TechEd North America 2014 kicks off today. For the next few days you’ll be reading and hearing about how Microsoft is innovating to help IT pros, developers and users embrace the mobile-first, cloud-first world. There will be news around Azure and cloud services as well as device management. For those of you creating Windows or Windows Phone apps – or better yet targeting both with universal Windows apps – one big announcement is the RTM of the tools you use to build Windows apps with Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RTM. With the release of final tools and people taking a fresh look at mobility in the enterprise, I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight all we’ve done to make building secure enterprise apps even easier with Windows and Windows Phone 8.1.
I think we all agree that mobility is changing the world—not only in how users interact with each other but also in how businesses operate internally, and how they reach their customers. Developers are at the forefront of that change as you are the architects of the app ecosystem; if you are an enterprise developer, Windows Phone 8.1 empowers you to deliver more agile, scalable mobile solutions. The new 8.1 platform enables a consistent app experience across the various Windows screens – phone, tablet, and PC, and provides rich features that add value to the lives of users.
Build your apps faster
Thanks to the increased commonality between Windows 8.1 Update and Windows Phone 8.1 , you can develop apps for both platforms more efficiently, reusing code you’ve written for Windows, the Web (ASP.NET), and Windows Azure and testing apps with familiar tools like Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server. Language doesn’t matter: code written using XAML and C#, Win JS, and C++ can all be ported to Windows and Windows Phone. And Microsoft’s partnerships with popular game engines and middleware vendors like Xamarin or PhoneGap, make it easy for you to bring multi-platform apps and games to Windows. Developing on Visual Studio means that you can work on applications, services, azure services, and databases all in one place with a single tool.
Help Protect your information
Windows brings security from the hardware to the cloud. Trusted boot and app sandboxing helps prevent malicious apps from gaining unauthorized access to data. Full device encryption helps keeps corporate data and passwords safe. Information Rights Management (IRM) and S/MIME signed and encrypted email help protect your organization’s intellectual property from unauthorized disclosure. Administrators can wipe lost or stolen phones and they can also help control access to corporate resources with full certificate management and app or location triggered IPsec and SLL VPN.
When building Windows apps, developers can access many APIs to help secure apps and connections to backend systems, and help to protect and encrypt data on the device.
Scale operational efficiency in your enterprise
Now that the necessary infrastructure is in place, developers can help enterprises become more efficient and productive by changing the way the business operates. For example, Delta Airlines is differentiating itself in the highly-competitive airline industry by offering a new in-flight customer experience developed on the Windows Phone platform. With the solution, Delta staff can access historical customers data and use it to build strong relationships; and the solution streamlines communication between pilots and the ground and air traffic controllers. Together, these solutions create a seamless, connected experience for Delta, its flight crews, and its travelers. Watch video.
As another example, Germany-based Microsoft MVPs, Peter Nowak and Lars Keller, have built Windows Phone apps – Mobile Incident Manager and Enterprise Mobile Dashboard – that streamline workdays and tasks for IT professionals and managers at many enterprises by pulling up Windows System Center tasks and centralizing reports into a user-friendly app. Nowak and Keller are working on integrating the new 8.1 features – the action center, geo-fencing, and background triggers – into their apps in order to scale the operational efficiency of IT in enterprises by notifying the staff about service requests and performance breakdowns in a particular area while on the go.
As the world shifts toward more cloud-first and mobile-first scenarios, we’re working to make Windows the best device platform for building amazing applications that are agile, efficient, and pleasing to enterprises. Now is your time to build the next great app for the full range of Windows phones, tablets and PCs.
Relevant Links and Resources:
Jumpstart: Building Apps for Windows Phone 8.1: (18) Windows Phone 8.1 for the Enterprise Developer
Enterprise Mobile Management
Mobile Enterprise Application Platform
Windows Phone for Enterprise Developers
Windows Phone 8.1 Security Whitepaper
BUILD session: Deploying and Managing Enterprise apps
BUILD session: Respecting your Investments: How to leverage your Existing Code in a new windows runtime LOB app
TechNet: Windows Enterprise Apps
TechNet: Windows Phone
TechNet: Windows Phone 8.1 technical resources