Microsoft Build 2020: Highlights from the first all-virtual developers conference
Microsoft Build, one of four tentpole developer conferences held annually, kicked off its first-ever completely virtual edition this week with a slew of announcements that confirm the tech giant is betting big on cloud – and not letting COVID-19 slow them down.
With Facebook’s F8 conference postponed and Google’s I/O conference cancelled, Microsoft Build is the first major developer gathering held since the global pandemic resulted in worldwide WFH orders.
One of the biggest headlines out of the first day of the conference was the introduction of The Microsoft Supercomputer, which was built entirely on Azure. The device will handle massive machine learning problems exclusively for OpenAI, and is the strongest sign to date that supercomputing facilities are the latest tech migrating to the cloud.
But while that was the big story, Microsoft had a lot more up its sleeves during Day 1 of Build 2020. Along with the supercomputer, other highlights included:
- Open-source Fluid Framework: Introduced at last year’s Build conference, Fluid Framework is infrastructural technology designed to improve coauthoring performance for applications and documents, allowing users to create and embed components that will always remain up-to-date. It’s akin to a Google Doc for developers, as it enables real-time collaboration. The big news this year is that Microsoft is set to begin rolling out the first customer-facing experience for the Fluid Framework technology, starting with the Outlook web app and Office.com.
- Cloud for Healthcare: Microsoft unveiled the first of its cloud offerings for a single industry this year, repackaging and enhancing many existing tools specifically for developers in the fast-growing healthcare sector.
- Project Reunion: This is the title of Microsoft’s ongoing initiative to bring win32 desktop apps and its Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps closer together. “The idea behind Project Reunion is that it allows developers to build one Windows application and target all 1 billion Windows devices,” explains Rajesh Jha, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Experiences and Devices Group.
While even tech behemoths like Microsoft are having to change course in response to the pandemic, these latest announcements reaffirm the company’s commitment to enhancing and investing into the cloud for the long term – something their enterprise customers should prioritize in turn.
As companies migrate to the cloud and adopt cloud technologies, they need to ensure they maintain visibility into their end-user performance no matter where their user’s apps and workflows are hosted.
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