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Microsoft Announces New Software Tools, Partnerships, and Cloud Services for Developers

The phrase "Any Dev, Any App, Any Data, Any Platform" is a mantra for the company when it comes to providing tools to developers that are platform agnostic. Here's a rundown of what they're unveiling at their Microsoft Connect(); conference.

Over the last few years Microsoft has made a determined move to provide access to their products and services across all platforms.

This applies to apps on iOS and Android for Office 365 to help with mobile productivity and it also applies to the tools and services that Microsoft builds for its developer community.

At the fourth annual Microsoft Connect(); 2017 event for developers, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie kicked off three days of keynotes, demos, technical deep dives and live online training. This event will be livestreamed via the Connect(); 2017 website.

During today's keynotes several announcements were made and Guthrie shared insight into emerging application scenarios; for example, this is him on using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to build and deploy modern intelligent apps for their organizations.

“With today’s intelligent cloud, emerging technologies like AI have the potential to change every facet of how we interact with the world,” said Guthrie. “Developers are in the forefront of shaping that potential. Today we’re announcing new tools and services that help developers build applications and services for the AI-driven future, using the platforms, languages, and collaboration tools they already know and love.”

Here is a rundown of the specific announcements from Connect(); 2017:


Azure Databricks Preview 

"Azure Databricks features optimized connectors to Azure storage platforms (e.g. Data Lake and Blob Storage) for the fastest possible data access, and one-click management directly from the Azure console. This is the first time that an Apache Spark platform provider has partnered closely with a cloud provider to optimize data analytics workloads from the ground up."

More information available at A technical overview of Azure Databricks.


Cassandra API preview for Azure Cosmos DB

"Bring your Cassandra apps to Azure Cosmos DB in 3 simple steps:

1. Create a new Azure Cosmos DB account in the Azure Portal and choose the new Cassandra API while creating an Azure Cosmos DB account.
2. Connect your Cassandra application to Azure Cosmos DB copying a simple connection code snippet provided to you upon creation of your new account.
3. Use your favorite Cassandra tools and drivers to manage and query your Cassandra data in Azure Cosmos DB."

More information available at Dear Cassandra Developers, welcome to Azure #CosmosDB!


GitHub Roadmap for Git Virtual File Systems (GVFS)

"With GVFS, developers using Git and Visual Studio Team Services can stay productive, even in mammoth repositories like the Windows operating system, which clocks in at roughly 300 GB (3.5 million files). It's the largest Git repository in the world. GVFS is freely available and Open Source."

More information available at GVFS: Git at Enterprise Scale.

Microsoft Joins MariaDB Foundation

"Azure Database for MariaDB joins Azure database services for PostgreSQL and MySQL on Azure to provide more choices to developers."

More information available at MariaDB, PostgreSQL, and MySQL: more choices on Microsoft Azure.


Visual Studio App Center GA

"App Center has everything you need to manage the lifecycle of your apps, including automated builds, testing on real devices in the cloud, distribution to beta testers and app stores, and monitoring of real-world usage through crash and analytics data. Apps written in Objective-C, Swift, Java, C#, Xamarin, and React Native are supported across all features."

More information available at Introducing App Center: Build, Test, Distribute and Monitor Apps in the Cloud.


Visual Studio Live Share

"We are excited to announce that we’re working on “Visual Studio Live Share”, which enables developers using Visual Studio 2017 or Visual Studio Code to collaborate in real-time! Live Share enables your team to quickly collaborate on the same codebase without the need to synchronize code or to configure the same development tools, settings, or environment."

More information available at Introducing Visual Studio Live Share.



Azure DevOps Projects

Lets developers configure a full DevOps pipeline and connect to Azure Services in less than 5 minutes for faster app development and deployment. With just a few clicks in the Azure portal developers can setup Git repositories, wire up completely automated build & release pipelines without any prior knowledge of how to do so.

More information available at Azure DevOps Projects.


Azure IoT Edge

"Today at our Connect(); developer conference, we are thrilled to announce the public preview of new Azure IoT Edge capabilities including support for: AI Toolkit for Azure IoT Edge; Azure Machine Learning; Azure Stream Analytics; Azure Functions; Your own code in Containers; Protocol adaptor as modules - OPC-UA and Modbus."

More information available at Azure IoT Edge open for developers to build for the intelligent edge.



Visual Studio Tools for AI

"Visual Studio Tools for AI is an extension to build, test, and deploy Deep Learning / AI solutions. It seamlessly integrates with Azure Machine Learning for robust experimentation capabilities, including but not limited to submitting data preparation and model training jobs transparently to different compute targets. Additionally, it provides support for custom metrics and run history tracking, enabling data science reproducibility and auditing. Enterprise ready collaboration, allow to securely work on project with other people."

More information available at Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for AI.


Azure SQL Database Machine Learning services preview

"Make better decisions, at any scale, when it matters. Bring AI everywhere to everyone using a cloud service for data scientists and developers that helps you build intelligent solutions, analyze data, build better models faster, and orchestrate your machine learning development lifecycle—with the confidence that your data is protected with enterprise-grade security."

More information available at Azure Machine Learning.


But, wait...there's probably more so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Google+.

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