The Microsoft Ignite 2020 conference brings with it a wealth of updates and releases from Microsoft. While Ignite is traditionally focused on IT Pro areas of technology, there are also a number of Developer-related updates and releases that have been announced by Microsoft.

Let’s take a look at the top news from Microsoft Ignite 2020 for developers!

FYI, you can find all the news below, plus more, in the Ignite Book of News from Microsoft. The below list is a summary of news items that are of particular interest to Developers.

Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!

Azure and Application Development news with Julia White and Frank Shaw

Source: Microsoft YouTube Channel

Azure Dev and Ecosystem

.NET 5 Release Candidate is now available

New enhancements to .NET 5 include smaller, faster single-file applications that use less memory, which are appropriate for microservices and containerized applications across operating systems.

The changes, which signify the latest step in unifying the .NET platform across workloads, also include significant performance improvements, support for Windows ARM64 and new releases of C# 9.0 and F# 5.0 languages. Developers can download the release candidate with a Go-Live license, enabling them to use it in production.

The .NET 5 Release Candidate is now feature-complete and will be generally available Nov. 10.

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GitHub Codespaces and new support for Visual Studio

Visual Studio 2019 support for GitHub Codespaces is now in beta. Developers using Visual Studio can now create and manage codespaces from within the Integrated Development Environment (IDE). This expands upon the existing support for Visual Studio Code and a browser-based editor. Developers can now be more productive while working remotely, can rapidly onboard to new projects, and can have increased power in their dev machines all through using the power of cloud-hosted development environments.

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Azure Spring Cloud now supports Steeltoe development framework

Azure Spring Cloud became generally available on Sept. 2. The service now supports Steeltoe, a .NET microservices development framework that enables developers to quickly deliver production-grade microservices using prebuilt libraries and extensions.

The support, which is in public preview, means that developers can build, deploy and configure Steeltoe applications through Azure Spring Cloud, a fully managed service on Azure jointly built and operated with VMware.

Developers can add Azure Spring Cloud dependencies into their Steeltoe projects. They can also deploy Steeltoe applications through the Azure portal or command line interface and see metrics, logging and distributed tracing.

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Logic Apps updated with new hosting options, improved performance and developer workflows

The Azure Logic Apps cloud service that helps developers and IT professionals schedule, automate and orchestrate tasks, business process and workflows has been updated with new capabilities such as enabling multiple workflows into a single Logic App that simplifies automated deployments and CI/CD pipelines, provides new runtime hosting flexibility and improves performance.

This update also enables developers to build workflows into modern apps through a new Visual Studio extension enabling local development and GitHub Actions, providing better integration with the developer toolchain.

These features are in public preview.

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Private Azure Marketplace in Public Preview

Organizations will soon be able to create a private marketplace of preapproved solutions for employees with a new service called Azure Private Marketplace. The service will help organizations make sure their offers comply with company policies and regulations — which helps employees deploy only solutions that follow company rules.

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Azure Communication Services, using same secure platform as Microsoft Teams

Azure Communication Services is a fully managed communication platform, now available in public preview. Azure Communication Services enables developers and organizations to securely build communications features and connected user experiences across applications running on virtually any device. Building new communication experiences across consumer or enterprise applications can be complex, often requiring considerable investment and specialized expertise. Azure Communication Services makes it easy to add voice and video calling, chat, and SMS text message capabilities to mobile apps, desktop applications and websites with just a few lines of code.

Azure Communication Services brings together communication technology, cloud scale, enterprise-grade security and development efficiency. It enables developers to create the rich customer engagement experiences needed, during a time when connection is so important.

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Azure Data

Azure Cache for Redis offers developer two new product tiers

Azure Cache for Redis now has two new product tiers in public preview: Enterprise and Enterprise Flash. These tiers, developed in partnership with Redis Labs, represent the first native integration between Redis labs technology and a major cloud platform, giving developers new data structures and deployment options to unlock new use cases, such as data analytics, and to make caches larger and more reliable than before.

The features include Redis modules such as RediSearch, RedisBloom and RedisTimeSeries. They add new data types and support for applications such as search, data analysis and IoT. The Enterprise Flash tier also enables Redis to run on high-speed flash storage, allowing for 10x larger cache sizes at a lower price per gigabyte. For both new tiers, the service-level agreement has increased from 99.9% to 99.99%. Microsoft and Redis Labs will continue to work together to add more functionality in the coming months.

