinforce the progress in realizing his vision for Microsoft. So far, this journey has delivered major increases in stock price, high customer satisfaction in consumer and business verticals and made Nadella one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential in 2018.
In the wake of this success and the public debate following Facebook / Cambridge Analytica we can probably expect more in the keynote on developer responsibility for technology impact. No doubt we will also see presentations on social good thru technology and innovation, building on the success of Project Emma from BUILD2017:
WINDOWS 10: Whilst Microsoft has made it abundantly clear that cloud not desktop is the present and future focus, we are certainly going to hear about the outstanding Windows 10 Spring Creators Update that rolled out last week.
Expect to hear roll out metrics, major feature improvements and where we can expect Windows 10 to go from here. Expect to hear about Fluent Design, the new app UI. Which features of the OS have it, and which major apps are implementing it. Of course, it being BUILD2018 Developers should anticipate that Fluent Design, Universal Windows Apps & the Windows Store will all receive a strong developer focus. Microsoft is going to want you to build your apps with Fluent Design so be ready.
We can also expect to see Cortana mentioned, now not just on Windows 10 but fully cross-platform on mobile. I predict new devices, more app integrations (and integration tools), more services and a possible announcement of a changed UI / UX for Cortana coming soon. This is one more example of Microsoft continuing to build on their Windows on Mobile strategy.
OFFICE 2019: I predict a firm release date an even a demonstration of new version of Office at BUILD2018. If so, we can expect a focus on inking, more real-time collaboration and customization. In addition, the Microsoft Graph for Windows and Office will gain increased abilities. The star features will almost certainly be Slack killer, Microsoft Teams and improvements to the Office web apps.
Popular and growing services like IOT, BOTS, AI and Microsoft’s Cognitive Services should expect mention with improved SDKs and expanded abilities. Watch these demos because the Cognitive Services will blow your socks off.
Center stage will be Azure, Satya Nadella’s baby that effectively catapulted him into the CEO seat at Redmond. We anticipate continued expansion on services, partnerships and other improvements. This is where we expect to hear more about Containers and much on DevOps in Azure.
The big Azure question is, will we finally receive an Azure Serverless competitor for Google Firebase? Come on Microsoft, Azure Functions hasn’t gained the traction that Firebase has and there is a huge opening here with all the issues Firebase has cross-platform. BUILD2018 is a huge chance for Microsoft to onboard every last developer attending the conference or watching the livestream onto a robust, easy to integrate, serverless solution.
The other big money maker is Xbox. What developer offerings will we see? Tough to speculate but expect a mention of the ongoing success of Xbox.
MIXED REALITY (XR): There is a chance we will hear something definitive about HOLOLENS 2, even if this is just a teaser. Expect more of a focus on OEM Windows 10 VR headsets and a presentation by Unity of what’s coming for Microsoft Mixed Reality.
Obviously, both Visual Studio and SQL will be getting a lot of attention in terms of new versions, new features and new integrations for all the platforms mentioned. Expect more improvements to cross-platform development on Xamarin.
I expect that we will get a hard launch date if not the launch of Visual Studio App Center, the replacement for HockeyApp which until now has been in Beta with several major features not implemented. BUILD2018 is the ideal opportunity to launch this to release and demo the full set of features here for “continuous everything – Build, test, deploy, engage, repeat …”
In short, this conference is going to deliver more excitement to the developers who work on these platforms. What’s missing from all this?
The Warptest POV
While I would like to bet that Microsoft are going to announce new hardware or new versions of existing hardware under the Surface brand, I’m not feeling it. I hope but don’t expect an announcement about any Surface Mobile device. Even with all the rumors of Andromeda, a folding ARM tablet/ phone that can run full Windows 10, it’s hard to believe that Microsoft are ready to drop this bombshell this week. This was the Warptest POV on Microsoft and their future in mobility.
The big announcements will be certainly Azure and Visual Studio focused but expect Progressive Web Apps to be mentioned more than once in the context of UWP. We can certainly expect more announcements focusing on open sourcing of development related technologies.
If I had to sum up my predictions, it would be that Microsoft are going to demonstrate a strong investment in building an even better Developer Community. Everything about BUILD2018 is going to be about driving more developers to invest in creating apps for the Windows and Office Stores but also to continue to force the competition to innovate at the same pace as Microsoft has been doing over the last few years.
Above is my latest video where I speak about all this. What do you expect or predict to hear this week?