BUILD 2014 – What’s New for Windows and Windows Phone Developers

BUILD 2014, San Francisco
What’s New for Windows and Windows Phone Developers (9-001) – Charles Torre, Kevin Gallo

Day 1, 2 Apr 2014, 11:30AM-12:00PM

Disclaimer: This post contains my own thoughts and notes based on watching BUILD 2014 keynotes and presentations. Some content maps directly to what was originally presented. Other content is paraphrased or represents my own thoughts and opinions and should not be construed as reflecting the opinion of Microsoft or of the presenters or speakers.

Charles Torre – Exec Producer – App Experience


Kevin Gallo – Director of Windows Developer Platform
(Partner Director Program Management)

What is Universal app?

  • Write once, run on multiple devices
  • Tuned to each device

Common set of APIs

  • Work across all devices
  • 90-95% of APIs are shared
  • Small number are appropriate to only certain devices (e.g. SMS)
  • Basically the same API that we’ve had in the past

All languages—C#, VB, Javascript, et al

Two major new things

  • Larger subset of API on Windows Phone (90-95%)
  • Project system in Visual Studio supports cross-platform projects (shared template)

For existing Windows Phone apps

  • Written in Silverlight 8.0, doesn’t have access to new APIs
  • But latest version of Silverlight does

How to migrate old apps

  • Upgrade project from 8.0 to 8.1
  • Then have access to all APIs
  • Or use Light Up
    • Keep as 8.0
    • Use reflection to detect 8.1, take advantage of some features
    • App “lights up” when running on 8.1 phone

Q: What’s difference between PCL-based application and Universal app?

  • PCL – subset of APIs that work across libraries; can share just code
  • Universal app – can share XAML, localization, etc.
    • Share more than just code
    • Natural evolution of PCL

Q: Can I make apps by using only HTML5/Javascript?

  • Choices
    • C#/XAML
    • DirectX / XAML
    • HTML5 / JavaScript
  • Flexibility
  • Can mix/match

Q: How to ensure quality apps on Windows devices?

  • Microsoft is providing tools for diagnostics & performances
  • Diagnostics help find bottlenecks
  • Reduces developer time for making great app

Q: Possible to create Universal App from existing WP8 app?

  • Some changes have been made to XAML
  • XAML is more “predictable”
  • Little bit of work to port, but not too bad

Q: Why choose Windows 8 platform over Android/iOS?

  • Not really about choosing
  • Rather, about reaching customer

Q: Do I need to know multiple languages to create a WP app?

  • No

Q: Full .NET on Win RT?

  • No

Q: Upgrade XNA to 8.1?

  • No, we haven’t done that much. Still need to port to DirectX

Q: DirectX 12 on phone?

  • Have not yet announced

Q: Universal App – separate app packages?

  • Yes, because they are different binaries
  • But Project system makes seamless
  • Two targets

Q: Option for devs to use 3rd party Javascript frameworks?

  • Yes, fully support 3rd party libraries
  • Goal is to help devs do cross-platform
  • Contributing WinJS to open source
  • Interop works (very important)

Q: When will SDK be available?

  • RC being released now, RTM later

Q: Some APIs that can’t be shared?

  • Not really
  • Mainly: SMS, printing
  • 90-95% of code will be shared

Q: Universal Apps support DirectX with C#?

  • No, just C or C++

Q: When will XBox One apps use this model?

  • Coming in the future

Q: What device are you using right now?

  • Nokia 1020 as Phone; Surface Pro as development for Windows

Shared Core, Shared Kernel, drivers?

  • We’ve merged Windows, Windows Phone, XBox kernels
  • From APIs down to drivers and kernel

Optimizations for power & memory management?

  • Have tuned for phone, and then every device is faster, due to shared codebase
  • E.g. Shared libs between different apps—they’ll just exist in one place on the phone

Q: Why no VB support for Universal Apps?

  • We do support VB.NET

Q: C++ and managed C++/CLI support for Universal Apps?

