The biggest announcements of Microsoft Build 2020


Microsoft’s annual developer conference has officially started, the first annual consumer technology developer conference we have seen online. The others are Google I / O and Apple’s WWDC. All three have obviously changed during the pandemic and watching what each company has chosen (or will choose) to do has been instructive.

Google directly canceled the I / O – maybe playing it safer, like in the COVID timeline in the bay area, Google had to make a call when things looked particularly dire. There will be at least some sort of online reveal for Android. Apple is always “activated” as an online event only, and although you may never know with Apple, I suspect it will try to make a splash with new versions of iOS, iPadOS, and it might even remember to do something with macOS.

Faced with the same circumstances, Microsoft chose to do something remarkable with its developer conference: it set up a developer keynote.

Normally, these keynotes try to find a balance between seducing consumers with new products and developers with new tools that will make their lives easier. Microsoft, which usually hosts the most technical conference, has just launched with developer-focused content.

The presentation of the company has also evolved from house to house, treating its demonstrations more like a live meeting to which you were invited to work than as a program for which you were only a member of the public.

It was less like a speech and more like “Hangin” with the Microphone …team! “Are Microsoft presenters really called that? Of course not. Would I believe you if you told me based on the quality and quantity of the daddy humor adorably displayed on the Build video stream? Hell yes, and of course i loved.

But Microsoft made hard-hitting news yesterday. I’m excited about some new things in the Microsoft Edge browser, especially the new 3D view in the Web Inspector. As for Pinterest integration, well, I like Pinterest, but I have doubts about the sidebar. Many have tried to make functional and persistent browser sidebars one thing.

As a former office worker responsible for managing all kinds of random company information in an organized manner, I am very pleased to see this new Microsoft Lists application designed for teams, SharePoint and Outlook. It seems like it could be useful for all kinds of tasks that lie between a spreadsheet and a complete database software.

The main thing that struck me yesterday is that Microsoft has really started to understand how to differentiate its strategy to build its platforms of its construction strategy some products. Platforms are things like Windows, Azure and more and more Office or the Edge browser. Products are things like the Surface line, Xboxes and Office apps.

Mixing your strategy to create platforms and products takes you down Steve Ballmer’s old path of simply making Windows the bottom line when Windows really is just a path itself.

It looks like a koan. Let me try again: unless you’re a total freak (and I’m almost there, so no judgment), you don’t get Windows for the Windows. You get it for the things it allows you to do. It’s a platform. And this year, during construction, Microsoft made it clear that it was about creating platforms.

Microsoft to Unify Windows and UWP Desktop Applications with New Project Reunion. Again he tries to drive developers out of the thicket of the Windows application framework with Project Reunion, which at a high level sums up all Win32 vs modern vs web issues for developers. We’ll see how it goes, but you have to salute the effort.

Microsoft’s new PowerToys Run launcher for Windows 10 is now available for download. It creates new smart and useful tools for Windows in PowerToys. Seriously, the utilities here are things that I do on my machines all the time via third-party tools.

Microsoft brings Linux GUI apps to Windows 10. This makes Linux even better on Windows by allowing you to run Linux GUI applications without the need for annoying workarounds. The society that once crossed paths with open source has fully embraced it.

Microsoft’s new Fluid Office document is Google Docs on steroids. It’s easily the biggest news on the show and Tom has an exclusive look at what it is and what it means.

What it is: An attempt to modularize everything you could put in an Office document and make it available anywhere, in any application. It is based on Web technology and synchronizes in real time. And Microsoft is doing it open source in the hope that other companies will adopt its little excerpts from spreadsheets, lists and documents, etc.

What it means: Tom has thoughts, read them. All I will add here is that Microsoft is trying to do something that many (including, ahem Bill Gates) have already tried in one way or another. When you’re halfway through Tom’s functionality, take a break from absolutely watching incredibly awesome and dated Apple video of its OpenDoc standard, released on CD-ROM in 1995.

Not exactly the same thing, but not entirely different. One way to see Fluid is that Microsoft is trying to kill the file – or at least decouple it from applications. Instead of having a Word file or an Excel file, there is only the text or the spreadsheet, accessible in the application of your choice.

It’s a very nice dream, but it’s also a dream in its logic, at least compared to the way we are used to thinking about files, text and spreadsheets. If you want to take a look around, take a look at the Buzzy Notion app, which has just made its note-taking function free. It’s like a little miniature version of the big vision that Microsoft is touting with Fluid. And until you let your mind drift sideways in the way it organizes things, it seems very strange and annoying to use.

I’m raising all of this to say that I think Fluid will certainly fail, but it’s difficult. And also that it’s abstract in the right way: that’s what platforms are, the calculation of abstractions. The desktop, home screen, application icons, task bars, and windows themselves are just a set of metaphors that you use to think about how you do things on your computer. , metaphors made real and useful through code and design. At the basic level, that’s also what Fluid is.

Reviews and first looks Verge

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