Build 2015 Keynote Day 1 Summary

Recordings of the event will be available at

//buildMicrosoft’s Build 2015 conference opening keynote was a testament to Microsoft’s openness.  We demonstrated and announced a new free cross-platform Visual Studio edition, great integration with Docker, and methods for developers to bring code for the Web, .NET/Win32, Android, and iOS to Windows 10.  We also announced new features in Windows 10 and new Azure data services. 

First, Satya Nadella took the stage.  He spoke about how the Build conference is about celebrating the amazing things developers build on top of our platforms.  For example, students in Australia who won the Imagine Cup last year built an app to detect anemia in children by taking a selfie.  There was also a great StaffPad app demo (download) which uses handwriting recognition to allow users to compose music. 

The keynote covered 3 main things: Azure and the intelligent cloud, Office as a productivity platform, and creating a more personal experience with Windows. 


Scott Guthrie kicked off the intelligent cloud conversation.  He shared a bunch of interesting information, including these fun facts:

  • Azure has datacenters in more locations than Google and AWS combined. 
  • More than 40% of Azure revenue comes from startups. 

Azure momentum

Ben Golub, CEO of Docker, came on stage to explain 5 surprises he encountered when working with Microsoft to integrate Docker support:

  1. Working with Windows not just Linux
  2. Not just code, but collaboration
  3. <missed this>
  4. Can mix Windows and Linux containers
  5. Everything was done quickly!

Mark Russinovich demonstrated Azure’s docker support, debugging a .NET app on Linux in a docker container from Visual Studio.  Wow. 

Then Scott Hanselman demoed the workflow of a custom 3D print shop from website to app to Azure.  It was very similar to the demo he gave during the Azure event in March, using web apps, mobile apps, logic apps, and API apps in Azure App Service.  Scott showed the Visual Studio Android emulator, which got a lot of positive feedback from Twitter. 

We also announced Visual Studio Code, a cross-platform code editor for building/debugging modern web and cloud apps, which runs natively on Windows, Linux, and Mac.  It supports many languages out of the box, and offers IntelliSense.  It has git integration and the ability to push to the cloud.  It is free and available to download from

Visual Studio Family

Azure Service Fabric is a high-control distributed computing framework.  A developer preview will be released this week, allowing any developer to evaluate the tech on a single PC. 

Then, there was a slew of amazing data platform announcements.  We announced SQL Data Warehouse as well as new SQL DB capabilities, including transparent data encryption, elastic pools, distributed queries, and several enterprise-grade enhancements.  A single connection string and query can hit a group of SQL databases.  There is a video of the elastic database tools demo at

The SQL Data Warehouse video showcases data visualization, impressive scale, machine learning (at petabyte-scale), and reporting to build intelligent apps. 

Scott showed a comparison slide between SQL Data Warehouse and AWS Redshift. 

SQL Data Warehouse  vs. AWS Redshift

We also announced the Azure Data Lake service to store and manage infinite data in its original form, high throughput/low latency analysis, and enterprise-grade security and access control.  Azure Data Lake offers advanced analytical capability and scale in the cloud.  There is a video on Data Lake at

Azure Analytic Services

To end the Azure session, there was a nice talk by JustGiving explaining how they use Azure to help people give to charity the way that is best for them, using HDInsight.  It understands how you want to give (time, money, etc.), what you care about (which can change over time), and how you want to be engaged.  They shared an architecture diagram. 



There were three core concepts for transforming Office to a platform: user experience, data, and intelligence.  Continuing on the theme of openness, they showed an Office SAP integration demo running on a Mac.  Sway is an Office tool for storytelling that is worth looking at if you haven’t already.  Rob Lefferts demoed the Office Graph API.  A unified API endpoint makes it easy to get to data in a unified consistent way (so, for example, the Uber app on iPhone is able to get location from Outlook).  Delve displayed a visualization of what Office documents your teammates are modifying.  They discussed opportunities for partners to integrate, with Salesforce, Dynamics, and Twitter extensions shown. 


Terry Myerson took the stage. 

