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Top 10 Announcements from Microsoft Build 2021

Top 10 Announcements from Microsoft Build 2021 1

It’s Build week—Microsoft’s annual conference for developers and software engineers. If you like to follow Microsoft technologies or make use of Azure, you’ll want to know the news from this digital event. Here are some of the top announcements from Microsoft Build 2021.

Continuous Access Evaluation in Microsoft Graph

Continuous Access Evaluation (CAE) is now in preview in Microsoft Graph. CAE is a feature in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) that allows developers to test and improve the security of their apps that use Microsoft Graph APIs. It changes token refreshes from once every hour to continuous, real-time reevaluation. If there are any concerning changes, it can halt access to secured resources.

Azure App Services for Kubernetes

Azure app services can now run on Kubernetes clusters in Azure Arc regardless of the environment type: on-premises, multicloud, or edge. This capability, which is in preview, eliminates the need to choose between the models of Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Kubernetes. Some of the app services that this applies to are:

Multi-Cloud Compliance with Azure Purview

More news in preview is that Azure Purview now supports Azure Database for mySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL. This means that Purview can use these open-source Azure databases for metadata, classification, and lineage extraction. The extracted data can be automatically classified and viewed in the Purview Data Catalog.

Azure Confidential Ledger

Project Origin has emphasized the need for confidential, tamper-proof ledgers. Azure Confidential Ledger (ACL) answers such a need: it offers a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) for the transmission of sensitive data. In collaborations where such private data must be shared, ACL provides a way to verify that it has not been tampered with. It also authenticates its origin, for example through Write Once, Read Many guarantees, which are non-erasible and non-modifiable—so that no one can WORM their way into altering the data from its original form.

Organization Explorer for Microsoft Outlook

For those in large companies or nonprofits, the new Organization Explorer helps team members find others with similar skills to collaborate with. They can search across the organization to find colleagues or teams that are relevant to them. This is an embedded app that will be coming to Microsoft Outlook this summer.

Developer Velocity Lab

Research suggests that the most important factor in business performance is having best-in-class developer tools. Organizations with these tools show 65% more innovation and 47% higher employee satisfaction. Developer Velocity is about empowering developer teams with this optimal environment. Microsoft and GitHub have now started the Developer Velocity Lab (DVL), an initiative to boost and improve both the performance and well-being of developers. It takes various aspects into consideration to evaluate a team’s productivity and satisfaction. Microsoft announced at Build that DVL will be open-source and welcoming to global collaboration.

Fluid Components in Teams Chat

Last year Microsoft announced the new Fluid framework, a web-run data structure that can be edited in real time for continuous collaboration. There’s now a private preview of Fluid components in Teams chat. This means, for example, that a document sent in a Teams chat can be co-authored and edited after it’s sent, without the need to re-send a newly updated document.

Adaptive Cards in Teams and Outlook

With Adaptive Cards, developers can easily share their user interface data for consistency across multiple services and apps. There’s now a universal action model that will deploy an Adaptive Card across both Teams and Outlook, so users no longer need to build separate cards for each.

Power Fx Without Coding

Microsoft Power Fx is an open-source, low-code programming language. Now developers will be able to build apps without coding at all. This ability is powered by GTE-3, OpenAI’s natural language model which runs on Azure Machine Learning. The user’s natural language command can be translated into the proper code, or the user can input an example of a data pattern and train the model to create it. Power Fx is also being extended to new places: its use in Dataverse Calculated Columns eliminates the need for manual calculations, and in Model Driven Commanding it creates an interface similar to Excel for a simple, familiar experience. All of this will preview in June this year.

Winner of the Imagine Cup

The Imagine Cup, a competition for developer students, offers applicants a chance to win mentorship, networking, visibility and funding for a worthy project. This year’s finalists were narrowed down until a winner was chosen from the healthcare subdivision: Remote Well Baby, or REWEBA. Students working on this project plan to increase infant screenings in developing countries using IoT technologies.

More from Microsoft Build 2021

For more announcements from Microsoft Build 2021, see the Book of News.


See more recent Build news from the 2022 conference here.

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