  • Same interface for C++ on Windows and Phone

Q: Will Universal App work on Win 7?

  • No. Just Win 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1
  • Stuff replaced is down at the OS level

Q: Can you use JavaScript code for Universal Apps?

  • Yes

Q: Support for 3rd party devs to write kernel drivers?

  • No comment

Q: Use C?

  • Yes

Q: New Live Tile APIs?

  • Can do updating from background a bit better
  • Better experience on tile

Background computing on power-constrained platform is challenging

  • Triggers—in background, CPU can run just a little bit of code when code wakes up
  • Makes app much more interactive
  • Conserves power, but gives user good experience

How granular can toast be? Can we drill down into app after clicking on toast

  • I think so

Action Center

  • Developer can access to see events that have happened in the past

Q: Traditional desktop apps being phased out?

  • Absolutely not
  • Not “phasing out” anybody’s code
  • Leverage investment that you’ve made in these apps
  • Maybe a bit tough to transition to use new technologies
  • Coming—more info on how we’ll stitch these two worlds together
  • Maybe a bit too hard to leverage new stuff in existing apps
  • WinRT Broker is first installment in this set of things to bridge worlds


BUILD Conference Notes #4 – Keynote, part IV – Windows Live

BUILD conference keynote, part IV.  Windows 8 and Windows Live.  13 Sep 2011.

Chris Jones.

  • InBox, multiple accounts

  • Share calendars

  • Connected address book

  • Photos – photos from various places

  • SkyDrive – accessible to developers
  • Connect devices via Live – e.g. navigate hard drive
  • Tunneling via Live ID
  • Sharing photos via mail

  • Connected contact list

  • SkyDrive via web site, access to all connected devices

  • Windows Phone 7.5, SkyDrive stuff

  • New Acer touch screen PC with Touch

  • Live apps are all written as new HTML5 Metro apps

  • Hundreds of other features in Windows 8 we haven’t yet seen
  • Sample apps

  • Teams built apps in 10 weeks
  • 17 teams, 2-3 devs per team, 10 weeks
  • College interns built all of the sample apps
  • Here are some of the interns

  • Hmm, intern said “turn on their Slate”
  • Steven, with more to say

  • Windows 8 Developer Preview – pre-release – Visual Studio 11 Express, Blend 5
  • Next milestone Beta.  Then RC, RTM, GA (General Availability)
  • Driven by quality, not by a date
  • Developer Preview will also receive updates
  • Customer Feedback will drive fixes that they make
  •, can download preview, 10PM CST
  • No activation

BUILD Conference Notes #3 – Keynote, part III – Windows 8 Hardware Etc

BUILD conference keynote, part III.  Windows 8 Hardware and other new features in Windows 8.  13 Sep 2011.

  • Michael Angiulo, Corp VP, Windows Planning and Ecosystem

  • Super fast boot times
  • 8-sec bootup on current in-market laptop

  • Service automatically checks for root kits – tons of new security features

  • New power state – Connected Standby – very low power
  • One-click power switch on tablet – instant on/off

  • Killer feature – instant on/off, just like iPad
  • ATOM and ARM-based systems

  • USB 3.0 – much faster than 2.0

  • Windows 8 supports 256TB drives
  • 4.7 TFlops computing power on killer 3-graphics card system.  (2500x original Cray)

  • Unreal engine and DX11

  • All of Windows 8 is built hardware accelerated graphics
  • Only 1 pixel of chrome around the outside of apps
  • Touch working across wide variety of systems
  • If a screen can run Windows 7, it can automatically run Windows 8

  • 1366 x 768 – can do side-by-side in Metro
  • Sensor API in Win 8

  • NFC (Near Field Communication) built-in (sensor), to recognize objects
  • HD web cam app

  • Win 8 tablet with 3G

  • Resume from Sleep as fast as you can open the lid
  • Thin laptops

  • PC is mostly battery

  • Samsung table PC – 5,000 in warehouse

  • Everyone at BUILD gets one of these
  • “Samsung Windows Developer Preview PC”

