What I want from Build 2014

31 March 2014

It's that time of year again, when the Microsoft developer community get excited about the Build conference!

Here's my list of the top-5 things I expect, or would like to see announced, at the keynote on Wednesday, 2nd April:

  1. Progress towards a unified Windows/Windows Phone dev model

    We know the eventual goal is to have a unified coding model for both Windows Store and Windows Phone apps. Currently, a certain amount of code can be shared through the use of portable class libraries. Also, the flavours of XAML are fairly similar. It'll be interesting to see just how far Microsoft have got in unifying the two coding models. Looking at the list of Build sessions published today, it's clear that we'll have a new "common XAML UI framework"

  2. Availability of Windows Phone 8.1 via Developer Preview

    It seems certain that Windows Phone 8.1 will be announced and demoed. Hopefully, developers will get access at some point fairly soon via the developer preview program

  3. Immediate availability of Windows 8.1 Update 1 via MSDN

    Again, the announcement/demoing of Windows 8.1 Update 1 seems certain. The expectation is that developers with MSDN subscriptions will get immediate (April 2nd) access to the RTM bits, with the general public having access via Windows Update later in the month

  4. Touch-first version of Office 365

    With the recent announcement of touch-based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iPad, I'm really hoping that we'll get some definite news about Windows Store versions of those apps

  5. Microsoft acquisition of Xamarin

    Microsoft certainly seem to be making strides towards making their software available on all sorts of devices. So, it would make sense if they were to announce the purchase of cross-platform app development company Xamarin. Hopefully, that would pave the way for us BizSpark start-ups getting access to Xamarin through our MSDN subscriptions (currently, it's only available for paid MSDN subs)

I'll be watching a live stream of the keynote at Microsoft's Cardinal Place offices - looking forward to it!