Build 2013: Microsoft Updates Windows Azure Again


Microsoft continues to add new capabilities such as autoscaling to its Windows Azure cloud platform

Box CEO Aaron Levie joined Guthrie onstage at the show wearing an “I’m a PC” T-shirt exclaiming: “It’s really exciting to see an all-new Microsoft – the amount of openness and heterogeneity is amazing.”

Meanwhile, Guggenheimer announced the availability of the Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Release Preview, which extends Windows 8.1 technologies and provides additional flexibility to meet the needs of industry devices. He demonstrated the Avis Select and Go app running on a Windows Embedded 8 Industry tablet and a Windows Embedded 8 Handheld device to illustrate the opportunity for developers to capitalize on the shared Windows code base and enable industry-specific branding, peripheral support (such as mag stripe readers and barcode scanners), and lockdown capabilities.

Partner Demos

Also, through a series of partner demos, Guggenheimer demonstrated the common core of the Windows platform spanning PC, tablet, phone and embedded devices.

Guggenheimer also noted that Khan Academy has released a major update to its Windows 8 app, now live in the Windows Store. Using Khan Academy’s Website code, Microsoft demonstrated how developers can easily take HTML5 and JavaScript code from the Web and easily port to a Windows 8 app.

Foursquare previewed an exclusive, uniquely designed Windows 8 tablet app that goes beyond check-ins to use location data in a way that helps users find interesting places and things to do around them.

In addition, Adobe is bringing its Digital Publishing Suite product to Windows 8.1 devices in late 2013. Publishers and brands will be able to design and publish content to multiple devices with interactive and inspiring reading experiences. Adobe also donated a full year of Adobe Creative Cloud subscription to all Build 2013 attendees.

Moreover, Guggenheimer announced the availability of OpenTable, Rockmelt and Rhapsody apps for Windows 8 in the Windows Store and previewed five Disney games. And he highlighted a few of the popular apps available in Windows Phone Store today, including ABC News, Xfinity by Comcast, TV Remote, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Walgreens, as well as the live push-to-talk and multimedia messaging app, Voxer.

Microsoft-Azure-cloud-tools-lead“People want to experience and explore the world around them, and the Foursquare for Windows 8 app helps them do that. It makes it fun to search for a place for dinner or to go out, and it helps people discover new experiences. We’ve worked with Microsoft on a bunch of initiatives over the years, and this product is another example of the great things we can do together,” Dennis Crowley, co-founder and CEO at Foursquare, said in a statement.

Other announcements include that PayPal’s software development kit, now generally available, allows developers to integrate the payment experience for 128 million account holders into a Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 app. In addition, Unity Technologies, a popular game development platform with nearly 2 million community members, announced a strategic collaboration with Microsoft to make it easier for developers to bring popular games, entertainment and apps to Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox 360 and Xbox One for Microsoft Studios publishing partners.

Productivity Changes

And Microsoft also demonstrated the developer productivity enhancements of the .NET 4.5.1 runtime that enable developers to build the next wave of modern applications that run across devices and cloud, while also extending their existing line-of-business applications. The updates include improved coding, designing, testing and optimizing of XAML applications in Windows 8.1.

Onstage at Build, Guggenheimer, joined by Microsoft uber-programmer John Shewchuk, a Microsoft Technical Fellow heading up the technical evangelism and development team, demonstrated how broad Microsoft’s platform is for both Web and app development support. Essentially, they showed how to build apps for the Web and move them to Windows 8 and other Microsoft platforms, said Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst with Forrester.

Finally, Microsoft showcased how Bing as a platform can extend across a broad set of devices and client app experiences using Bing Developer Services. Guggenheimer demonstrated these platform capabilities by showing Microsoft translation technology in Twitter for Windows Phone, which now provides instant, single-click translation of tweets.

“Whether developing for existing, client/server, or emerging device and cloud application patterns, developers need a platform that offers consistency and flexibility. Only the Windows platform—spanning Windows, Windows Phone, Windows Azure and more – meets this need,” Guggenheimer said.

Developers can go to the Windows Azure site today for a free trial.

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Originally published on eWeek.

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