First, some Windows Store announcements.  There will be one unified Store for Windows, which spans the entire install base and growing devices for Windows.  It includes 8x increase in purchases through carrier billing, subscriptions, affiliate referrals, and an updated ad SDK with video ads and install tracking.  There was a great announcement about Windows Store for Business: support for consumer apps and private LOB apps, recommendations for your employees/students, and business payment methods (like purchase orders). 

Secondly, Windows 10 enables a single codebase for Universal Windows Apps.  The same binary will run on Windows, Windows Phone, and elsewhere.  This Universal Windows app model is already being used by USA Today and WeChat in their apps. 

Universal Windows Apps

Next, there are four easy ways to create a Universal Windows App that can be published in the Windows Store, by starting with these types of existing code:

1. Web sites.  You can reuse your current hosted website and give it a live tile, integrate with XBOX Live, use in-app purchases, add Cortana support, etc. 

2. Win32 and .NET.  NET and Win32 apps will have support to be brought into the Windows Store and take advantage of modern capabilities.  Terry demoed the example of Adobe Photoshop Elements (will be released later this year) in the Windows Store. 

3. Java and C++ from Android apps.  Windows phones will include an Android subsystem to run Java and C++ code from Android apps.  You can reuse this code to create apps in the Windows Store. 

4. Objective-C.  You will be able to leverage Objective C code on Windows to build Windows Store apps using a toolkit to convert to VS sln.  This is how Candy Crush Saga was brought to Windows Phone, and more apps are coming!

This makes it easy for existing web, Win32/.NET, Android, and Objective-C code to ship as Windows apps. 

Next, Joe Belfiore took the stage to show off the latest Windows 10 UI.  He discussed a neat feature called Windows Spotlight on the lock screen.  If you like certain pictures, it can find others you might like.  It can also suggest Windows features that might be relevant to you (like Cortana if you’ve never used it).  Windows Spotlight is tailored for you and will make features more discoverable.  You can turn it off if you don’t want to use it. 

Joe asks Cortana to start a conversation with Terry on Viber in natural language, with no problem.  "Hey Cortana, tell Terry Myerson I'm running late on Viber." Cortana was able to process and send the message using the Viber app.

Announcement: Project Spartan will be called Microsoft Edge.  It is the browser built for Windows 10.  It refers to being on the edge of consuming/creation.  (And the "e" logo for Internet Explorer could be reused for Edge!)

Announcement: Continuum for phones means that almost any screen can deliver a PC experience.  Remember that Windows 10’s continuum feature adapts between tablet and PC modes when docking/undocking.  With continuum for phone, connecting a phone enables a screen to become like a PC.  Joe showed a great experience running Office apps from his phone as they would from a PC.  So, your phone is a PC that you can use with your TV, or in a hotel, or in the board room. 


Finally, Alex Kipman closed the event showing HoloLens progress. 

Darren is experiencing Windows Universal apps as holograms. He is pinning apps like Skype to the wall. He also has a virtual dog named Fang.  Entertainment (namely, playing a movie) can follow Darren around the room as he moves. He can also scale it bigger (big cheers from the audience as he gestured to make the movie “big screen” on the wall).

Darren demoing HoloLens

A video shows how Trimble architects no longer have to show architectural designs as 2D drawings; they can demonstrate 3D models using HoloLens. 

Case Western professor Mark Griswold showed a medical example.  Students can learn anatomy through 3D models, which can separate different systems (such as the muscular systems, skeletal systems, etc. in the body). 

Michele demoing HoloLens for medical scenario

Finally, Miko demonstrated a robot named B15: fun for makers with a Raspberry Pi core, various sensors, and HoloLens working together.  She popped up a hologram with some configuration settings to change on the robot (like changing the color of his LED displays).  She also used the HoloLens to scan the room and map a path for the robot. 

Miko demoing HoloLens with B15 robot 


  • Azure/Office summary by Scott Guthrie: New services for intelligent apps + tools and runtimes for any platform & every device
  • Windows summary by Terry Myerson: Welcoming Developers to Windows 10
  • Build 2015 news:
  • Press release: Microsoft empowers Windows, iOS, Android, Mac and Linux developers to reach billions of new customers
  • Comments (1)
    1. Erik VanLandingham says:

      Thank you for the excellent summary, Jennifer!  I would rather be at Moscone Center, but your post is the next best thing. Great work as always!

    Comments are closed.

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