Build 2016 Day 1 Keynote

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Build 2016 opened today. Although I’m not in attendence, the keynote was live-streamed so I was able to watch it. If you missed the keynote, be sure to check it out once it’s available on Channel 9.

All in all, there were a ton of announcements today and a level of excitement an innovation that has been seen from Microsoft in a while. This is definately an amazing time to be a Microsoft developer…and it’s only going to get better.

In no particular order, here are just some of the highlights from the keynote.


Ink is becoming even more important and there is some really incredible integration between ink and Cortana, allowing her to recognize information in your sticky notes and take actions on it. The pen to ink latency has become even lower and there is now a virtual ruler on screen.


Every Xbox One can now become a dev kit. This is something Microsoft promised when Xbox One first came out and it’s now possible, starting today. You can easily switch between retial and dev modes. Cortana is definately coming to Xbox One. Xbox games can be run on the desktop and UWP apps can run on Xbox One.

HoloLens (Holographic Computing)

Microsoft HoloLens shipped today and is the first and only untethered holographic computer. The source code for the Galaxy Explorer app is open source and available on GitHub. There was a pretty cool demo of using HoloLens for medical training, including remote participation. This could so easily be extended to also provide training for other medical fields, training on how to perform and interpret different physical tests (for physical therapists and athletic trainers) and training for other fields in general.

Microsoft Cognitive Services

Think of this as AI integrated in to everyday life that really works. There was an extremely impressive demo of what’s possible with this technology in the Seeing AI app. This app completely nails the reality of why AI is important and how it can be used to help better our lives.


Cortana has become even more impressive, integrated and useful. She’ll work from the lockscreen on Windows 10. You can add Cortana integration to your own apps. She integrates with Skype and with the new Skype bots…and that combination makes her truly a personal assistant by integrating with your conversations and making suggestions based on those conversations, including the ability to bring other bots or people in to the conversation and provide the appropriate context.

Microservices (Bots)

You can check out bots now in Skype and learn more about how to develop them. Think of bots as allowing you to build natural language rule based processing engines that can integrate with your application and others (like Skype, Slack, Bing, etc.)

Windows 10

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is coming soon that enables a lot of these features. There are some major improvements to Windows Hello, including the ability for websites to integrate with Windows Hello to use as their login mechanism when running under Edge. There will be a single unified store for UWP apps across all devices (desktop, mobile, Xbox, etc.).


There are new developer APIs and controls available to support all of this. Visual Studio 2015 Update 2 was officially released today. It was also officially announced that there will be an Ubuntu Linux subsystem in Windows allowing you to run native Linux binaries, including the bash shell.