The final day of the Build 2018 conference is here! I will tell you about the great and awesome sessions from day 3 and the final celebration in Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle!
Last day of Build didn’t have any keynote, so we could all enjoy a bit longer rest in the morning. I had packed my schedule with many sessions, often multiple in the same timeslot so I had a hard time choosing “the winner”.
My first stop was Conversational AI: What’s new with Chris Mullins and Darren Jefford. The session showed all that is new in Azure Bot Service and Conversational AI. I particularly liked how it laid out the overall scope of the Bot Service and listed all the available tools that span each stage of the bot development cycle. I can highly recommend this session to anyone interested in building a bot in Azure or evaluating this area.
Supercharge your debugging in Visual Studio 2017 with Andy Sterland must be another of my Build 2018 favorites. This fast-paced talk showed numerous cool tips and tricks in the debugging experience of Visual Studio. Andy stated at the beginning that his goal is to teach every person in the audience something new during those 45 minutes and I bet he succeeded. Well done! Looking forward to a rewatch of this to make more notes.
After lunch, I decided to stop by the Build bookstore. Many developers like books – whether for reading them or having them as a reference – so Microsoft added a paperback bookstore this year and offered a wide variety of technical and even soft-skills books with 25% discount on everything. Although I prefer PDFs, it was pretty nice to look around and get some inspiration.
The break was also an ideal time to try out the HoloLens demo, which was available in the Expo Hall. I was lucky enough to catch the smallest queue I had seen there, so in about 20 minutes it was my turn. The demo put me in the role of an engineer who needs to examine a industrial device having issues. It allowed me to first observe the problem, decompose the unit to parts and see the source of the impediment. I have had a chance to try out HoloLens on Build 2015 and the experience was quite similar to back then. I am looking forward to the upcoming new version of HoloLens, hopefully with improved field of view.
The afternoon block started with another great session – David Ortinau presenting What’s new in Xamarin.Forms 3.0. After a quick recap of the latest updates of XF in 2017 including Native Forms and .NET Embedding and major performance improvements, David started presenting the new features of X.F 3.0. Among the most notable ones are Visual State Manager, which many WPF and UWP developers know and love, and CSS styling. The demos in the session were demonstrated using Conference Vision app which was built specifically for Build and features slick animations, Azure Cognitive Vision and more. The most pleasant announcement from this talk was that XAML Standard is alive and will be partially showcased in the next point release of XF.
In Get in the Zone: Visual Studio 2017 Productivity Enhancements Allison Buchholtz and Kasey Uhlenhuth gave us an extensive recap of improvements to editing, refactoring, debugging and testing in latest releases of Visual Studio 2017. It really showed, that the IDE improves drastically and has more and more features that make it the perfect choice for any developer and even that the team is listening and implementing features that had to be supplied using extensions up until now.
Finally, with head full of cool demos and announcements, I visited the Amplify your Awesome talk. This sessions was advertised before Build on Twitter, but I didn’t really know what to expect. From the very beginning, it was clear that this is going to be something special. Six speakers were to take turns on the stage and each of them had just five minutes to deliver a powerful message to the audience to amplify their awesome – basically lightning talks, with the twist that the slides were switching automatically. The format was pretty cool and each speaker really delivered. Chris Jackson focused on epic goal setting, Lorraine Bardeen talked about capturing your heart’s desire and passion and applying it to life, Raymond Chen told us how to write a great blog, Jeniffer Marsman gave us five tips for being awesome based on popular songs, Donovan Brown focused on the art of delivering amazing presentations and finally Jessica Payne explained how to be really awesome at failing. Definitely check out the video of this session, because it was not only extremely entertaining but also inspirational.
And with that, Build 2018 conference was a wrap!
Not long after the show, shuttles transferred us to Museum of Pop Culture for the final Build celebration. Microsoft reserved the whole building designed by Frank Gehry and served a variety of food and snacks, along with live concert and full access to the whole museum and its exhibitions.
The museum features many different themed exhibits including Sci-Fi, Horror and Fantasy, Indie Games, Star Trek and Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes. I spent most of the time in the Marvel exhibit which is the largest one and surely the one I was most interested in.
It told the complete history of Marvel comics from its inception and included not only unique copies of the oldest comics, but also actual props from the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
One of the exhibits included a Kinect-powered “Become Iron Man” experience where you could step into Iron Man’s shoes and try flying around in a virtual Stark lab and shoot down targets which was pretty cool.
Outside the museum as a dome in which participants could dance to silent disco, play games on several Xboxes, challenge others at billiard and get your own caricature done in three minutes by one of the three fast caricaturists
The celebration ended at 10 PM with shuttles taking us back to the city center. I have returned to hotel and then finally took out all the conference swag from all my pockets and bags. So how many stickers and shirts did I collect?
I actually started to worry if I will even be able to pack this all in my bag, but luckily I had it almost empty on the way there and I was able to compress everything inside 🙂 .
So that was it for Microsoft Build 2018 conference. I had one more day ahead of me in Seattle before my plane departs in the evening, so you can expect one more post on this trip. Stay tuned!