  • 2nd generation Core i5
  • Dual monitor
  • 11.6″ diagonal
  • Loaded with Developer Preview of Windows 8
  • Comes with tools, apps

  • Win 8 smaller/faster on widest range of hardware
  • Windows 8 on “professional platform”

  • New Task Manager

  • Apps go into Suspended state when you’re not looking at them

  • New Startup mods in Task Manager
  • Services tab
  • Run command line tool to make current set of settings a baseline for restore
  • Standard performance benchmarks; run suites of tests; compare over machines or over time
  • Remote Desktop

  • Touch enabling on remote session
  • Hyper-V, can run on Windows

  • VHDs, can mount as drives
  • New ribbon in Windows Explorer; new Up button

  • Desktop background can span multiple monitors
  • Can customize taskbar for each monitor separately – i.e. show icons only for apps on that monitor

  • Swap monitor, e.g. run Metro on one monitor, app on another
  • Type “cmd” in Metro, search opens automatically, shows you cmd.exe

  • Weather app

  • IE10 in Windows 8

  • All the normal keyboard/mouse works as usual
  • Can open app in either Metro panel or with normal Windows desktop frame
  • Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 3
  • Mulit-touch in IE10

  • Magnifier

  • Ease of Access – can make everything bigger
  • Thumb-by-Thumb keyboard layout

  • Ink / Pen

  • All personal settings roam

BUILD Conference Notes #2 – Keynote, part II – Building Applications

BUILD conference keynote.  13 Sep 2011, 11:30AM CST.

  • Today

  • Windows 8 platform for Metro apps

  • Windows kernel – brought forward – robust, scalable
  • Windows Runtime – Win RT – APIs
  • WinRT – over 1800 objects
  • Application Model – natively built into Windows; all native code
  • Is .NET Framework gone?  Where does it live in this picture?
  • You pick the language that you want to use
  • Antoine Leblond – building apps

  • New Project, pick language

  • Templates are fully-functioning metro-style apps

  • Adding some HTML5 elements

  • Writing some code (Javascript)

  • Run the app – browser launches

  • Ugh, back to procedural code.  Step backwards, if you talk to a XAML developer

  • Sharing to social network

  • Blend 5 has support for HTML5

  • Using new CSS layout Grid

  • Previewing app at different resolutions and screen orientations

  • 58 lines of code for basic little HTML5 app

  • Packaging app into app store

  • Set price for your app

  • Built-in licensing model, including trialware option
  • App certification process.  Shows you where your app is in the process

  • Technical Compliance – developers can run tests in advance using MS-supplied tools
  • App Store, Spotlight section

  • Games in App Store

  • App Store is itself a metro-style HTML5 app
  • Steven is excited

  • App listing page in App Store

  • What about Win32 apps?
  • Start screen can list Win32 apps as well (e.g. Quicken)

  • Developers are NOT forced to use new Microsoft licensing model
  • Old apps can just be listed in App Store
  • XAML – where does it fit in?
  • Silverlight apps can run in new browser in Windows 8
  • Works the same way as in Windows 7, but not Metro app
  • Converting Silverlight app into Metro-style app
  • Converting from Silverlight environment to Windows 8 – only requires a handful of changes (e.g. namespaces)
  • Ported Silverlight now allows touch, full Metro app.  But it’s still XAML.

  • Change view in XAML to Windows 8 GridView.  Still XAML.
  • And can connect to Search Charm in Windows 8
  • We now can run Silverlight app with new Windows 8 grid view

  • New APIs/tools to build Metro apps
  • Rapid/scalable development
  • Your choice of languages and development tools
  • Apps automatically run on all the hardware that Windows 8 supports

BUILD Conference Notes #1 – Keynote, part I – User Experience

BUILD conference keynote.  13 Sep 2011, 11AM CST.

