Microsoft to Woo Developers, Talk Windows 8 at BUILD Conference

Microsoft will hold a new developer conference, known as BUILD, in September to focus on Windows 8, as well as Web and mobile development - including smartphones and tablets.

Keeping with its longtime focus on aiding and abetting developers, Microsoft plans to hold a new, one-time-only developer conference to be held in September called BUILD.

At Microsoft's MIX11 conference in April, Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows and Windows Live at Microsoft, announced that Microsoft will hold its next major developer conference in Anaheim, Calif., Sept. 13-16. Developers can register for BUILD here.

"Save the date," Sinofsky said. "This will be Microsoft's next developer conference. We have a lot of exciting things to talk about there, including HTML5, power of the Web, same markup and a lot more."

However, Sinofsky left MIX attendees curious about whether the new developer event would be another Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) or perhaps something new like a Windows Developer Conference.

Tim O'Brien, general manager of developer and platform evangelism at Microsoft, said BUILD is intended to be a call to action for developers to take greater advantage of Microsoft's platforms.

BUILD will have a combined software and hardware focus, and will feature attendance and wares from hardware vendors; it will also highlight all the options Microsoft offers developers.

Moreover, although BUILD will have a strong focus on Web and mobile development, it also will be the site of "the first deep dive into the next version of Windows" for developers, O'Brien said. And for the mobile element at BUILD, Microsoft will have a developer story for mobile app developers on Microsoft's platforms, he said. BUILD also will feature sessions on developing for Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform, O'Brien added.

That next major version of Windows has been confirmed as Windows 8, according to an AllThingsD post. Microsoft also released more on Windows 8 and BUILD.

Asked whether BUILD would be like a combination of Microsoft's PDC and the company's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) because of the combined software/hardware focus, O'Brien shot down the comparison.

"The -P' in PDC placed a very tight focus around the professional developer, and this event is about casting a wider net," he said. He added that as a one-time-only event, BUILD will not be like any other Microsoft conference.

O'Brien said the professional developer has always been and will continue to be a major focus for Microsoft, as it is part of the company's legacy. Microsoft built a developer community that its competitors sought to emulate. However, because of the advent of new languages, tools, frameworks, templates and other accessories, there are more and more people developing apps for all different platforms.

"You have hobbyists out there doing all kinds of interesting things, and you've got teenagers building some of the more popular smartphone apps-those are the people we're trying to reach, too," O'Brien said.

In addition, in an effort to keep the financial community abreast of the importance of software development today, Microsoft is co-locating its annual Financial Analyst Meeting (FAM)-which is typically held in July on the company's Redmond, Wash., campus-with BUILD in Anaheim in September.

"We were starting to get questions from the financial analyst community about things like the platform and the ecosystem, so we knew they realized that the development community is key to moving the platform forward," O'Brien said.

Thus, Microsoft is co-locating FAM with BUILD and is inviting financial analysts who attend FAM to also come to the BUILD keynotes. "We want them to feel the energy in the room," O'Brien said.

In a June 1 blog post on BUILD, S. "Soma" Somasegar, senior vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, said:

""BUILD is the event for developers who want a front row seat at the industry's first deep dive on Windows 8. It is where the full spectrum of developers-from startups and entrepreneurs to those who work for the world's biggest enterprises-will come together to get a deeper understanding of Microsoft's roadmap. At BUILD, Microsoft will show off the new app model that enables the creation of web-connected and services-powered apps that have access to the full power of the PC.""

Despite its strength with Windows developers, Microsoft's might subsides a bit when it comes to Web development and dwindles even more in terms of mobile development. The BUILD conference will be a call to action to impress upon developers of all ilk that Microsoft is as cool as anybody else out there when it comes to software development and it has the tools to deliver.