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Azure Cosmos DB now offers Serverless option

Azure Cosmos DB now offers a serverless option for database operations. This new consumption-based model gives app developers a way to build and scale smaller apps and run tests without the commitment and cost of provisional throughput, making it ideal for small workloads with occasional traffic bursts and moderate performance requirements. ​The serverless option is in preview now.

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Update Enables C# .NET 5 Developers to Build Windows Runtime Components

A CsWinRT tool update will allow C# .NET5 developers to build Windows Runtime components.

The update, available in public preview in September, enables C# to create Windows Runtime components that can be easily used by other languages supporting Windows Runtime, such as C++, Rust, JavaScript and Python. In addition to the tool support, the update will include support for hosting those components in non-.NET environments.

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New MSIX Features Simplify App Development and Updates

New capabilities for MSIX will make it easier and quicker to share and update apps and integrate workflows for app development.

Many line-of-business apps rely on shared files or Windows registry settings for interprocess communication. MSIX now allows users to deploy apps to a shared container rather than in a single MSIX container. The new feature is expected to preview later in the year.

A new built-in update service for MSIX apps distributed from third-party websites will make it easy for developers to keep their apps up to date. Developers simply provide metadata about update settings in their MSIX packages, then Windows will periodically look for updates and connect to third-party sites to update the apps. The service is expected to preview early next year.

The MSIX team is also releasing an Azure DevOps extension that will automate and simplify building, packaging, signing and deployment of MSIX packages. Integrating build and deployment workflows for apps that need to be packaged as MSIX into Azure Pipelines can be time-consuming; the new extension, available later this year, streamlines that process and is simple and intuitive to use.

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Nuget Packages to enable cloud-friendly development of Windows apps

Responding to requests from developers, the Windows SDK team is releasing NuGet packages to enable building Windows apps in continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines in a more cloud-friendly way.

The Windows SDK will provide NuGet packages for C#, C++ and SDK build tools that developers can reference in their CI/CD pipelines, rather than doing a full Windows SDK install. The capability is currently in public preview and expected to become generally available later this year.

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Newest version of React Native for Windows enables easier debugging and more

The latest version of React Native for Windows, a cross-platform mobile application framework, is now available.

Version 0.63 offers new features including automatic linking of native modules, services to allow intermodule communication, better debugging through LogBox functionality and more.

With simple command line tools, developers can use React Native to create new Windows apps or upgrade existing ones to version 0.63.

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New Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) capabilities enhance performance and make install a breeze

New capabilities for Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) will enhance performance, provide better support for apps and make it easier than ever to start using the feature.

Support for WSL 2 distributed versions is now available for Windows 10 version 1903 or higher for x64-based systems. That means users of older versions of Windows will enjoy the same fast file performance speeds and full system call compatibility as on Windows 10 version 2004.

We are also introducing an initial preview of support for Linux graphical user interface (GUI) apps in the WSL on Insider builds. Available within a few weeks after Ignite 2020, the capability will allow developers to seamlessly incorporate Linux apps into their workflows.

And WSL can now be fully installed simply by running wsl –install — making it easier for new users to try WSL and for experienced users to add WSL support to any machine.

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New Windows Terminal features enhance productivity and make it easier to navigate

Windows Terminal Preview now has hyperlink support, allowing users to click on links inside their terminal and have them open in their default browser.

Along with hyperlinks, Windows Terminal Preview is adding a jump list so users can open the terminal in a specific profile from the start menu or task bar.

Additionally, a new command palette for Windows Terminal allows users to easily navigate and interact with their terminals by being able to see and access all commands in one place. The palette was previously available only in Windows Terminal Preview.

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Microsoft Edge coming to Linux

Microsoft Edge on Linux, requested by IT pros and developers to help with testing websites, is expected to be available in public preview in October.

For IT pros, Microsoft Edge is providing more secure remote work capabilities with two new experiences. One is the use of mobile application management (MAM), where IT administrators can selectively manage individual work-related apps on a user’s device, instead of needing to manage a user’s whole device. Based on identity, IT admins can just manage the browsing a user does from their work profile in Microsoft Edge.

In addition, Microsoft Edge is the first browser to natively support policies for Microsoft Endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP), a suite of features used to discover and protect sensitive items across Microsoft 365 services. DLP enables customers to manage and control their data when accessed from Microsoft Edge, which helps prevent accidental disclosure or leaks while on the web.