Prior to start of keynote, live stream wanders through the crowd.

  • Tagline – “Do what you’ve always imagined”

  • Steven Sinofsky

  • Launching Windows 8 today
  • Over 450,000,000 copies of Windows 7 sold
  • Windows 7 consumer usage is now greater than Windows XP usage
  • Over 1500 product changes to Windows 7 since RTM
  • IE9 – gave us hardware acceleration; showed that HW acceleration does matter for browsing
  • Over 542,000,000 users of Windows Live
  • IE9 + Windows Live = foundational elements of Windows 8

  • Touch – will become a huge part of interaction
  • Once you’ve used Touch on PC with Windows 8, you’ll want it on all devices
  • Mobility – you want devices that you can use while carrying around
  • Developers want more connectivity between users
  • Services are intrinsic part of all software
  • Windows 8 is at Developer Preview stage
  • Everything great in Windows 7 – even better in Windows 8
  • Everything that runs on 7 runs on 8
  • Full compatibility from Windows 7 to Windows 8
  • Goal of Windows 8 is to reimagine Windows, from the chip set on up to the user experience
  • E.g. Windows 8 running on ARM

  • Windows 8 can run on new hardware, as well as ARM and x86
  • Demo #1 – user experience
  • Demo #2 – Building metro style platform and tools
  • Demo #3 – hardware platform, range of form factors
  • Demo #4 – how everything connects to cloud-based services with Windows Live
  • Over 100 sessions at BUILD
  • Fundamental performance gains
  • Small Lenovo Netbook – 1GB memory, Atom processor.  It’s now running Windows 8
  • On Windows 7, 404MB, 32 processes
  • On Windows 8, uses 281MB memory, 29 processes
  • Better performance on Windows 8, using the same hardware
  • Showing off User Experience – Julie Larson Green, Corp VP of Windows Management

  • Lock screen

  • Login screen

  • Start screen

  • Start Screen is not just a launching.  Also provides notifications, gadgets, etc.
  • Dragging tiles around

  • Pinch to zoom out and see everything

  • Onscreen keyboard

  • Control Panel

  • Games group

  • News reader

  • App settings

  • Docking apps

  • IE9 in Metro, chromeless  (“chrome-free”, ha-ha)

  • Swipe to get app bar with IE options

  • Use Touch to select-drag text

  • “Charms”

  • Spell-checking throughout Windows 8
  • Searching applications

  • Playing music

  • Pictures

  • Photo Fedr – shows photos from the cloud

  • Tweet@rama

  • On tablet (ARM-based machine running Windows 8)

  • Fast / fluid user experience
  • Applications are immersive and full-screen
  • Touch-first; keyboard/mouse works just as well
  • Web of apps, working together – apps know about each other; work together
  • On various hardware platforms

Notes on Office 365 Launch

Office 365 launch.  28 Jun 2011.  Ballmer introducing it, plus a couple demos.

  • Ballmer introducing Office 365
  • Office + Cloud = Collaboration
  • “Office meets the cloud”
  • Office 365 being announced today
  • Collaboration scenarios, target to small businesses

  • Accessing Office 365 using mobile devices, e.g. Windows Phone 7

  • Real-time collaboration–as one user updates, other user sees changes immediately
  • Outlook in Office 365

  • Online Meeting button – automatically sets up online meeting/conference

  • Realtime collaboration in whiteboard

  • Collaboration using SharePoint
  • New SharePoint design surfaces, with Ribbon

  • Service plans for Office 365 – monthly subscription, or connecting existing Office apps to Office 365 service
  • Touting their SLA, but no numbers
  • Example of company planning to host all their documents in Office365
  • $100k/yr savings for sample company
  • Touting – improve collaboration between offices
  • “Global partner ecosystem” – partnering with various partners that already provide SLAs
  • Partner can package Office365 with services that partners already provide to small businesses
  • Our friend Steve

  • “Bring benefits of Office to the cloud”