Microsoft Build 2020 Part 2: And there’s more!

  • Posted on June 4, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Microsoft Build 2020 - Part 1

As we discussed in part one, Microsoft made their flagship developer event open virtually to the whole world, and Avanade commented around the globe through Microsoft Teams. Here’s the final part of our round-up, and a link to our three favorite sessions.

Windows: A developer’s operating system
Don Heppner, Raleigh Digital Studio Lead
It was great to see how Microsoft has continued their investment in making Windows the best operating system for developers. The significant performance improvements in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL2), dramatically improved container experience in partnership with Docker Desktop, and other investments make it possible to quickly spin up complete development environments locally, in containers, and even in the cloud with Code Spaces. The seamless integration with Visual Studio Code both locally and in the browser, including being able to share and customize VS Code profiles across remote environments, empowers developers to contribute to any project, at any time, from anywhere and from any device.
Windows Terminal, now v1.0, is a first-class terminal that can seamlessly tie all of the different terminal options together on Windows, including being able to connect to local CMD, PowerShell, and Linux environments, as well as containers hosted locally and in the cloud. The degree of customization of both look and feel and key-bindings across multiple profiles is extensive, and of course it is GPU accelerated. The Cascadia Code font looks great in Windows Terminal.
Microsoft has finally got behind a package manager for Windows, called the Windows Package Manager or winget. A Microsoft-driven package manager should bring a level of confidence to automated software management on Windows and spark renewed interest from the community. A migration path from Chocolatey was also announced.
Like many announcements at Build, all the aforementioned tools are open source. It’s a great time to be a developer, and Windows is a fantastic OS for building software for any platform.

Chris Lloyd-Jones, Emerging Technology Engineering Lead
Enterprises need to deploy software to their machines at scale, so that employees can work productively and quickly. Teams need to decide on standard tooling, and make sure everyone in the team has access to the products they need.

But managing software on Windows could be complicated. With various installer packages, third party package managers… it didn’t really compare to the simplicity of homebrew for mac, or apt-get for various Linux distributions.

Microsoft launched Windows Package Manager - it handles both the issues of trust, by analyzing software within the repository to reduce bad actors; and they are working with other third-party package management solutions to make the experience better for everyone.

Why care? Organizations benefit from increased productivity, ease of software updates; and newly onboarded colleagues can get going from day one.

.NET Core, Linux, containers and more
Bruno Capuano, Regional Innovation Lead for Canada, and Microsoft AI MVP
I’ve been a .NET Developer for +20 years. It’s been an amazing ride supported by a great programming language like C#. In these years, I’ve seen a lot of tools around .Net, and as usual, not all of them are valid today. However, Windows Forms (WinForms) was the base of most of the enterprise developments in the 2000s. Now we have the chance to migrate those projects to .Net Core, and we have also a WinForms Designers to validate them.
For me, it was a great experience to open a project from 2002, and 30 minutes later have the project up and running in .Net Core. And it even runs on Linux. And it was also a challenge, to pick up an old webapp, migrate the app to .Net Core, and host it in a container. This was a +15-year-old project and it still working without any major changes.

The idea to use old tools to create new and robust new applications is amazing.
Bonus: WinForms was open-sourced a couple of years ago, and for the 1st time in 10 years a new control was added to the list of WinForms controls. And this new control was an external non-Microsoft contribution.

Azure Quantum: Making the most of quantum innovation today
Fergus Kidd, Emerging Technology Engineer
Quantum computing is a hot topic, it’s taken billions of dollars of investments, thousands of research hours, and a whole heap of innovation, but there aren’t any tangible results… yet.

Some of the problems quantum computers promise to tackle, like traffic routing, next generation machine learning, drug synthesis, and more, are huge opportunities in the market and even minor improvements to today’s solutions could have big knock on consequences.

