New Tools Aim to Turn Windows Coders into Microsoft 365 Developers

The software giant is encouraging developers look beyond Windows with updates to the Microsoft Graph APIs and a batch of new coding tools.

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In another sign of Windows' waning influence on Microsoft's increasingly cloud and AI-focused product strategy, the Redmond, Wash. software maker is calling on its historically Windows-centric developer community to consider themselves Microsoft 365 developers instead.

Debuting in July 2017, Microsoft 365 bundles Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), Microsoft's cloud-based mobile device and management offering. More than a cloud-enabled, one-stop licensing option for businesses, the company is now using Microsoft 365 as a model for how developers should build apps for its software ecosystem going forward.

A major part of getting developers on board involves releasing new tools that help unlock new collaborative and productivity-enhancing experiences provided by Microsoft 365's integrated software components. That means tapping into Microsoft Graph, a set of APIs that use employee data and content stored in Office 365 and other cloud services to surface contextual information in compatible applications.

"Core to the Microsoft 365 platform is the Microsoft Graph," stated Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of Windows at Microsoft, in a May 7 announcement during the Build 2018 developer conference. "It helps developers connect the dots between people, conversations, schedules, and content within the Microsoft Cloud."

Developers will soon be able to use updated Microsoft Graph APIs for Microsoft Teams to tailor the chat-based group collaboration application to the needs of their industry or business. New APIs will enable users to manage compatible enterprise line-of-business applications, clone work teams and publish custom apps to the Teams app marketplace.

In terms of safeguarding business data, a beta version of the new Security API in Microsoft Graph frees developers from having to integrate multiple security products on an individual basis. The API enables developers to stream alerts to Splunk, IBM QRadar and other SIEM (security information and event monitoring) products using the company's cloud monitoring and reporting solution, Azure Monitor.

Two other APIs, Activity Feed API and the Device Relay API, enable developers to create applications experiences that flow from one device or platform to another. A task started on an iOS or Android app, for example, can be completed on a Windows 10 desktop.

.NET Core 3 Arrives in 2019

Microsoft also revealed plans to release a beta version of .NET Core 3 later this year in anticipation of a full release in 2019.

In Windows, the latest version of the cross-platform, open-source framework will support Windows Forms, (WPF) Windows Presentation Framework and UWP (Universal Windows Platform) desktop applications via "Windows Desktop Packs." It will allow users can run multiple instances of .NET on the same machine for added flexibility in application deployment and updating.

Microsoft also announced that it plans to ship .NET 4.8, the proprietary version of the technology, in approximately a year's time. It will feature a number of enhancements, all shared with .NET Core 3.0, including full access to the Windows 10 API and hosting UWP XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language) controls in Windows Forms and WPF applications, stated the company.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...