MS Build Bills Tools, Windows Server 8 And Cloud

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Microsoft Build conference featured preview Visual Studio 2011, Windows Server 8 and Team Foundation cloud

Microsoft announced a series of moves meant to advance developer opportunities and productivity, including a developer preview of Visual Studio 2011, a preview of Windows Server 8 and the company’s Team Foundation Server (TFS) delivered as a service on the Windows Azure cloud, at the Microsoft Build Windows conference in California.

In a keynote, Satya Nadella (pictured), president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business (STB), discussed how new application patterns across connected devices and continuous services boosts opportunities for developers. These patterns will allow them to build the next generation of continuous services that are dynamic, scalable and optimised to connect with the multi-device world, he said.

“In today’s world of connected devices and continuous services, we are focused on helping developers build the next generation of client applications that are tethered to a back-end cloud,” Nadella said.

Server 8 Cloud Optimised

Microsoft said Windows Server 8 applies the company’s background in building and operating the Windows Azure public cloud to provide a cloud-optimised operating system focused on delivery of applications, interoperability within today’s diverse IT environments, high-performance virtualisation and strong links to public clouds.

Moreover, Windows Server 8 provides multi-tenant infrastructure for cloud services with significant enhancements to help reduce the costs of high availability and to automate service management, Microsoft said. As an open application and Web platform that shares common management, identity and development tools with Windows Azure, Windows Server 8 empowers developers and IT professionals to deliver services across their choice of private and public cloud environments, or a combination of both, the company said.

Meantime, Nadella noted Microsoft’s history with developers. “Developers have long been the cornerstone of Microsoft’s success, and that relationship is now more important than ever,” he said.

With that in mind, Microsoft delivered a Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview. The product provides an integrated development experience spanning architecture, code, test and deployment. This release adds support for Windows 8 Metro style applications built with HTML 5, JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic and C++, as well as numerous productivity enhancements for project compatibility, extension management, game development, code analysis, code review and agile testing, said Jason Zander, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Visual Studio, in a meeting with eWEEK. The Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview is available for Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers and as a public offering.

During Nadella’s keynote, Microsoft showed off its newly announced preview of TFS running on the Windows Azure platform, which provides a collaborative Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) environment delivered as a Microsoft-hosted Windows Azure cloud service, making it easier to deploy, scale, operate and access collaborative development projects, the company said.

Microsoft also highlighted its new .NET 4.5 Developer Preview, which has focused on key developer requests across key technologies and includes new features for asynchronous programming in C# and Visual Basic, support for state machines in Windows Workflow, and increased investments in HTML5 and CSS3 in ASP.NET.

In addition, Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president in Microsoft’s STB unit demonstrated the new ASP.NET MVC 4 Preview, which provides new Web tooling capabilities for developers to better manage Web application rendering, and its impacts on business application logic, in different browsers.

Cloud Toolkit And Updates

Microsoft also showcased additional capabilities of the Windows Azure platform, such as the new Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8, which is currently available for Windows Phone, Android and iOS. Zander said Microsoft is extending its toolkits for cloud applications to Windows 8. The Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8 provides developers with code samples, documentation and components for Building Metro style applications that use Windows Azure for connectivity and notifications.

Other new Windows Azure updates from Build include:

  • Windows Azure Georeplication. Now available, this enhancement replicates Windows Azure Blobs and Tables between two data centres hundreds of miles apart from each other on the same continent, at no additional cost, to provide additional data durability in the case of a major disaster
  • Windows Azure Marketplace expansion. Available in 25 new countries in early October, the Windows Azure Marketplace offers developers a comprehensive market for datasets and finished applications; register on Windows Azure Marketplace today
  • Microsoft Translator API. Available today on the Windows Azure Marketplace, the Microsoft Translator API provides machine language translations to developers looking to customise their applications to satisfy the language needs of a global audience
  • Windows Azure SDK version 1.5. Advancements to the Windows Azure SDK include better capabilities for developers to Build Windows Azure applications, including improved emulator performance, service certificate support, package and configuration management and remote desktop encryption
  • Windows Azure Service Bus September Release. Enhancements to the Service Bus improve pub/sub messaging, enable asynchronous eventing to better link applications to occasionally connected devices such as phones and kiosks, and provide improved support for loosely coupled application architectures and advanced intra-app messaging

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