Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BUILD Day 2 Keynote: What You Need to Know

With the California sun now rising in the sky, it's time for another fresh day of BUILD and the all important Day 2 keynote. Like yesterday, rather than compete with the live video stream, I've real-time condensed today's keynote in to the key moments you need to get the overall jist of what Microsoft shared. This isn't a blow-by-blow blog of the keynote, but if you spend 5 minutes reviewing this post, you'll know what you need to know from the second BUILD keynote.

Key Keynote Moments

  1. Windows 8 Tablet Distraction
    Not explicitly said or part of the keynote, it's worth noting that much of the audience seems to be distracted by their shiny new Win8 tablets this morning.
  2. Devices + Cloud
    Here is one of the "missing" elements from Day 1: extended talk about the cloud. In the opening of Day 2, Microsoft spent some time talking about building apps for Windows devices (Phone, Tablet) that are deeply connected to the cloud (Azure services). But not much Azure really demoed until much later in the keynote.
  3. Visual Studio 11 Features
    As part of Jason Zander's demo of building apps with the cloud, a handful of VS2011 features were introduced, like a new and improved image editor, new baked-in power tools, and improved debugging tools for working with DirectX. (He'll cover way more of VS2011 in his sessions today- find the session recordings.) VS2011 Developer Preview will be available today, along with Windows Azure SDK Toolkit.
  4. Scott Guthrie returns to the stage in trademark red polo
    Scott may now be CVP for Server & Tools, but he's still rocking the ASP.NET demos people have made him popular. Scott showed-off some cool new tooling for ASP.NET MVC 4, such as a "design view" for ASP.NET MVC, auto-minification of CSS and JS, and async features from .NET 4.5. If you missed ASP.NET or .NET 4.5 talk on Day 1, this covers it.
  5. OSX and iPhone emulator take the stage
    Small moment, but it stands out. As part of demonstrating some of the new things in ASP.NET 4.5, like jQuery Mobile, ScottGu did the unthinkable and showed the iPhone emulator running on a Mac. Good to see Microsoft acknowledging the world around them today.
  6. TFS running on Azure as a service
    Like TFS? Good for you. Microsoft showed more today of TFS running in the cloud on Azure. Formally called, Team Foundation Service running on Azure.
  7. Something for Windows IT Pros
    It's easy to forget as a developer that there are non-developers at BUILD. Microsoft addressed this crowd today with demos of new Virtual Machine Management tools and other Win8 server features. But I doubt you're an IT Pro if you're reading this blog...
  8. Windows Azure Credential Service
    Nice easy way to log-in using popular identity providers (Facebook, Google, Live, etc.) with just a few lines of code (seems to require WinRT). Makes single-sign-on across Windows 8 devices "fluid" process.
  9. Viper car security device connected to the cloud
    What makes this demo interesting is that it's the FIRST in two-days that involves an external Microsoft product. No partner on stage, but an external company nonetheless. Demo showed how the car device can send data to the Azure cloud and then visualize on the web and Phone.
  10. West Coast Customs CEO takes the stage
    Microsoft is going to (read: not done yet) build a car with West Coast Customs. It will be part of the TV show, so watch for it in the future.
  11. [THE SURPRISE] Steve Ballmer takes the stage!
    Just when everyone thought the Day 2 keynote was over, Steve Ballmer shows-up and takes the stage. Probably the biggest surprise so far of BUILD! Steve spent about 20 minutes reinforcing the Microsoft big picture for Windows 8, Azure (cloud), and Phone. Steve brought a much needed sense of "reality" to everything being talked about at BUILD, acknowledging that MSFT has a lot of work ahead of it to make Phone and Win8 successful. Good way to end the keynotes.
Who Was On Stage?
Unlike Day 1, where Sinofsky more-or-less ran the entire keynote, today was a revolving door of presenters. For your easy reference, here's who we saw:
Final Thoughts & Reactions
If all of the talk about a new "bold" version of Windows was making your head spin, today's keynote was like Advil, reminding developers that all of the things they've loved about the evolution of Microsoft's server technology and tooling (.NET, Visual Studio, Azure, Win Server) are still happening. While Windows 8 is cool and introduces some interesting new concepts, if you're in an environment locked-in to Win7 (or older), you may have felt a bit left-out on Tuesday. After today's keynote, you should feel better, with familiar faces like ASP.NET, jQuery, and even Windows 7 taking the stage.

Now, off to the overloaded schedule of individual sessions to learn more, get more reactions, and ask important questions.