Another year and another Build conference. Last year I said I’d go this year given the opportunity, and I was given the opportunity.
The original build conference was billed as //build/ Windows. You could bring whatever tools you knew to build great Windows apps. This conference has morphed over the years and is now //build/ Azure. This is disappointing to me.
Like last year the first day keynotes were centered around the server and Azure. Day 2 was focused on Windows. The Windows part wasn’t as spellbinding as it has been in the past, and overall it felt evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary in it’s content.
There was advancements in the Fluent Design Language, but it is still for XAML developers only. There was the announcement of .NET Core 3.0 that will be in preview later this year.
The things that stuck out to me were the Adaptive Cards to be used in Windows new Timeline feature that was released last October, Sets which may or may not appear in Windows this fall, and finally but certainly not least is Visual Studio Live Share.
Timeline, as I said before, is a feature of Windows that was introduced last fall. You can see what you were working on in the past and reopen windows that you have closed. Right now it seems to work best with Edge and not much else. So that’s why Microsoft was making a big push for it at Build to teach us how to incorporate the Timeline into our own apps.
Sets is using tabs everywhere, not just in your browser. They look at it this way, “Imagine I’m planning a trip. I’ve got Excel open and PowerPoint and three browser tabs plus this trip planning application.” The problem I see with this is that they haven’t learned from their Windows 8 experience yet. People don’t look at one thing at a time. They like to have Windows next to each other so they can compare or copy text or just look at two different things. Sets forced you to have one tab open at a time. If you want to switch between that Excel spreadsheet and PowerPoint tabs you can only have one open at a time. You can’t place them side by side. So unless they are going to come out with a split view for Sets, I don’t see it taking off anytime soon. Having said all that though, I do like the Sets integration with Timeline feature. You can click once and rehydrate the entire set you had open.
Finally there was Visual Studio Live Share. This is an add-on for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code that allows multiple people, I was told at most 6 people at a time, to be working on a codebase and sharing the debugging. I can actually see this working for the teams I work on and I will push for us to try it when I get back to the office on Monday.
The only party I went to this year was the Windows Weekly party. That was a really great time.
This year’s build was a lot of fun, but not all that useful to my current job. I’m wondering to myself if I just haven’t been keeping up or if Microsoft has left me behind. Time will tell. Once again, if given the opportunity to go again next year, I sure will.