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March 30, 2016

Windows 10 Anniversary SDK is bringing exciting opportunities to developers

Hello from Build 2016! I just had an opportunity to participate in today’s keynote with Satya Nadella and Terry Myerson where we celebrated the progress we have made with Windows 10, gave a preview of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, and talked about how we are continuing to invest in the Windows Platform to make it home for all developers. Terry’s blog summarizes many of today’s announcements, but in this post I want to share a few of the highlights for developers.

Throughout the year, I have heard from many of you, both in person and via our various feedback channels, and you have asked us for more. We know that every innovation with Windows is only as powerful as the ecosystem that rallies around it, so I want to cover today’s most important Build announcements and what they mean for our development community.

The Windows 10 Anniversary SDK

Today we are taking the first step with the announcement of the preview of the Windows 10 Anniversary SDK. It contains thousands of new features and APIs that are the direct result of your feedback.

Here are just a few of the significant improvements that we are excited about but didn’t have time to cover in the keynote:

  • Connected Devices: We are bringing new ways to connect to, communicate with, and manage multiple devices and apps. This technology enables Cortana extensibility and the new Action Center in the Cloud, and it’s being introduced today.
  • Background execution: We are bringing the ability to run your application in the background without requiring two separate processes. Along with extended execution and opportunistic tasks, writing applications that run when they need to will become simpler and more powerful.
  • App Extensions:   UWP now supports app extensibility allowing you to build an ecosystem based on your application. Microsoft Edge uses this technology for its own extensions.
  • Action Center in the Cloud: Enables your app to engage with users on all their devices. You can now dismiss notifications on one device and they will be dismissed everywhere.
  • Windows Store & Dev Center: Significate new tools include user roles in Dev Center, app flighting, improved analytics, an analytics API that allows you to grab your data and use it outside of the dashboard, user segmentation and targeting, A/B testing, app subscriptions, advertising improvements, and more.

Here at Build, we will talk about these and much more during more than one hundred technical sessions, all of which will be available for you to view on Channel 9 over the next several days.

Pioneers wanted: NUI Innovations coming to UWP

With the Universal Windows Platform, we have been creating new ways of interacting with our devices that go beyond touch and mouse to include vision, writing, speech, and more. It’s more than just the inputs and outputs; it’s about creating experiences that transcend a single device and enabling developers to orchestrate experiences across devices.

At today’s keynote we gave a detailed overview of some of the new innovations that are coming to Windows 10 in the Anniversary Update SDK:

  • Windows Ink APIs: Together we will unlock new natural ways of interacting with our apps with Windows Ink. Just two lines of code enable you to bring the “Hello World” of Windows Ink into your apps through the InkCanvas and new InkToolbar controls. One level down, the InkPresenter provides a powerful and flexible way to extend the InkToolbar and to create customize ink experiences. In all cases, the platform provides beautiful low-latency ink rendering, handwriting recognition, and ink data management.
  • Windows Hello: You can already use Windows Hello and biometric authentication to make your apps easier to access and more secure with Windows Passport. If you are web developer, you can now bring that same Windows Hello experience to your websites with JavaScript APIs in Microsoft Edge.
  • Cortana APIs: Nearly 1,000 apps are already using voice commands with Cortana. Now Cortana allows you to go further and integrate proactive actions with your apps. As a developer, you can drive increased user engagement by registering actions with Cortana that she will use to connect users to your apps at just the right time. Check out the new Cortana portal where you can request access to the beta.
  • Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition begins shipping: The Windows Holographic SDK and emulator are now available for download and Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition is starting to ship to developers.  These will enable you to create holographic apps using UWP.  Our documentation and forums are up and running. We’re also happy to share a number of open source projects, HoloToolkit, HoloToolkit-Unity, and Galaxy Explorer, which will accelerate your development of holographic apps, and give you an opportunity to contribute back to help others building on the platform. Developers can now bring existing UWP apps to HoloLens where they will work on 2D surfaces within the virtual world.

Windows is pioneering a change in how people will use technology: will you join?

Listening to your needs, embracing tools for multi-platform development on Windows.

We want Windows to be the best development environment regardless of the technologies you use or the platforms you target. We made cross-device a reality at the core of the Universal Windows Platform, and we are excited to offer more:

  • Converting Desktop Apps (Project Centennial): We are shipping a new desktop app converter which will enable your Win32 and .NET apps to get access to UWP and the Windows Store. With the new installer technology, your app can cleanly install, uninstall, and update, and also get full access to UWP APIs including Live Tiles, Cortana, notifications, and more.
  • Bash is coming to Windows: For users of popular command-line tools, Windows 10 now has great support for Bash running on Ubuntu as part of our partnership with Canonical, and growing support for the universe of open-source command-line tools. Developers will be able to download the Bash shell from the Windows Store.
  • Xamarin: will make it easy to share code across platforms while delivering native experiences for each. Also, our open source Windows Bridge for iOS enables iOS developers to bring Objective-C code into Visual Studio, and compile it into a UWP app.
  • Retail Dev Kit Unlock for Xbox One: Today we are releasing the Retail Dev Kit Unlock for Xbox One which enables any Xbox One to be a developer kit with Xbox Dev Mode. Now anyone can develop UWP apps and deploy them to an Xbox One. Your apps can be tailored for the larger viewing distance and screen size of the living room and for Game Controller input, and you can test these optimizations on your own Xbox.

You asked us to help you in be more productive, and we listened. We will continue to invest in making Windows home for developers, regardless of which platform you build for.

Stay tuned to this blog over the course of the next week to view a series of in-depth posts that will go into details of some of the topics that I discussed here (Cortana, Windows Ink, Windows Store & Dev Center, Bash, and more).

Get involved.

What a difference a year makes. Last year at Build we were showing what would be possible in Windows 10, and today we celebrate more than 270 million devices on the platform!

Build is just the next step in this journey, but now is the time to get involved. Start developing on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. To do so, install the latest Windows 10 for Insiders, update to Visual Studio 2015 Update 2, and then install the Windows 10 Anniversary SDK Preview Build 14295.

I cannot wait to celebrate our shared success next year at Build 2017.

– Kevin