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What I expect from Build 2014
UPDATE 2014-03-31: Microsoft released the (full?) schedule on the Channel 9 web site. There are no news about Windows 9 but many others topics will be there.

// Build/ 2014, the Microsoft conference for developers, will start on Wednesday and here is what I expect to see on this edition.

Windows Phone 8.1

The version 8.0 of the Microsoft Windows Phone OS has been here for nearly two years now and we did not see a lot of improvement since then. Many rumours have emerge in the last few months about what would be included in the new version. Here a small list :

  • Notification center. iOS has it since iOS 5, it's also more than required for WP!
  • Improved tiles features and customization
  • Unification of the development model between Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 applications.

From a Canadian point of view, one of the things that I really hope to see with this upgrade is the ability to subscribe to podcast without using a third-party app. Because Microsoft never put in the extra effort required to enable podcast on the Canadian App and Music Store.

Windows 9

The first public appearance of Windows 8 was at Build 2011, so maybe a first glance at what it can look like. Or at least discussions about where Microsoft wants to go with Windows in the future.

Cloud

Microsoft Azure, the brand new name for Windows Azure will continue to be all around this year. With a lot of new functionalities since the last edition and, with the desire to continue to push on the Full Cloud and the hybrid architecture, I expect to see a lot of new things again.

Games

Microsost has released the XBox One since the last edition of the Build and, as this new platform use the same base as Windows 8, I expect to see at least of few sessions related to games development, for Windows, Windows Phone or XBox One.

Visual Studio

The Visual Studio 2013 is too new (and too extensive!) to expect a 2014 edition. VS 2013 Update 1 is available since the end January, and the Release Candidate for Update 2 pop at the end of February so probably an official Release 2 and hopefully some what's next as they have the habit of doing since 2012.

Web Development

Big part of the new features of Visual Studio are related to the Web development. Maybe a version 6 of ASP.NET MVC. Maybe some new projects templates (it can be helpful to have a AngularJS Single-Page-Application template to compare with the Knockout that is already out). There a lot of rumours of the fact that Microsoft is looking to buy Xamarin, maybe an announcement during the first keynote and some talks about these very interesting products

Gifts

This is part of the tradition now, but after the Samsung Tablet on 2011, the Surface RT and the Nokia Lumia 920 of 2012, the Microsoft Surface Pro and the Asus 8 inches tablet last year, what can we expect? Probably a new Nokia phone running Windows Phone 8.1 but what else? Probably not a Surface Pro 2 or an XBox One neither. I don't want to be a killjoy or picky, but maybe Microsoft should think about using the same technique as other conferences like AngleBrackets and DevIntersection do by allowing the participant to choose is gift from a very short list, including the cheaper option of no gift. Because, to be honest, I am still more than happy of my Surface Pro and I use it every day, including to write this blog post, but the Asus one was far from impressive and I am sure that I'm not the only one who used it only a few times before forgetting it on a shelf.

Conclusion

Finally, again a lot of interesting stuff this year for this intensive 3 days of presentations and activities.