Last week's Build 2014 developer conference in San Francisco had a very different feeling from previous years. For the first time in a long time, it seems like Microsoft is finally taking its developer community's thoughts and feelings to heart. And let me tell you, this is a great thing.
On the development front, Microsoft hasn't been the best communicator to its developer community. We've seen Microsoft make the same mistakes to this group time and time again. Consider Silverlight and WPF, as examples. Both were technologies that had Microsoft seemingly abandoned, and developers were left to wait and wonder about their investment in the technology. Microsoft didn't provide any confirmation on whether it would continue to work on these technologies, and ultimately, developers were left without any type of official messaging.
And at past Build conferences, Microsoft has taken the approach to push different technologies onto developers—ahem, HTML5.
Yet at this year's conference, there was no mention of the HTML5 Kool-Aid, which I found refreshing.
Instead, Microsoft provided us with a glimpse at the company roadmap for the present and future. Although there's some details that need to be nailed out for certain news items, Microsoft made an honest effort in explaining why the company is taking the "mobile first, cloud first" route. Additionally, Microsoft showed its intent to earn back developer's trust by explaining why they should continue to invest in Microsoft platform development technologies, along with providing news about upcoming solutions so developers can use their existing skill sets for developing for modern app experiences.
And if you haven't caught up on all the news that emerged from Build, I encourage you to take a look at, "Microsoft Announces Slew of Improvements to Windows Azure at Build 2014" and "Node.js Tools for Visual Studio 1.0 Beta Now Available for Download." There's some very cool and encouraging developments that are coming down the pipeline.
If you've harbored ill feelings toward Microsoft lately, then take note: Microsoft is listening in Redmond, and the company's actions are beginning to reflect that. In the end, Microsoft might have made their past judgments on good business logic. However, the company's communication approach wasn't a good decision by any means. If anything, this Build developer conference has shown me that some honesty and transparency goes a long way. And with that, I'm encouraged to see how this seemingly all-new and open Microsoft continues to flourish.