Microsoft Build 2012: 15 Critical Takeaways for Developers
Build Is Here to Stay
The Build 2012 conference is only the second Build event Microsoft has held. In 2011, Microsoft held what was supposed to be a one-time developer event focused on Windows, primarily Windows 8, development. And Microsoft insisted that the conference, held last year in Anaheim, Calif., should not be identified as “Build 2011" because there was to be only one Build event and it was not slated to be a replacement for Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC). Well, Build 2012 happened, and it has been a success. I'd say Build is here to stay.
The Opportunity on Windows Has Never Been Greater
Expected PC shipment volumes in the coming year and the incredibly flexible terms of the Windows Store provide a path to app monetization in order for developers to generate new revenue.
Developers Can Bring What They Know to Windows and Start Building Apps
Microsoft Releases Windows Phone 8 SDK
Microsoft announced the Windows Phone 8 Software Development Kit (SDK) at Build 2012. The new Windows Phone SDK provides fast, familiar tools that allow developers to build apps and games for Windows Phone 8 with Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows Phone, Expression Blend, the Windows Phone Emulator, Profiler and Store Test Kit.
Expanded Windows Azure Mobile Services Support
At Build 2012, Microsoft announced that Windows Azure Mobile Services will support Windows Phone 8, in addition to Windows 8 Client and Apple iOS, allowing developers to easily connect Windows 8 mobile apps to Windows Azure.
The Cloud Is Just the Cloud
Microsoft discussed the benefits of its Windows Azure cloud without delving into the old platform as a service (PaaS), versus infrastructure as a service (IaaS), versus whatever as a service. Instead, Microsoft simply spoke about how developers can take advantage of the capabilities of Windows Azure for a variety of things. In short, the Azure platform performs many functions, but to Microsoft, the cloud is just the cloud.
Preview of Windows Azure Store
Microsoft announced a preview of the Windows Azure Store, which includes a catalog of app services, ranging from monitoring and scaling, to mail delivery to databases. You can check out the preview at www.windowsazure.com/store.
Expanded Language Support in Windows Azure
Windows Azure Websites now supports Python to enable developers to easily write apps based on the code of their choice. Windows Azure also supports .NET, Node.js, Java, PHP and Ruby.
Windows Azure Serves as the Back End for Halo 4
Halo 4 multiplayer mode is using Windows Azure to provide a robust, cost-effective way to scale up and down as demand ebbs and flows across the globe.
Team Foundation Service (TFS) Availability
Microsoft announced the general availability of Visual Studio 2012 Team Foundation Service (TFS), a modern application lifecycle management tool, is now officially available and will be free for teams of up to five people. Team Foundation Service includes agile project planning and management tools, version control, build automation and continuous deployment automation.
Windows Store Showcases Big Names
Companies such as ESPN, Expedia, Fitbit, Hotels.com, PayPal, SAP and Twitter are all building apps for the Windows Store. Disney announced the release of “Agent P Strikes Back," and LEGO Group announced LEGO Life of George, among others.
Windows, Windows Phone More Closely Align
With the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 shared core, there is a common development environment, skill portability, user interface (UI) commonality, and a consistent user experience between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 so that developers can build unified applications.
Microsoft Can Throw a Mean Developer Bash
Microsoft hosted the Build 2012 conference on its campus at the company headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Although it was a success, the logistics were a bit off for some. The main buildings, where sessions were held, were across the freeway and required shuttle buses or a 20-minute walk. However, Microsoft constructed one of the largest tents in North America on its Redmond campus to host the thousands of developers attending Build 2012, which sold out in less than an hour. The tent spanned approximately 12 NBA basketball courts.
Last but not least, the key takeaways (or were they giveaways) from Build 2012 were the Microsoft Surface RT tablet PCs and the Nokia Lumia 920 smartphones all paying attendees received at the event.