Last week was the annual Microsoft Build conference. With the current global situation, Microsoft had a big challenge; to organize such an event remotely. Indeed, the event was broadcasted live and free of charge simultaneously over three time zones.
There were no less than 600 sessions on the schedule. At Nexus, we asked our team of experts to provide you with a comprehensive summary. In order to share only the cream of the crop, we each asked them the following question: “What caught your attention the most at the MS Build 2020 conference?”
Have a good read!
The session that caught my attention the most was introducing Application Lifecycle Management for PowerApps solutions. A Low-Code solution does not mean that it is not possible to have good DevOps practices in place. Here is what stood out:
- Common Data Service (CDS) solutions will allow you to isolate your development environments from your customers’ production environments.
- The PowerApps CLI (PAC) will allow you to quickly start building custom controls to provide additional business value to your solutions.
- The Extension for PowerApps Build tools is now available on the marketplace and fits easily into an Azure Dev Ops pipeline for continuous integration and deployment in your Microsoft 365 ecosystem.
The sessions I participated in focused on the future of the .NET ecosystem as well as new developments in the world of Infrastructure as Code in Azure, via ARM templates. Here are the highlights that have marked me:
- The unification of the .NET Framework with .NET Core, as .NET 5 is coming to fruition and will be available this fall.
- The new library to develop GUI applications in .NET is called MAUI and will be multi-platform, as will .NET 5.
- The Blazor tool continues to evolve and will become a very interesting solution for full stack web development in C#.
- As far as ARM templates are concerned, the JSON language will be replaced by a brand-new language that will be open source and certainly much more suitable.
I have identified two trends among the innovations presented at Microsoft Build 2020:
- Azure Event Grid allows external partners to publish events directly to (e.g., Auth0). With the addition of Azure Logic App, which can soon be built directly into Visual Studio Code, it has never been easier to integrate Event Driven solutions in just a few clicks and without any code.
- Azure Lighthouse allows you to delegate the administration of a subscription or resource groups to a third party that does not need to be invited in the host subscription.
- Azure Arc, now allows users to connect an existing IT infrastructure located outside Azure.
- Azure Monitor, Application Insights allows for the tracing of dependencies like Azure SQL, Azure Cosmos, Azure Service Bus Queue. It is therefore possible to have a global picture as well as a system of alerts and notifications in one place.
- The announcement that Azure SQL and Azure Cosmos are now serverless. This means that if the system is not being used, no cost is charged.
- Azure Cosmos has just launched a free-tier and an auto-scaling service, which were long overdue. With these announcements, Azure Cosmos is really positioning itself as one of the best NoSQL systems offered in PaaS mode, in my opinion.
- With Azure Synapse, Microsoft is also launching a new offensive in the world of BIG data. Based on the metrics presented during the event, this tool seems to overshadow the performance of its competitors!
Here is the news that caught my attention:
- I have always been torn between Linux and Windows. But we can say that Windows is settling down as the ultimate OS for developers with WSL 2.0. The ability to run Linux applications with a GUI has added a world of possibilities and one less reason to run two OS in parallel.
- The introduction of .NET Multi-platform App UI which presents itself as the next universal UI framework. With the multitude of different devices and platforms to support today, MAUI brings the promise of the holy grail of the UI; a codebase targeting all platforms. Moreover, the addition of newer design patterns such as MVU (popularized by the React library) has added a breath of fresh air to the UI development in .NET.
- One of the things I have always loved about Linux is its package manager concept. Who hasn’t dreamed of having one on Windows? Yes of course, there is Chocolatey, but Windows will now have its own native Winget package manager!
- Take advantage of Winget to install the next tool that will boost your productivity. Powertoys, a little toolkit presented a few months ago, was seen at work during the presentations. If an open source plugin ecosystem would become available, as was the case with VS Code, it would be promising!
More than 600 sessions were presented at Microsoft Build, so you should understand that it is hard to sum up just one.
I have always been a great supporter of functional languages and especially F#. On the other hand, most of the .NET ecosystem rests on C# and so I am always torn between the two. With the new C# 9.0 announcement, that will not be the case anymore. Indeed, Microsoft brings a breath of fresh air to C# with all the functional programming concepts that were, until now, very limited. From the next release, you will be able to benefit from:
- Lighter Syntax
- Immutable class with new keyword data class
- Immutable property with new init key
- Pattern Matching Improvement
All this is very exciting, as it brings the two languages together and makes it even more interoperable together.
For more details, you can also look at my complete overview.
This year, Build really had a special flavour. We could not miss the sessions that focused on remote collaborative work, whether with Live Share for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code, or the new CodeSpaces (the new name for Visual Studio Online).
The big news for me was the announcement of the official availability of Blazor WebAssembly which was already introduced last year as a preview. Being able to develop Web applications using C# and being able to share code between the Front End and Back End is a hell of a time saver.
In another area, but still that of web development, the new Microsoft Identity Platform will simplify identity management. With External Identities for Azure AD (preview) It will be easier to integrate multiple identity providers (Azure AD from different tenants, Facebook, Google etc.) into a single application.
In the same theme, Microsoft Identity Web for .Net Core will greatly facilitate the work of developers when integrating identity management into the Back End of web applications.
Here are some interesting links to learn more about these topics:
- Reference site for Blazor
- MSAL Librairies
- Microsoft Identity Web
- Configuration of External Identities in Azure AD
Although the presentations of MS Build 2020 were all virtual, the content of these were rich and informative. Our team really liked the online formula and learned a lot of new technologies. Patrick, Vincent, Simon, Samuel, Miguel and Guillaume hope that this summary will have piqued your interest to learn more about their common passion: the Microsoft universe.
You can also check out the Book of News 2020 officiel de Microsoft for all the major news announced at the event.