Overview from Microsoft BUILD
Need the quick summary? Here you go.
Neural engines and other AI-focused chips are common in phones and getting more common in laptops. Microsoft announced a couple of ways to support developers who want to use those chips. Microsoft particularly wants devs to move off of Arm64 emulation and build cloud-native AI applications.
Arm-ing the Cloud
Microsoft announced Project Volterra, a developer device running on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform that lets developers explore “AI scenarios” using the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine. The device will let developers build and test Arm-native apps alongside tools including Visual Studio, VSCode, Microsoft Office, and Teams. It's a flat box form factor so it can be stacked on desks or in server racks. Project Volterra comes later this year.
Windows will also get a Neural processing SDK toolkit for executing, debugging and analyzing performance of deep neural networks on Snapdragon chips.
And a preview of a native Arm64 version of Visual Studio 22 is coming in the next few weeks, and is expected to fully ship later this year along with along with Arm64 .NEt support.
Project Volterra isn't the only hardware for devs Microsoft announced. Microsoft Dev Box lets yo access a preconfigured developer workstation in Microsoft 365. It works in any browser and supports any IDEs and SDKs that run on Windows. A portal lets you add and remove boxes and parallelize tasks across multiple machines. Dev Boxes kick off in private preview now with public preview coming int he next few months.
Microsoft's low code Power Platform added Power Pages and Power Apps Express Design. Power Pages makes it easy to build a modern secure website, and also integrates with Visual Studio Code, Azure DevOps, and GitHub if you need it.
On the broader Windows side of things, Microsoft removed the wait list for adding win32 applications to the Microsoft Store. Good for devs and good for app users.
And Microsoft will support third-party widgets in Windows 11 later this year for win32 apps and PWAs. This comes a few days after Microsoft started testing desktop widgets in addition to the ones in the widgets panel. Power Apps Express Design can take a PDF or image (when proper designed in something like Figma) and convert it into an app with working controls and data storage.
And it wouldn't be BUILD without a Microsoft Teams announcement or seven. The big one was Live Share that lets participants co-edit or co-create in apps that integrate with Teams. For example, developers at Hexagon created an app that lets Teams users zoom in, annotate and edit 3D models in real time. There's also a new Whiteboard integration with similar co-editing and creation functions.