Category: Build 2019

May 6, 2019 Off

Microsoft wants to reinvent documents and collaboration with its new Fluid Framework

By Jill T Frey

At its Build developer conference, Microsoft today announced the Fluid Framework, a new software development kit that is meant to help developers build faster and more flexible distributed applications that will change the way people think about document and collaborative editing. Microsoft itself plans to integrate Fluid into some of its Office 365 applications later this year.

At its core, Fluid is a framework for building collaborative editing experiences, but because it can be integrated across applications, that also means that users will be able to, say, edit a document in an application like Word and then share a table from that document in Microsoft Teams (or even a third-party application like Slack, if Slack decided to integrate this technology). All of the changes sync in real time, of course.

In one of Microsoft’s demos, the company shows how a preview version of Word can’t just handle multiple simultaneous edits, … Read the rest

May 2, 2019 Off

Microsoft brings Plug and Play to IoT

By Jill T Frey

Microsoft today announced that it wants to bring the ease of use of Plug and Play, which today allows you to plug virtually any peripheral into a Windows PC without having to worry about drivers, to IoT devices. Typically, getting an IoT device connected and up and running takes some work, even with modern deployment tools. The promise of IoT Plug and Play is that it will greatly simplify this process and do away with the hardware and software configuration steps that are still needed today.

As Azure corporate vice president Julia White writes in today’s announcement, “one of the biggest challenges in building IoT solutions is to connect millions of IoT devices to the cloud due to heterogeneous nature of devices today – such as different form factors, processing capabilities, operational system, memory and capabilities.” This, Microsoft argues, is holding back IoT adoption.

IoT Plug and Play, on the … Read the rest

May 2, 2019 Off

Microsoft launches a fully managed blockchain service

By Jill T Frey

Microsoft didn’t rush to bring blockchain technology to its Azure cloud computing platform, but over the course of the last year, it started to pick up the pace with the launch of its blockchain development kit and the Azure Blockchain Workbench. Today, ahead of its Build developer conference, it is going a step further by launching Azure Blockchain Services, a fully managed service that allows for the formation, management and governance of consortium blockchain networks.

We’re not talking cryptocurrencies here, though. This is an enterprise service that is meant to help businesses build applications on top of blockchain technology. It is integrated with Azure Active Directory and offers tools for adding new members, setting permissions and monitoring network health and activity.

The first support ledger is J.P. Morgan’s Quorum. “Because it’s built on the popular Ethereum protocol, which has the world’s largest blockchain developer community, Quorum is a … Read the rest

May 2, 2019 Off

Microsoft launches a drag-and-drop machine learning tool

By Jill T Frey

Microsoft today announced three new services that all aim to simplify the process of machine learning. These range from a new interface for a tool that completely automates the process of creating models, to a new no-code visual interface for building, training and deploying models, all the way to hosted Jupyter-style notebooks for advanced users.

Getting started with machine learning is hard. Even to run the most basic of experiments takes a good amount of expertise. All of these new tools greatly simplify this process by hiding away the code or giving those who want to write their own code a pre-configured platform for doing so.

The new interface for Azure’s automated machine learning tool makes creating a model as easy as importing a data set and then telling the service which value to predict. Users don’t need to write a single line of code, while in the backend, this … Read the rest