It was an amazing day today at Build 2017. With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft continues to grow the Windows platform so that Windows is home for all developers. Visual Studio and Windows the best end-to-end development process and enabling developers not only to maximize their code reuse, but also to create experiences that are engaging, powered by intelligence and connected across devices.
.NET Development Improvements
With today’s announcement that .NET Standard 2.0 for UWP and XAML Standard will be coming later this year, .NET is now the most complete cross-platform development framework. This combination, along with Visual Studio, makes it easier than ever before to write fully native and full-featured apps for all your target platforms in C#, including Windows, iOS, Android, Linux and, of course, the cloud!
.NET Standard 2.0 and XAML Standard
.NET Standard 2.0 is expanding the UWP surface by over 20,000 APIs to make sure your code is more interoperable than ever. We also know that about 70% of NuGet packages are API compatible with .NET Standard 2.0. Your most requested APIs for UWP, such as Reflection and SqlClient, will be fully accessible to you from the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.
In addition, XAML Standard allows you to keep much of your UI code common and still maintain a native look and feel across Windows, iOS, and Android. Your experience on Windows will automatically provide Fluent UI and all input interaction models for free. Our goal is to unify our XAML dialects across UWP XAML and Xamarin Forms, making cross platform development easier than ever.
Microsoft Graph and Creating Connected Experiences
Microsoft is connecting Windows to the Microsoft Graph, enabling amazing new Windows shell features such as Timeline, Cloud Clipboard, and Pick up Where I Left Off (PWILO). And you can use the same APIs to enhance your own applications too.
Devices in the Microsoft Graph
Using the Microsoft Graph API, you can now access your all of your users’ devices, enabling you to break down boundaries between devices. You can call apps and app services on each device, allowing for cross-device coordination of experiences.
Activities in the Microsoft Graph
Starting with the Windows Fall Creators Update, Microsoft is releasing the UserActivity APIs, enabling you to drive engagement in your apps, across devices and platforms. A UserActivity is the unit of user engagement in Windows, and consists of three components: a deep-link, visuals, and metadata. When a UserActivity session is created by an application, it accrues engagement records as users interact with the application.
You can download the ‘Project Rome’ SDK for Android and iOS over at GitHub.
Activities in the Microsoft Graph provide a great way to store and track your activity across all your devices. Being able to visualize those activities is a critical part of the experience your customers will expect. Adaptive cards provide developers a visualization, using an open format, that works across multiple applications and experiences. The visualization for all the activities in the Timeline is provided by attaching an adaptive card to the activity using the Project Rome APIs.
Adaptive cards are based on a JSON schema that enables app/content providers to have a rich visualization surface that can be represented in numerous experiences. The experience that hosts the card has control over exactly how the card is represented so that the card feels like a natural extension of the UI of the host app.
You can find all the latest info on adaptive cards at http://adaptivecards.io
Microsoft Fluent Design System
With the Fluent design system, Microsoft is taking a significant step forward in re-envisioning the way we develop the next generation of apps and experiences that translate seamlessly and naturally across devices. Our world is increasingly being driven by multiple devices – phones, tablets, PCs, game consoles, mixed reality headsets, etc. We don’t use just one device, we use many, and we’re constantly expressing ourselves by creating and consuming content across them. Each of these devices behaves differently and fulfills different needs. Some rely on touch and ink, some read our voices and gestures. It’s because of this world we live in today that Microsoft is making a big investment in our design system.
Fluent Design enables the creation of more expressive and engaging experiences that work continuously across devices—from large screens, to small screens, to no screen—all in a way that will drive higher engagement and love for your apps. There are 5 fundamentals to Fluid design system – light, depth, motion, materials and scale. All of these join together in concert to give us the capabilities to build immersive, rich apps that scale continuously across the device ecosystem:
- Light – Light helps enable the ability to draw someone’s attention, or more clearly guide them through their navigations
- Depth – Depth helps us understand how things relate to each other when they’re within a more layered, physical environment
- Motion – Motion is a powerful way to establish context and imply relationships between content in natural, subtle and delightful ways
- Material – Material can help take full advantage of the available screen space to celebrate content. It can also bring a sense of lightweight, ephemeral user experience
- Scale – Scale allows us expand our toolbox for more dimensions, inviting innovation across new device form factors
You can learn and get more familiar with Fluent at http://dev.windows.com/design.
Test, Deploy and Manage More Quickly
Testing and a secure deployment system is critical, so I’m particularly excited by Visual Studio Mobile Center, which allows you to have a CI/CD pipeline for UWP (in addition to iOS and Android) and integrates with our Store to make publication and distribution of your apps a breeze! Microsoft is also adding Windows devices to their test cloud, to enable developers to see how the app will look on the various devices and to help find issues before publishing.
Windows is the ultimate dev box
Microsoft’s ambition is to make Windows the best dev box – for any dev, writing any app, targeting any platform.
Microsoft is working with Suse and Fedora Linux to enable multiple Linux distributions to run simultaneously. On top of these additional distros, there are loads of improvements under the hood, such as USB device communications support (e.g. deploy your Raspberry Pi bits via USB from Bash), USB drive mounting (for FAT32/exFAT/NTFS formatted USB drives), network share mounting, improved network configuration sync between Windows and Linux, and deeper syscalls to improve the breadth and depth of WSL’s compatibility with Linux apps.
In addition, there’s now the Xamarin Live Player which allows you to deploy, run, test and debug iOS apps directly from a Windows PC. Never before have you been able to build for so many platforms on one dev box!
Getting started now
- Install the Windows 10 Preview Build of the SDK.
- View all the sessions from Build at https://channel9.msdn.com/events/build/2017/
- Use the new Activity APIs in the Windows 10 Insider Preview SDK, and if you target iOS and Android, download ‘Project Rome’ SDK for Android and iOS
- Learn about and get more familiar with the Fluent design system at http://dev.windows.com/design.