Another Build has come and gone.  This year’s Build was a great event that saw some really great announcements from lots of different areas within Microsoft.  On the consumer facing side of things, we saw what was coming with Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, including Cortana, the new personal assistant.  We also saw how apps for those platforms are merging with the idea of Universal Apps.  This also came with news that Xbox app development would be possible and done through a similar manner.  From a developer stand point, there were loads of new features announced and demoed including a lot for Microsoft Azure. 

Made it to the stage

For this Build, I had two breakout sessions on top of helping with part of the keynote.  For the keynote, I actually got to get out on stage.  Grant Peterson, CTO of DocuSign, came out to talk about how Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Azure Active Directory can all be combined to make their app (used to eSign documents) even more powerful.  He actually demoed their live iOS app on stage and then I pulled up the document (to show the demo had really worked) and showed the code we wrote to upload the document on stage.  While I didn’t get to say anything, it was pretty cool just being up there in front of the audience.  If you feel so inclined, hop to about 58:40 in this video to see me on stage.

Breakout sessions

The two sessions I did at Build covered pretty different topics.  The first session was Running Java and Oracle Applications on AzureBrian Benz from Microsoft Open Technologies, joined me for this session since he’s kind of an expert on this topic.  In this session we talked about the Oracle support for VMs and how easy it is to deploy Oracle WebLogic, Oracle Database, Oracle Linux, and the official JDK using the Virtual Machine Gallery.  Brian then talked about the Java SDK and Eclipse Plugin for Azure.  We then finished the session off by talking about the different Software as a Services that are part of Azure and are accessible from the Java SDK for Azure.  This session was really well received which goes to show that people building Java apps want to get on to Azure.

The second session was Building Cross-Platform Line of Business Apps with Mobile Services.  For this session I was joined by Donna Malayeri who is a Program Manager on Mobile Services.  Donna focused on the new offline capabilities of the Azure Mobile Services .NET SDK and I dealt with building cross-platform apps with Xamarin and then how to take advantage of Azure Active Directory, Notification Hubs, and Service Bus Relays to connect to on-premise resources.  Donnas demos went really well.  Unfortunately I was plagued by issues.  I’m going to write up a longer post to discuss how the demos work (or how some of them SHOULD have worked), and how to overcome some of the issues I ran into.  Thankfully none of the demo issues were actually Azure related but were either issues with tooling (Xamarin’s iOS Build Host) or simple human error (not copying a necessary script).  You can read more about this session and the demos for it here.


This year’s Build was definitely the most intense conference experience I’ve had so far.  Handling a keynote demo is stressful enough without having to even worry about breakout sessions.  Needing to do two sessions as well is bordering on insanity!

Chris Risner

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