Announcements from the annual Microsoft Build conference held in San Francisco, California last week made waves in the developer community. The biggest announcements centered around Microsoft Edge, a new browser that will replace the aging Internet Explorer and an operating system update to Windows 10 that will be available as a free upgrade for current Windows users.
The company has made moves in recent years to become more open and shed its reputation as a proprietary juggernaut. Numerous integrations and access to code announced for developers at Build this week continued that trend. The company announced a goal of acquiring 1 billion Windows 10 users, a number that would dwarf adoption of the most recent Android and iOS releases. They hope to achieve that number through a fascinating array of cross-platform accessibility options.
Taking a page from the Apple handbook, Microsoft introduced a service called Continuum wherein any Windows 10 device can effectively become a personal computer when connected to a monitor. Once plugged in, the phone automatically adapts to its new environment. And, any data accessed on the computer is instantly shared back to the phone or tablet device.
The company also announced its first cross-platform code editor, dubbed Visual Studio Code, which it has open-sourced and made available on Linux, OS X, and, of course, Windows. Developers were abuzz with this news in an Atlanta chat room for the tech community, and one early adopter stated that the git features it provided were nice to work with. Full access to Visual Studio will still be available only to Windows users.
In that vein, perhaps the most impactful announcement for developers was that they’ll be able to convert existing applications into Windows 10 apps quite easily. According to Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the operating systems group:
Windows Studio will let developers reuse all the Java and C++ code from an Android app to a phone app running Windows 10.
Microsoft hopes that this move will help seed the Windows app store with versions of existing popular applications to attract more users.
Other announcements included an augmented reality headset known as HoloLens; the Surface Hub, a smart board that extends the functionality of a Surface tablet; cloud computing and machine learning innovations with Microsoft cloud Azure; and interesting opportunities for makers and gamers to get more out of using Windows.
Amidst all the buzz, a release date for the release of Windows 10 has not yet been announced.