Connect(); // 2016 Recap

If you had any doubts about Microsoft’s commitment to non-Windows platforms and open source, then the announcements at Connect(); // 2016 should be enough to change your mind.

Any developer. Any app. Any platform.

Right out of the gate, the opening demo by Chris Dias showcased the cross-platform editor Visual Studio Code running on a Mac. Using its built-in Git support, he cloned a repository that implements a Node.js app using MongoDB storage. From the integrated terminal in Visual Studio Code, he launched a Unix shell and installed npm packages. Adding support for Docker containers was a snap, thanks to the editor’s extensibility model. Finally, he deployed the app to the cloud, replacing the local database with a DocumentDB instance and demonstrating the newly announced support for Docker containers in Azure App Service.

Mobile first + Cloud first

Since their acquisition of Xamarin earlier this year, Microsoft has made mobile app development a top priority. The latest Visual Studio 2017 Release Candidate now includes a remote iOS simulator for Windows, a Xamarin Forms previewer that lets you see the effects of your XAML changes at design time, and a Xamarin Inspector for exploring and changing application state at run time. New to the Visual Studio product line is a preview version of Visual Studio for Mac, which will be included with Visual Studio subscriptions (a free community edition is also planned). Visual Studio for Mac includes templates for native iOS and Android apps, as well as ASP.NET Core projects for the back end. Like Xamarin Studio, it supports both C# and F# as development languages. Xamarin Test Cloud has evolved into Visual Studio Mobile Center (available as a preview). Described as “mission control for mobile apps,” Visual Studio Mobile Center combines continuous integration (CI), testing, deployment, and analytics, all accessible from a single, integrated console.

Microsoft ♥ Linux

Yes, that was an actual slide during Scott Guthrie’s presentation. Hard to argue, given that Microsoft just joined the Linux Foundation as a platinum member, and announced the availability of a preview version of SQL Server for Linux!

Don’t forget .NET

Despite all of the announcements about mobile, the cloud, and non-Windows platforms, .NET remains the key development platform at Microsoft. The recently released .NET Core 1.1 added 1300 new APIs as well as integration with Azure. The .NET platform is also gaining traction outside of Microsoft. More than 60% of the contributions to .NET Core come from the open source community. Samsung just added support for .NET Core to its Tizen operating system. Even Google showed its support by joining the Technical Steering Group of the .NET Foundation. To view videos of the keynotes and technical sessions, visit Channel 9.


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