Highlights from Microsoft Build 2020

Highlights from Microsoft Build 2020

Announcements include news of Microsoft's Softomotive acqusition

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A new acquisition, platform enhancements for Microsoft Teams, a cloud software play for the healthcare industry and a new initiative to unify app development across windows devices are among the highlights of the Microsoft Build 2020 developers’ event. 

As part of this year’s virtual Build event, Microsoft revealed it had acquired robotic process automation (RPA) provider Softomotive, which specialises in low-code RPA development environments. 

“Softomotive currently helps more than 9,000 global customers seamlessly automate business processes across legacy and modern desktop applications,” Microsoft Citizen Application Platform chief vice president Charles Lamanna said in a blog post. 

“Together with Power Automate, WinAutomation will provide customers additional options for RPA desktop authoring so anyone can build a bot and automate Windows-based tasks,” Lamanna added.

By bringing Softomotive’s desktop automation together with the existing Microsoft Power Automate capabilities, Microsoft hopes to “further [democratise]” RPA and enable everyone to create bots to automate manual business processes.

Broadly, Softomotive’s technology will complement user interface (UI) flows to streamline how our customers get work done.

This year’s event has also seen the introduction of Project Reunion, an initiative aimed at helping to unify app development across Windows 10 devices around the world. 

“For the past couple of years, we have been breaking down the barrier between Win32 (also called the Windows API [application programming interface]) and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) APIs,” Microsoft Windows Developer Platform corporate vice president Kevin Gallo said in a blog post. “Project Reunion expands this effort to make it easier to build a great Windows app. 

“It will unify access to existing Win32 and UWP APIs and make them available decoupled from the OS, via tools like NuGet. This will provide a common platform for new apps. Plus, it will help you update and modernise your existing apps with the latest functionality, whether they’re C++, .NET (including WPF, Windows Forms, and UWP) or React Native. 

“As we decouple existing APIs and add new APIs, we are also doing the work to polyfill, as needed, so the APIs work down-level across supported versions of Windows,” he added.

Broadly, Project Reunion is aimed at helping Microsoft realise its vision for evolving the Windows developer platform to make it easier to integrate across Win32 and UWP APIs and build apps that work across all the Windows 10 versions and devices people use.

Also introduced was a preview of Azure Synapse Link. A cloud-native implementation of hybrid transactional analytical processing (HTAP), Azure Synapse Link is aimed at bringing operational database services and analytics together in real-time. 

“Launched initially in Azure Cosmos DB, but coming soon to all operational systems, Azure Synapse Link helps customers lower costs and reduce time to gain valuable insights without managing data movement,” Microsoft corporate vice president of communications Frank Shaw said in a blog post.

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