Microsoft are expanding ‘Azure Quantum’ to include quantum inspired optimization, and taking the quantum capability off our local devices, and into Azure. With new options for running quantum compute tasks on classical Azure solutions, whether that be quantum computer simulators with more Qubits, or Quantum Inspired Optimizations tasks running in the cloud.

Instead of waiting for huge hardware advances, Microsoft are allowing us to more flexibly work on quantum ready algorithms in Q# in the QDK, and start to delve into quantum inspired optimization, to start taking learnings from the quantum world, into our present-day solutions.

Why care? Microsoft are allowing us to get ahead of the curve with quantum and start to use cutting edge techniques to optimize today’s solutions.

Azure Sphere – Putting security first in IoT
Fergus Kidd, Emerging Technology Engineer
IoT security is paramount but developing custom secure devices with Azure Sphere and integrating it into existing infrastructure is a specialist process. Azure Sphere is also notoriously power inefficient, due to its current uses, and connectivity to the cloud.

Microsoft are constantly developing more tools, platforms, and options for IoT, all of which Azure Sphere devices currently need to be manually incorporated into by developers. Whether its development to certification as a plug and play device or making custom templates for Azure Sphere devices in IoT Central.

Microsoft has announced new templates for Azure Sphere within IoT central, a new low power mode for when the chip is inactive, out of the box cellular connection options. They have also heavily hinted at new language support for C++, and out of the box plug and play compatibility in the future.

If Azure sphere is seamless to integrate to all the Azure IoT services, it will be much easier to include it on more IoT projects and put security at the forefront of our IoT development work. New power and communication options massively extend the range of use cases in which we can utilize Azure Sphere. Plug and play compatibility could see more off the shelf solutions, ready for plug and play, using Azure Sphere for the greatest IoT security.

Cristy Stone, Emerging Technology Research Lead
IoT is a key consideration for every industry so anything that makes those connections easier, and more importantly, more secure is a huge win. 

Why care? Azure sphere is now easier to use, meaning security can be at the center of all your IoT solutions.

Azure RTOS and Azure Sphere
Shirin Pourmoshir, Senior Consultant, Software Engineering
RTOS – a real-time operating system – has multithreading facilities, middleware, and Windows tools for developing embedded IoT applications.

Azure RTOS offers a small and fast real-time processing secured by default, an ideal solution for IoT applications.

The next phase of .Net
Shirin Pourmoshir, Senior Consultant, Software Engineering
.NET5 has a tiny container footprint, appealing to microservices and distributed systems. Unifying .NET Core and .NET Framework brings performance improvements and platform portability, allowing mobile applications, web applications and desktop applications to quickly be created together.
MAUI allows development of cross-platform mobile applications using native controls, bringing high performance, and a single project that will deploy to major platforms including Windows, iOS, and Android.

Blazor WebAssemby allows ASP.NET Web Applications to live in the browser, bringing the benefit of .NET and C# technologies into the frontend world.

Why care? Your C# developers can develop frontend applications in the language they love, allowing for reduced cost, and faster time to market.

Azure Static Web App Service (Public preview)
Shirin Pourmoshir, Senior Consultant, Software Engineering
The launch of Azure Static Web App service brings app hosting to static web applications built on JavaScript. GitHub provides automatic deployments to production and staging environments using actions. Azure Functions provide the underlying backend brains in JavaScript – and this public preview may become a developer favorite in the near future.

Why care?  Azure “SWaaahs” bring reduced hosting cost, and support for modern TypeScript and JavaScript frameworks, improving the experience of modern web application development.

And finally…
If you want to catch up on the goodness from Microsoft Build 2020 yourself, here are the three sessions we recommend:


  1. The future of tech, with Kevin Scott and guests – a high level overview of the emerging trends that are reshaping AI, and the convergence of the physical and digital worlds
  2. Building on Azure Quantum, a sneak peak of what will be available in Azure Quantum with the amazing Anita Ramanan
  3. Azure Digital Twins, and the next generation of IoT applications – modelling the physical world with Azure Digital Twin

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