BUILD Sets the Windows 8 Table
The Build event last year was really just a sneak-peek of this year’s show; the promise of Windows 8, hinted at then, became the reality of Windows 8 now.
Another BUILD conference has come and gone for Microsoft. It was a bittersweet time, to be sure: As developers descended on Redmond, Wash., for the show, Hurricane Sandy was wreaking devastation on New York City and much of New Jersey. Colleagues of mine were without power for many days. As of this writing, some still don't have electricity.
But on the opposite coast, BUILD went on, and was by almost any measure a success. The BUILD event last year was really just a sneak peek of this year's show -- the promise of Windows 8, hinted at then, became the reality of Windows 8 now. And this year's event ushered in a new kind of reality for Microsoft: its first soup-to-nuts mobile computing device.
Developers at the show got a free sample of one of those devices: A 32GB Surface RT tablet with a Touch Cover keyboard. It's a hugely expensive item to give away, but also a smart move: It's likely that most devs have been playing with their Surfaces for a while now, and noodling around to find what kind of apps best take advantage of the new OS.
There were also some interesting announcements concerning Windows Phone 8 -- specifically, the release of the SDK and scuttling of the .NET Compact Framework in favor of CoreCLR. Called ".NET for Windows Phone 8," it's a streamlined version of the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5, tuned specifically for Windows Phone. It enables, among other things, async programming and compiling in the cloud.
Last year, BUILD discussed some of the ingredients. This year, BUILD set the table and laid out the food. The next step for Microsoft is to see how many people come to the Windows 8 feast.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.