As with any second day keynote, day two of Build had less fan fare and new announcements than yesterday. Today it was all about doubling down on the message and showing a little more.
The one message that I think went horribly wrong was the opening video. It was all about how Microsoft in the past hasn’t been open and companies didn’t think they could trust them, but now a new leaf has been turned over and they are who companies want to work with. While there has been some of that viewpoint in the past I don’t think it was a majority viewpoint. I even had a manager tell me one time “You will never get fired for going with Microsoft”. I think they should have highlighted their increasingly open stance and let this minority view fade. They really need to get some marketing people who know what marketing is.
Steve Guggenheimer and John Schewchuk ran the show for day 2. They very quickly and with what didn’t seem to be much rhym or reason went through videos from QuestLove and PropellerHead followed immediately by AutoDesk and Acumatica representing commercial applications.
David Treadwell came out and things got to what you expect from a keynote: information. The main message being presented is that Windows 10 is one united front. What they described was akin to magic where developers can write one piece of code and the platform will optimize a variety of features such as menus for the device and mode that you are using it. If this materializes well in the final product then life will be getting easier for developers. As proof that they have put some serious work into this release he informed us that over 2500 new features have been added to the development platform.
For a while after that David and Kevin Gallo played tag team presentation. As a developer I was encouraged by how familiar I was with the concepts of the canvas and map controls that Kevin demonstrated and amused when he tried to wipe away a line he drew on the Surface Hub with his hand like it was a normal whiteboard. The interesting aspect of the map control he show was that it seemed it had data binding capabilities. This could make for interesting possibilities.
My funny bone was tickled further when during Kevin’s demonstration of making a slideshow for an app I noticed that the image he was using was of a bathroom with the toilet next to a floor-to-ceiling window. Remind me to look closely at my own images when doing a presentation.
The cool factor rose when they showed the architecture app being run on both Xbox and Hololens with the appropriate user interaction paradigm on each device. Mark this as another win for developers.
We got to see more of the new Edge browser which it was confirmed runs on the EdgeHTML engine. A point was made that this browser is all about user experience. They have made over 4200 interoperability improvement and it performs better than any other 64bit browser.
Where as yesterday they announce the bridges to universal apps, today they showed them. From adding the ability for a Win32 app to make toast notification to the converted LoseIt Android app to converting iOS projects into Visual Studio Universal App project, we made our lap around demonstrations of these abilities.
The most charismatic speaker of the day was Joseph Sirosh. With comments like “AI meets AI (artificial insemination)” he kept the crowd laughing and still managed to educate us about Azure Learning. Of course that comment was in regards to the fact that farms are now using Azure learning and pedometers on cows to tell when they are in heat so that they can get better pregnancy rates.
His other demonstrations did not disappoint either as he showed us different ways that the BizTalk-like-orchestration in machine learning could predict March Madness outcomes or leverage APIs from gallery.azure.net to detect faces and determine how old they were on how-old.net.
Steve and John came back out and showed us an amazing DirectX 12 demonstration where the rendering was so life like that you thought you were watching a film. It was only after the keynote that I found out the amount of computing horsepower they had on stage to make it work.
The last demonstration was for the capability of creating Minecraft Java mods in Visual Studio. It’s lost it’s lustre as we were insulted by the presenter and teenage developer on stage who evidently didn’t realized that everyone in the audience was a developer and knew what intellisense is and how to code.
For myself I think the day 2 keynote was a bust. I think Microsoft did itself a disservice with poor marketing videos, weak content and poor speakers. There were moments that impressed and some presenters that improved our understanding of this new Windows world, but they need to do better next year.