Everything that happened at Microsoft Build Day 1

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Everything that happened at Microsoft Build Day 1

Day 1 of Microsoft’s Build developer conference is wrapping up, and we were there to see all their wonderful new containers, clouds and command lines in person. Here’s everything cool we saw today — be sure to tune in tomorrow, when we expect news in consumer tech, mixed reality and gaming.


500 million Windows 10 devices are active monthly

One of the first and biggest stats Microsoft put out was the really quite impressive milestone of 500 million monthly active Windows 10 devices. Our calculations suggest this shows uptake that’s about twice as fast as Windows 8. A few other big numbers also illustrate the company’s current strengths.


Going "planet-scale" with Cosmos DB

The successor to DocumentDB is bigger, more flexible and aims at sticking around for decades. It’s an index-free DB system that’s built from the ground up to scale globally and work with tons of existing standards. But it’s also about managing global-scale problems like latency and inconsistent reads, and gives guarantees on those fronts. Safe to say Cosmos will be behind the scenes in many services to come.


Presentation Translator does what it says on the tin

It’s kind of hard to see in the image there (here’s a big version), but presenters at the keynote were being captioned in real time, and those captions — as revealed later — could be translated to or from dozens of languages. Having a presenter speak in Spanish, address a largely Russian-speaking audience and then accept questions in Chinese — all in real time — is a pretty neat trick.


Visual Studio for Mac officially launches

It’s been a long time coming, and in fact has been in preview form for a few months now, but Visual Studio is finally, officially, natively, on macOS. It’s based on the IDE from Xamarin, which Microsoft acquired last year, and is surely welcomed by legions of Mac-loving developers.


Azure gets a full cloud-based Bash shell

This one thrilled the audience like none other — this is a developer conference, you understand. But some people are just at home in a command line interface and want it everywhere they go, even… you know, in the cloud.


Custom models for cognitive services

Microsoft’s Cognitive Services basically offers generic machine learning models on demand, but they don’t always fit the bill. Fortunately its search, image recognition and A/B-testing engines now let users customize them with their own imagery, domains and so on.


Azure batch training of AI models

Microsoft teased a service that takes some of the administrative rigmarole out of training up multiple neural networks. It’s pretty platform-agnostic, so feel free to give it a go if you use TensorFlow or Caffe — once it’s out of private preview, anyway.


Apps for teams now in the Office Store

Did your company switch over to Microsoft’s Teams productivity suite? It should be considerably easier to find and install apps that provide integrations with other platforms, extend functionality and so on. They’re just in the Office Store now, complete with discovery features.


MySQL and PostgreSQL get official Azure support

This should please developers who have sunk a lot of time into their MySQL setups, but covet some aspect or another of the Azure ecosystem. In keeping with the message of “meeting developers where they are,” Azure now supports these two popular database systems, though you’ll have to pay.


Dangling an Azure carrot in front of software vendors

Microsoft is attempting to lure independent software vendors to Azure with promises of a few premium services made gratis. It might be worth holding off a little longer, though, to see if they’ll sweeten the pot further.


Satya looked like this with hair

CEO Satya Nadella’s smooth dome is a familiar and by no means unpleasant sight to Microsoft followers, but as he pointed out in his keynote today, he used to have hair. He drew a connection between how computing power has increased while his hair decreased. That this trend somehow continued after he had no more hair to lose was puzzling to him, he admitted.