Build 2015 – Day 2

So I missed the first bit of the keynote today because I was invited to a focus group. We were asked a bunch of questions about where Win10 is going, and about the marketing push that will target developers. It was enlightening, and for those of you who were upset that Microsoft “forgot the desktop” with Win8, I got the sense there’s a feeling mea culpa about that.

If anything, continuum makes Microsoft even more aware of being on multiple platforms and respecting each for its unique aspects. Additionally, the responsive design that is built into Win10 (I’m looking at you effective pixels) is a big sign of this. Honestly, if you’re building Win10 apps and not targeting multiple devices, you are missing out.

So, how about that keynote? I’m sure everyone has expereinced the phenomenom that is How Old. (Can you smell a meme? I smell a meme.) I tried it out and got a number of comical results for myself, but as an example of the data analysis that is provided by Azure, I was impressed. It has some more learning to do, but it is impressive. The cows, however, caught me off guard. Not because it seemed so random (though it was) but because of the tangible results. To see that much immediate science and business learning happening just by working with Azure, I was blown away. For those focusing on the cloud, today was a VERY good day.

I’m an unmitigated Microsoftie, and I love apps. The concept of a cleanly packaged, directed purpose product makes my anal retentive side very happy. As a result, I’ve been consuming a lot of the sessions about where app design and functionality is going. Among the most exciting things for me is app suites.

When Win 8 was released and Microsoft really threw itself on the app train, my biggest disappointment was the lack of app suites. If a single app should have a single focus, logically, I should have a series of apps that provide complex focus. For that to work they have to be able to communicate. However, the sandbox won and I couldn’t inter-connect my apps. Windows 10 fixes this blatant error. Using app services I can call another app to the foreground for functionality (payment processing, anyone?), or I can run a background service call and get the result back. This is all done with URI strings, just as we would currently launch a website. My inner child is dancing so much right now.

Additionally, by using an app family name I can bypass the need for an app picker and ensure that another app doesn’t accidentally receive my service call. This is exactly what I wanted when Win 8 was coming out. Sure, it took a few years, but it’s here. This opens up a great situation where I, as a developer, can make an app suite more powerful than it’s parts, and as a user can gain additional benefits for supporting a developer. Much happiness.

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