Microsoft Build 2020, like many conferences in 2020, was virtual as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the unusual circumstances, Microsoft delivered a number of important announcements and releases aimed at improving developers’ lives and helping them collaborate even more.
Visual Studio Codespaces
One of the biggest announcements was Visual Studio Codespaces, a cloud-based dev environment.
“Developers often spend endless hours configuring dev machines for new projects: cloning source code, installing runtimes, setting up linters and debuggers, configuring extensions—just to do it all again for the next project, the next bug, or the next code review,” writes Amanda Silver Corporate Vice President of Product, Developer Division. “The challenge is even more prevalent in times of remote work, where you might not have access to your preferred development machine. Visual Studio Codespaces, available in preview, enables you to create a cloud-hosted development environment that’s ready to code, in seconds. You can access it from Visual Studio Code or Visual Studio and it also includes a full web-based editor you can use to edit, run, and debug your applications from any device. We recently announced that Codespaces is coming to GitHub in preview, so you can also easily code from any repo.”
As an added benefit, Visual Studio Codespaces syncs a developer’s Git identity, dotfiles, settings and themes, so their workspace and development environment is the same regardless of where they log in from.
Visual Studio Live Share
Closely related was Microsoft’s announcement regarding Visual Studio Live Share. As more and more developers have been working remotely, collaboration on projects has become more crucial than ever.
Visual Studio Live Share addresses some of these challenges by enabling shared coding sessions, where developers can co-edit and co-debug projects, regardless of location.
With the latest improvements, as part of Microsoft Build 2020, the company announced that Visual Studio Live Share will include text and voice chat collaboration features, making communication that much easier.
Web Application Development
Along with Visual Studio Codespaces, Microsoft released .NET 5 Preview 4, aimed at unifying code sharing across desktop, mobile and web applications. The company also released Blazor WebAssembly, a full-stack web application development framework.
Terminal 1.0 and Improved Linux Support
As part of Windows 10, Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Terminal 1.0, providing “a modern, fast terminal application for users of command-line tools and shells like Command Prompt, PowerShell, WSL, and Azure Cloud Shell.”
Similarly, the company also announced that the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) will soon provide the ability to run Linux GUI apps directly without needing a third-party X Server. At the same time, Linux apps will also benefit from GPU acceleration. This will be a boon to developers who want to run Linux apps or development tools within Windows, while at the same time benefiting from the full power of their workstation.
Microsoft Build 2020: Exciting Times to Be a Developer
As evidenced by the announcements made in conjunction with Microsoft Build 2020, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a Microsoft developer. Under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has embraced open-source and cross-platform collaboration, opening up new doors and opportunities for developers. The announcements at this year’s Build conference are just the latest example.