Microsoft has revealed more than 50 new products and features at its flagship event for developers, Build, with this year's focus being on AI.
Microsoft Build 2022 focused on the impact of AI and AI-assisted development, the various opportunities Windows presents for developers, such as hybrid AI app patterns for new edge endpoints without walled gardens, and greater automation for organisations.
Noting that AI and coding have become a common combination, Microsoft unveiled a range of tools to assist AI development, including GitHub Copilot.
GitHub Copilot is an AI pair programmer offering full-code suggestions inferred from code and comments.
The company previewed this offering last year and received positive feedback, with over a third of those who signed up becoming daily users.
GitHub Copilot is now generally available, allowing more developers to use these tools for writing code through AI as well as using AI to understand the code it has created and make improvements in future.
Microsoft Dev Box provides developers with a way to create a virtual machine automatically in the cloud.
This means it reduces limitations and delays and allows developers to work from anywhere instead of being restricted to a physical PC.
Further, this allows developers to use Microsoft's AI tools and the AI-infused cloud to write apps and deploy them to a place of their choosing.
Noting that developers are exploring intelligent cloud solutions with multiple endpoints and neural processing units (NPUs), Microsoft says the logical next step is to create hybrid apps with unique capabilities.
The tech giant now offers a set of tools in the cloud that automate the process of creating these apps, allowing developers to get the best out of using hybrid apps.
Microsoft says it has created this product to address a common problem facing developers: being forced to create within a walled garden instead of a hybrid environment, meaning that working apps can only be made by writing code for each individual chipset.
Using Microsoft's new service after writing an app will allow developers to target NPUs regardless of the chipset.
The company is also using ONNX Runtime and Azure Machine learning, as well as an AI toolchain to create a cross-platform development pattern for building AI experiences across cloud and edge.
Moreover, its forthcoming Project Volterra is a development kit containing AI capabilities that will come with a cutting-edge, more efficient AI computing capacity.
Microsoft acknowledges that while Build is an event targeted at developers, it knows that everyone would like tools that can help them get tasks completed in a more efficient, straightforward way.
In addition to tools for developers, the company unveiled options for the wider Microsoft community, including Power Pages, a low-code development and hosting platform allowing both low-code makers and professional developers to design, configure and publish websites in desktop and mobile environments through a streamlined aesthetic experience.
In addition, Express design, available through Power Apps, allows users to upload a PDF, PowerPoint or hand-drawn sketch and convert it into a working app in seconds.
Text summarisation for customer support will also mean users are able to recap complex conversations to reduce handling time and provide greater job satisfaction.
Microsoft also now offers cloud developer environments and DevSecOps, as well as the general availability of .NET Multi-platform App UI (.NET MAUI).
Furthermore, cloud-native app offerings provide improved scale, performance and reliability.
This offering includes Azure Container Apps, a serverless container hosting service that allows developers to focus on apps instead of managing underlying cloud infrastructure.
Additional items released at this year's Build event include:
The Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform
A new, integrated platform that unifies databases, analytics and governance to enable organisations to invest more time creating value rather than integrating and managing a fragmented data estate.
Microsoft Store Ads
A new product designed to help developers grow their business by getting their apps or games in front of the right customers at the right time.
In the coming months, developers will be able to participate in the pilot program, which will involve creating ad campaigns for the Microsoft Store using Microsoft Advertising.
A Live Share experience for apps in Teams
This offering improves screen sharing in meetings by making the Teams meeting stage interactive.
Developers can build Live Share apps in Teams that let meeting participants edit, annotate, zoom in/out and interact with shared content in new ways.
Microsoft also notes the opportunities presented by the metaverse, explaining that it will be affording users metaverse experiences at every layer of its stack so that customers can model, automate, simulate and predict changes within their industrial environments more effectively.
The company says it will also give customers a stronger presence in the new hybrid working world, allowing them to create immersive worlds that facilitate new opportunities for connecting and experimenting.