Today’s keynote by Joe Belfiore was focused on Multi-sense + Multi-device for Microsoft 365, which is Windows, Office and EMS
- Fluent Design System updates.
- UWP XAML Islands, which lets you incorporate UWP into WinForms, WPF and Win32 applications. This also means you can start to bring in the Fluent Design System into these UI frameworks.
- Windows UI Library, which brings native platform controls as NuGet packages instead of being tied to the OS version. This will work from the Windows Anniversary Update and newer.
- .NET Core 3.0, which will support side-by-side runtimes, along with support for WinForms, WPF and UWP.
- MSIX, which is dubbed the best technology for installing applications on Windows. This inherits the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) features, works across Enterprise or Store distributions, and supports all Windows applications.
- Windows SDK Insider Preview – https://aka.ms/winsdk
- New developer revenue sharing model. Developers will get 85% when their app is found in the Microsoft store, and 95% when you provide your customers to your app in the Microsoft store.
- Microsoft Launcher on Android will support Timeline for cross-device application launching. On iOS this will be supported through Microsoft Edge.
- A new “Your Phone” experience coming soon to Windows 10 that enables you to see your connected phone text messages, photos and notifications and then interact with them without having to use your phone. Really neat experience – now if only they support Windows Mobile 10
- Microsoft Sets was officially shown and demonstrated how it can be used for an easier way to organize your work and allow you to get back to work where you left off when ready. This means not having to have 25+ tabs open in Chrome or Edge. Nice!
- Adaptive Cards is being added to Microsoft 365, which will enable developers to create rich interactive content within conversations. They demonstrated a GitHub Adaptive Card for Outlook (365) where you could comment and close an issue. Another example shown was paying for your invoice from an email.
- There was a lot of buzz for Microsoft Graph, which is core to the Microsoft 365 platform. Microsoft Graph helps developers connect the dots between people, schedules, conversations, and content within the Microsoft cloud.
- Cortana and Alexa start speaking to one another. Sometime in the future you will be able to access your Alexa device through Windows 10 and likewise on an Amazon Echo you will ne able to speak to Cortana.
Modernizing applications for our multi-sense, multi-device world
Microsoft 365 empowers developers to build intelligent apps for where and how the world works
This is my first attendance at the annual Microsoft Build conference taking place in Seattle, WA. I have to tell you that so far I’m not disappointed. Here are some of the highlights from today’s events:
- Azure is becoming the world’s computer: Azure | Azure Stack | Azure IoT Edge | Azure Sphere.
- Azure IoT Edge runtime which runs on Windows or Linux is now being open sourced.
- Microsoft showed off Cortana and Alexa integration which was pretty cool.
- New Azure AI infrastructure announced: Project Brainwave which is a real-time AI on cloud and edge devices.
- Announced Project Kinect for Azure, an Azure AI-enabled edge device.
- Visual Studio Live Share is now generally available. This provides real-time collaborative development, shared debugging, independent views and works across Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code (Windows, Mac and Linux).
- Azure Event Grid is getting new improvements like dead lettering (DLQ) and custom retry policies. Event Grid is also adding new event publishers for Azure Media Services and Azure Container Registry, and new event handlers for Storage Queue and Relay Hybrid Connections. Finally Azure Event Grid is providing an alternative form of endpoint validation. Event Grid provides reliable event delivery at massive scale (millions of events per second), and it eliminates long polling and hammer polling, and the associated costs of latency.
- Azure Cosmos had some interesting updates like the new multi-master write support. It also provides API support for MongoDB, SQL, Table Storage, Gremlin Graph, Spark, and Casandra.
- Azure Search now integrates Azure Cognitive Services to provide built-in enrichment of content using AI models, and it enables immersive search experiences over any data.
- The Fluent Design System which Microsoft first debuted at Build 2017, is expanding beyond Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and will be available for Windows Forms, WPF and native Win32 applications.
- Windows Timeline is coming to iOS and Android.
- Azure Functions updates: Durable Functions reaches general availability, and Azure Functions now leverages the App Service Diagnostics.
- .NET Core 3.0 and .NET Framework 4.8 announced were announced, and .NET Core 3.0 is coming to desktop development (awesome!)
