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June 28, 2013

Build 2013 recap

Here in San Francisco Build 2013 is winding down. The last sessions finish up this afternoon and after that we turn it over to you, the developers, to start using all the improvements we’ve talked about to build great apps. Because that’s what this conference is all about. We want to make sure you have all the tools you need to build apps that delight your customers. In this post I want to highlight a few of the announcements and events from the past few days to give you a little flavor of what it has been like here at Build.

Day 1 Keynote

On Wednesday Steve Ballmer kicked off the conference with the Day 1 keynote. He was joined by Julie Larson-Green and Antoine Leblond who showed off lots of cool features of Windows 8.1 Preview and the developer platform. We got to see the new side-by-side windowing model, Bing integrated Search, new performance tools in Visual Studio, Internet Explorer support for WebGL, native 3D printing support, and tons more. You’ll definitely want to check out the Product Guide for Developers to get more info on all these new features.

Additionally in the keynote, Gurdeep Singh Pall from the Bing team showed some very cool demos of how apps can utilize new controls to bring the power of Bing into their app experiences. For example, Gurdeep showed how an app could use Optical Character Recognition to identify the text on a restaurant advertisement and then use machine translation to translate it into the user’s native language. That’s some pretty neat stuff there. If you want to check out more info on the new Bing controls take a look at the Bing Dev Center and their blog post.

Day 2 Keynote

On Thursday Satya Nadella, president of the Server and Tools Business, kicked off the activities with the Day 2 Keynote. Satya and folks from his team showed off tons of cool technologies for building services using Windows Azure. One particular area of interest for developers building Windows Store apps is the deep integration that Azure Mobile Services provides for your apps. Azure Mobile Services makes it easy to add a cloud backend to your app on any device. And if you’re building a Windows Store app, you can use Mobile Services and Visual Studio 2013 to quickly and easily add push notifications to your app in just a few simple steps. You’ll definitely want to go check out how to do this on the Mobile Services Dev Center.

Steve Guggenheimer also took the stage to showcase some of the great work being done by third parties to build great Windows Store apps and to make it easier for you to build apps as well. With new tools from Adobe, Khan Academy, Unity, and more, there are lots of options available when thinking about how to build your apps. Also, over the past months, MS Open Tech has been working closely with open source communities to help them provide opportunities for you as well.  It’s becoming easier for you to re-use your skills, code, and favorite open source tools to build apps and games for Windows. jQuery, Backbone.js, Knockout.js, Require.js, KendoUI can all be used to build Windows Store apps. Check out MS Open Tech’s resource page for more great info on using these open source platforms in your apps.


Of course the keynotes were only a very small part of the overall conference. A vast majority of the time developers were attending the 150+ sessions presented by folks from all across Microsoft. These sessions covered everything from what’s new in the WinRT API surface, to creating beautiful UI designs, to all the new features we’ve added for the enterprise. A lot of us here at Microsoft put a ton of effort into creating these sessions (including myself) and it’s been really exciting to be able to share what we’ve been working on.

And even though the conference ends today, you’ll be able to access all the great content we created for the sessions on Channel 9. You can go there right now and watch both keynotes, as well as many of the sessions from the first two days of the conference. The final sessions will be posted soon as well, so all the content will be available to you. If you weren’t able to attend in person you’ll get to catch up on all the exciting developer topics that we covered; if you were at the conference you can check out the sessions you missed.

Wrap Up

As you can see, there were a ton of exciting things going on at Build this week. Outside of the keynotes and the sessions, developers were building cool apps at the Hackathon, checking out new devices and services from our partners, and asking us lots of questions on how to build great apps. It was easy to see that people were excited to try out Windows 8.1 Preview and get started developing with the new features. Don’t forget to check out the Product Guide for Developers and the session recordings to catch up on everything we talked about at the conference.

I had a great time this week meeting and talking to many of you here at Build. Good luck building those apps on Windows 8.1 Preview!

-Jake Sabulsky, Program Manager, Windows