Microsoft Delivers Tools, Windows 8 Server and Cloud Services at BUILD

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2011-09-14

Microsoft Delivers Tools, Windows 8 Server and Cloud Services at BUILD

ANAHEIM, Calif.-Microsoft announced a series of moves meant to advance developer opportunities and productivity, including a developer preview of Visual Studio 2011, a preview of Windows Server 8 and the company's Team Foundation Server (TFS) delivered as a service on the Windows Azure cloud.

In a Sept. 14 keynote at the Microsoft BUILD conference here, Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft's Server and Tools Business (STB), discussed how new application patterns across connected devices and continuous services boost opportunities for developers to build the next generation of continuous services that are dynamic, scalable and optimized to connect with the multidevice world.

"In today's world of connected devices and continuous services, we are focused on helping developers build the next generation of client applications that are tethered to a back-end cloud," Nadella said.

Microsoft officials said Windows Server 8 applies the company's background in building and operating the Windows Azure public cloud to provide a cloud-optimized operating system focused on delivery of applications, interoperability within today's diverse IT environments, high-performance virtualization and strong links to public clouds.

Moreover, Windows Server 8 provides multitenant infrastructure for cloud services with significant enhancements to help reduce the costs of high availability and to automate service management, Microsoft said. As an open application and Web platform that shares common management, identity and development tools with Windows Azure, Windows Server 8 empowers developers and IT professionals to deliver services across their choice of private and public cloud environments, or a combination of both, the company said.

Meanwhile, Nadella noted Microsoft's history with developers. "Developers have long been the cornerstone of Microsoft's success, and that relationship is now more important than ever," he said.

With that in mind, Microsoft delivered a Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview. The product provides an integrated development experience spanning architecture, code, test and deployment. This release adds support for Windows 8 Metro-style applications built with HTML5, JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic and C++, as well as numerous productivity enhancements for project compatibility, extension management, game development, code analysis, code review and agile testing, said Jason Zander, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Visual Studio, in a meeting with eWEEK. The Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview is available as of Sept. 14 for Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers and available to the public on Sept. 15.

During Nadella's keynote, Microsoft showed off its newly announced preview of TFS running on the Windows Azure platform, which provides a collaborative application lifecycle management (ALM) environment delivered as a Microsoft-hosted Windows Azure cloud service, making it easier to deploy, scale, operate and access collaborative development projects, the company said.

.NET 4.5 Developer Preview


Microsoft also highlighted its new .NET 4.5 Developer Preview, which has focused on key developer requests across key technologies and includes new features for asynchronous programming in C# and Visual Basic, support for state machines in Windows Workflow, and increased investments in HTML5 and CSS3 in ASP.NET.

In addition, Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president in Microsoft's STB unit, demonstrated the new ASP.NET MVC 4 Preview, which provides new Web tooling capabilities for developers to better manage Web application rendering, and its impacts on business application logic, in different browsers.

Microsoft also showcased additional capabilities of the Windows Azure platform, such as the new Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8, which is currently available for Windows Phone, Android and iOS. Zander said Microsoft is extending its toolkits for cloud applications to Windows 8. The Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8 provides developers with code samples, documentation and components for building Metro-style applications that use Windows Azure for connectivity and notifications.

Other new Windows Azure updates from BUILD include the following:

- Windows Azure Georeplication. Now available, this enhancement replicates Windows Azure Blobs and Tables between two data centers hundreds of miles apart from each other on the same continent, at no additional cost, to provide additional data durability in the case of a major disaster.

- Windows Azure Marketplace expansion. Available in 25 new countries in early October, the Windows Azure Marketplace offers developers a comprehensive market for datasets and finished applications; you can register on Windows Azure Marketplace.

- Microsoft Translator API. Available now on the Windows Azure Marketplace, the Microsoft Translator API provides machine language translations to developers looking to customize their applications to satisfy the language needs of a global audience.

- Windows Azure SDK version 1.5. Advancements to the Windows Azure SDK include better capabilities for developers to build Windows Azure applications, including improved emulator performance, service certificate support, package and configuration management, and remote desktop encryption.

- Windows Azure Service Bus September Release. Enhancements to the Service Bus improve pub/sub messaging, enable asynchronous eventing to better link applications to occasionally connected devices such as phones and kiosks, and provide improved support for loosely coupled application architectures and advanced intra-app messaging.



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