- Visual Studio 2017 version 15.7 and the next update version 15.8 preview 1 were released.
- Visual Studio App Center integration with GitHub.
- Visual Studio IntelliCode announced, which brings you the next generation of developer productivity by providing AI-assisted development.
This already feels like a lot but really it’s just scratching the surface. I’m looking forward to what is announced today in the keynote followed by more technical workshops and sessions.
Azure Functions now have 2 different runtimes, version 1 which is what is currently in production and the only runtime supported for production use, and version 2 which is currently in preview. I’ll cover the difference in both runtimes and when to use which version.
Overview or Version 1
What’s New in Version 2
Version 2 runtime has been rebuilt from the ground up on .NET Core 2.0 and support cross platform (Windows and Linux) for deployment and for development you can use Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Azure Functions is a great serverless offering and provides lots of functionality for almost any application. If you need to run code in production than version 1 is your only choice, but if you want to try out Azure Functions then definitely take a look at both runtimes. With Microsoft annual developer conference Build next month, I bet we will hear more information about version 2 runtime and a timeline for release.
Azure Functions runtime versions overview
Install Azure Functions Core Tools
Azure Functions Roadmap
Durable Functions is a new extension of Azure Functions which manages state, checkpoints and restarts for you. Durable Functions provide the capability to code stateful functions in a serverless environment. This new extension enables a new type of function called an orchestrator. The primary use case for Durable Functions is to simplify complex, stateful coordination problems in serverless applications. Some advantages of an orchestrator function are:
- Workflows are defined in code. This means no JSON schemas or designers are needed.
- Other functions can be called synchronously or asynchronously. Output from functions can be saved to local variables.
- Automatic checkpoint the progress of the function whenever it awaits. This means local state is never lost if the process recycles or the VM reboots.
The following are 5 sample patterns where Durable Functions can help.
Pattern #1: Function Chaining
Function chaining is the execution of functions in sequence where the output of one function is the input to another function. With this pattern you typically use queues to pass state from function to function.
Pattern #2: Fan-out/Fan-in
Fan-out/Fan-in refers to the execution of multiple functions in parallel and then waiting for all of them to finish. This pattern also uses queues to manage state from start to end. Fanning back in is much more complicated as you would have to track the outputs of all the functions waiting for them to finish.
Pattern #3: Async HTTP APIs
Async HTTP APIs pattern is all about the problem of coordinating the state of long running operations with external APIs. With this pattern you often use another status endpoint for the client to check on the status of the long running operation.
Pattern #4: Monitoring
The Monitoring pattern is a recurring process in a workflow where the function polls for a certain condition to be met. A simple timer trigger could address this but its interval is static and management of it is more complex.
Pattern #5: Human Interaction
Finally we have the Human Interaction pattern. This pattern is where a function executes but its process is gated based on some sort of human interaction. People are not always available or respond in a timely manner which introduces complexity to your function process.
In all five use cases, Durable Functions provides built-in support for easily handling these scenarios without the need extra resources likes queues, timers, etc for managing state and controlling the function flow. For more information on each of these patterns and code samples please see the Durable Functions documentation.
Durable Functions is currently in preview and is an advanced extension for Azure Functions that is not appropriate for all scenarios. Next month is the annual Microsoft developer conference Build. I suspect we’ll see some new exciting details with Azure Functions and Durable Functions specifically. Hopefully they become generally available.
Overview of Azure Functions
Durable Functions Documentation
Today Microsoft has announced that they will be offering a free $100 annual credit + 25+ free products to eligible students to help encourage them to build cloud apps for Azure and you pay nothing.
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Everybody loves Azure Functions. My team recently deployed a production service using Azure Functions as the back end backbone. I’d like to share some lessons and tips we learned along the way. We’re using Azure functions in consumption plan – which basically means the platform scales in and out as required without our intervention. But […]
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We looked at Azure Functions. We also looked at security around Azure Function used to implement APIs. Something people will quickly notice when implementing an Webhook / API function is that its URL or route is always prepended by /api. For instance, if we create a webhook function in C# and we setup the route […]
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