Microsoft shared a number of developments and projects at Build 2016 that highlighted Microsoft Azure as the best environment for developers to build intelligent applications across any device or OS. Some of these highlights as announced by Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise Group, include the following:
- Developers can now easily build native cross-platform mobile applications by including Xamarin’s capabilities in Visual Studio Community and also making Xamarin Studio for OS X free as a community edition. Furthermore, Visual Studio Enterprise subscribers will now have access to Xamarin’s advanced enterprise capabilities at no additional cost. The company also announced a commitment to open source the Xamarin SDK, including its runtime, libraries and command line tools, as part of the .NET Foundation in the coming months.
These announcements shows Microsoft’s extended commitment to offering choice and flexibility to every customer across every platform and device — merging the .NET and Xamarin ecosystems together to provide an unmatched mobile development and DevOps experience. Now, developers can deliver fully native cross-platform mobile app experiences to all major devices, including iOS, Android and Windows.
Other announcements include new Azure services designed to help developers address today’s operational realities and take advantage of tomorrow’s emerging trends, such as the Internet of Things and microservices. These new capabilities are designed to make Azure the best platform to build the next intelligent app — on Linux or Windows using any language:
- The general availability of Azure Service Fabric, a microservices application platform developers can use to design apps and services that are available 24×7 at cloud scale. Battle-tested supporting Microsoft cloud services, Service Fabric seamlessly handles application lifecycle management for constant uptime and easy application scaling. Also today, Microsoft announced previews of Service Fabric for Windows Server, for deploying on-premises and other clouds, and Service Fabric for Linux and Java APIs, and said it would open-source the programming frameworks of Service Fabric for Linux later this year.
- A preview of Azure Functions that extends Azure’s market-leading platform services to serverless compute for event-driven solutions. Functions lets developers easily handle tasks that respond to events common in Web and mobile applications, IoT, and big data scenarios. Functions works with Azure and third-party services, automatically scaling out to meet demand and only charging for the time functions run. With an open source runtime, developers will be able to host Functions anywhere — on Azure, in their datacenter or on other clouds.
- New Azure IoT Starter Kits available for purchase. These kits allow anyone with Windows or Linux experience to quickly build IoT prototypes that leverage all Azure’s IoT offerings, for just $50 to $160. In addition, early adopters can now use the Azure IoT Gateway SDK, which enables legacy devices and sensors to connect to the Internet without having to replace existing infrastructure, as well as device management in Azure IoT Hub to maintain and manage IoT devices at cloud scale.
- A preview of Power BI Embedded, which allows developers to embed fully interactive reports and visualizations in any application, on any device. Guthrie also disclosed that applications can now easily communicate with the fully managed Azure DocumentDB NoSQL service, using existing Apache License MongoDB APIs and drivers.