Coming soon, IT admins will be able to roll back Microsoft Edge to a previous version, in case deploying a new version inadvertently breaks something within their environment.

For developers, WebView2 will be generally available for C/C++ and .NET by the end of 2020. Once available, any Windows app will be able to embed web content with the power of Microsoft Edge and Chromium. WebView2 provides full web functionality across the spectrum of Windows apps, and it’s decoupled from the OS, so you’re no longer locked to a particular version of Windows.

Also, the new Microsoft Edge DevTools extension for Visual Studio Code is now generally available, enabling seamless workflow for developers as they switch contexts.

Since starting on the journey with the new Microsoft Edge, Microsoft has collaborated with developers from the Chromium community across the web stack. To date, Microsoft engineers have contributed over 3,700 individual commits to the Chromium project, covering a range of focus areas from core accessibility features to developer tools and browser fundamentals.

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Azure IoT

AT&T brings first Azure Sphere Cellular Guardian device to market

With the launch of the first Azure Sphere cellular guardian device, AT&T is enabling customers to expand connectivity and security without relying on Wi-Fi access.

This new product can connect a company’s various existing devices and machines directly to the customer’s cloud via a cellular network. This allows the customer to manage and monitor thousands of devices, aggregate data and identify potential problems.

By using the AT&T cellular network, enterprise customers can connect devices in more than 200 countries across 500 carriers where AT&T offers managed services to support day-to-day operations. AT&T offers end-to-end professional services, and the secure cellular network extends the secure architecture of Azure Sphere.

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Mixed Reality

HoloLens 2

HoloLens 2 is now available for purchase in Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Since HoloLens 2 launched in November 2019, it has experienced strong adoption in existing markets, and it was announced at Build 2020 that HoloLens 2 would be available in expanded markets in the fall.

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Azure Kinect DK

Azure Kinect DK, launched in July 2019, has met with excitement and enthusiasm, signaling a clear need to enable enterprises to leverage Microsoft’s Time-of-Flight, 3D depth technology. The Azure Kinect was released as a developer kit for customers to test and build proof of concepts, and today, we are excited to announce our collaboration with two companies — Analog Devices and SICK AG — that will build devices enabled with Microsoft’s 3D Time of Flight depth technology.

Microsoft’s goal is to build a thriving ecosystem of independent hardware vendors, independent software vendors and system integrators to build devices, software, Azure cloud services and solutions on top of Microsoft’s state-of-the-art 3D Time of Flight depth technology, Microsoft Intelligent Edge and Microsoft Intelligent Cloud platforms, to solve customer problems that require depth understanding.

Analog Devices, a leading global high-performance analog technology company dedicated to solving the toughest engineering challenges, will incorporate Microsoft’s Time of Flight technology in the design, manufacture and sale of depth sensor silicon alongside a commercial depth camera module aimed at consumer electronics, automotive cabins and industrial logistic use-cases. Analog Devices is aiming to bring its first 3D Time of Flight imaging systems using Microsoft technology by the end of 2020.

SICK AG, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of intelligent sensors and sensor solutions for industrial applications, will incorporate Microsoft’s Time of Flight technology to bring state-of-the-art technologies to SICK’s 3D Time of Flight Visionary-T camera product line, and make it even smarter. SICK AG’s first camera incorporating Microsoft Time of Flight depth technology is already available for select customers now, followed by the official launch of the Visionary-T Mini in early 2021.

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Azure Object Anchors

Microsoft is expanding the portfolio of Azure Mixed Reality services to now include Azure Object Anchors, which is available in private preview.

Azure Object Anchors enables developers to automatically detect, align and track objects in the real world. Object Anchors can track single objects or instances of them, without the need for manual setup or alignment. Before this service, developers would need to either place anchors manually or use QR codes for detection of way points.

Developers building mixed-reality apps for the manufacturing, retail, health and gaming industries can use Azure Object Anchors to simplify training development, guide employees step-by-step in learning tasks, and use existing 3D models of objects in your physical space to leverage Object Anchors to locate and track instances of that object in a given environment, from counting to tracking to picking and packing.

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Microsoft MVP

Chris Pietschmann is a Microsoft MVP, HashiCorp Ambassador, and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) with 20+ years of experience designing and building Cloud & Enterprise systems. He has worked with companies of all sizes from startups to large enterprises. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.
HashiCorp Ambassador Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect