Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health introduces Web Tiles and Microsoft Health Cloud APIs
Next steps in our journey to empower developers.
When we launched Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health in October last year, we made a commitment to the developer community to make our ecosystem open and accessible on every platform.
We promised access across the device and platform, from the sensor-packed Microsoft Band to the rich fitness data in our Microsoft Health service. As part of that promise, we launched a preview of the Microsoft Band SDK for Windows and Android in February this year, followed by an updated release across Windows, Android and iOS at our //build/ conference in April.
Microsoft Band SDK allows third party developers to enhance and extend the experience of their phone applications to Microsoft Band by accessing data from the Band’s sensors, as well as creating personalized, interactive Band tiles using custom layouts that contain text, icons, buttons, and barcodes.
In order to assist cross-platform development, we worked with our friends in Xamarin to provide Xamarin bindings for iOS and Android SDKs. This partnership allows developers to leverage Visual Studio and C# to write a single version of their app that works with Microsoft Band across all three platforms, simply. We can’t wait to see what developers bring to our growing Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health customer base.
The SDK was the first step towards enabling programmatic access to Microsoft Band and it remains the main extensibility point for harnessing the power of Microsoft Band sensors, as well as creating immersive and interactive scenarios with the Band.
Today, we take the next step that enables programmatic access to even more facets of Microsoft Band and Health platform – by introducing Microsoft Band Web Tiles Preview and Microsoft Health Cloud API Preview.
With this new preview, we are making it even easier for developers to create tiles for Microsoft Band, and are providing the first opportunity for developers to gain access to the rich fitness data that is stored in the Microsoft Health platform.
Introducing Microsoft Band Web Tiles Preview
The Microsoft Band Web Tiles Preview makes it simple to deliver “glanceable” information to Microsoft Band from virtually any data source accessible through the web. Web Tiles use the power of the Microsoft Health platform, leveraging internet connectivity, to bring content directly to the Microsoft Band.
With Microsoft Band Web Tiles, developers “author” the web tile only once to support multiple mobile platforms (iOS, Android and Windows). Authoring a Tile is simple: Developers can choose to read the Web Tiles documentation and author the Web Tile using their favorite text editors, or they can choose to author the tiles using the newly released Web Tiles Authoring Tool which provides a UI-based, step-by-step guide to creating a Web Tile package in as little as five minutes.
Microsoft Band Web Tiles are supported on all mobile platforms where Microsoft Health is available. To get started, developers should visit the Microsoft Band Web Tiles developer site, read the comprehensive documentation, download sample Web Tiles, and start creating new Web Tiles using the Web Tiles Authoring Tool.
Introducing Microsoft Health Cloud APIs Preview
Additionally, we are excited to bring you a preview of our Microsoft Health Cloud APIs Preview. These APIs are built on open standards and are a first step towards achieving our goal of making Microsoft Health extensible.
They allow developers to enhance the experiences of their apps and services with fitness data coming from Microsoft Health. These apps and services will be able to drive even more insightful and rich health and fitness features, like observations and insights, personalized recommendations and fitness coaching, by building upon a baseline of information provided by a consenting user.
As part of the preview, the first set of APIs that we are providing are read-only APIs for Activities and Summaries designed to provide developers read operations for Microsoft Health activity data, as well as interval based summaries for biometric data. When a user finishes a run, an application can query the Activities API and access details of the run as well as map points for the entire run that can then be used to create a map.
The full list of APIs is as follows:
|Profile||Read-Only||Provides the user profile for the specified user.|
|Devices||Read-Only||Provides associated devices (Microsoft Band and Phones) for a user. Also provides details of a particular device based on ID.|
|Activities||Read-Only||Provides user activities for a specified date range or ID. You can get Activity summaries as a list for a given time frame or you can get Activity details for a given Activity. An Activity can be one of the following:Sleep, Run, Workout, Bike, Guided Workout, Golf|
|Summaries||Read-Only||Provides hourly or daily summaries for a date range. Currently supports:Steps, Calories, Distance, Heart Rate|
The Microsoft Health Cloud APIs preview provides you with all the tools to start building your apps today. Start by registering your application and visit the developer page to download a sample application, read up on the Getting Started documentation, and browse the API Reference.
New enhancements to Microsoft Band SDK
In addition to releasing the above new features for our developer community, we have made even more enhancements to the existing Microsoft Band SDK experiences based on feedback and issue reports.
Based on feedback from inquiring Developers, we are addressing the following areas with this update:
- Refreshing of 3rd-party tile contents in-place
- Better support for building icons as buttons
- Ability to control the tile screen timeout
Visit the Microsoft Band SDK developer site to read more about these improvements and existing features.
We are sharing these features with the developer community in a preview state so we can collect feedback and input that will help us shape what we do. After our SDK release, we introduced Microsoft Band and Health UserVoice page where developers can suggest and vote on improvements to the SDK. We expect and encourage our developers to do the same for this release. We want to hear from you!
We are excited to see the growing support for Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health that we are receiving from the biggest names in fitness–Golds Gym, Strava, TaylorMade, and more. We can’t wait to see what experiences independent developers are going to be able to generate with the availability of these great tools.