Microsoft Build 2020

6 min. read

Tomorrow is the first day of Microsoft’s annual Build conference. I always enjoy Build, but this one is a little bittersweet. This would have been my first time attending Build in person. But due to the current global pandemic, Build has been converted to a digital conference.

Despite the pandemic, this year’s Build should still be a great time. Here are some of the sessions I think will be especially good:

Every developer is welcome, with Scott Hanselman and guests

This session sounds like a general overview of a modern development workflow, with a focus on Microsoft brands. On paper this doesn’t sound particularly interesting, however there are a few factors that should make this worthwhile:

  1. Scott Hanselman is a great speaker and developer, and he tends to promote similarly talented people. I expect this session to be both entertaining and informing.

  2. This is the first Build after the github acquisition, which probably means github will be more heavily featured in some of the developer workflows covered in the conference. I’m really interested to learn about this topic, especially with regard to potential DevOps workflows available on github.

  3. The session claims to focus on a ‘modern development toolkit’, and we all love new and shiny things. Don’t lie to yourself.

The Journey to One .NET

As most .NET developers should know by now, Microsoft has been in the process of consolidating all of the different .NET implementations into a single entity. This consolidated framework will be known as .NET 5.

If I recall correctly, this consolidation idea was initially announced at Build 2019. Since then, everything I’ve heard about it has still been conceptual in nature. I hope that this session will be the first time that we get some some concrete information on this transformation, and if we’re lucky, maybe it will include a release announcement as well.

C# Today & Tomorrow

This is a talk that Mads Torgersen gives pretty much every year. It’s typically pretty tech heavy, and focuses on new language features in C#. This talk is essentially the CliffsNotes for the next edition of C# In Depth, and I love it.

I have seen Bill Wagner give talks like this as well, and they are always awesome. There’s nothing like learning about new language features that makes you want to go hack something up, or go refactor some ugly, crusty old code that would benefit from the new language features.

What’s even better is that potential upcoming features are covered too. Microsoft has been delving into the territory of demoing unreleased features more and more in past conferences, and C# is a great example of this. The spec is being developed and discussed in the open, which means even if you don’t watch the talk, you can find the information that Mads is talking about easily on the internet. And you can even contribute to the discussion on github. How cool is that?

Making every developer and team more productive from dev box setup to coding to deployment and debugging

This session is potentially more interesting to me than most devs, because I work on developer tools. As part of this, my team owns the developer machine setup, including providing input and testing on our VS deployment.

Part of my job is making the process of getting up and running as easy as possible for our developers. The past few Build conferences, we have seen cool new features being added to Visual Studio to make this process simpler and faster. I’m super excited to hear about the new developments in this area.

Amanda Silver is a great speaker, and she injects so much joy and enthusiasm into her talks that I am always energized and excited to pull the latest Visual Studio update after watching them. I’m sure this one will be no exception.

How to be super productive with Node.js and Visual Studio Code

I’m looking forward to this talk mainly because I absolutely love VS Code, and I have recently been getting back into Node.js development a little bit on the side.

I don’t remember ever hearing from this speaker before, but his past experience seems impressive. Hopefully this doesn’t just turn into an ad for Azure…

DIY Tech for BFFs

I think this is the only limited session I RSVPed for, and it looks like they’ll be doing these sessions over MS Teams with a cap of 10,000 attendees. I guess we’ll see how that goes.

I signed up for this session because it sounds like the presenters will cover some interesting, small projects that are easy to collaborate on. I’m always trying to get my friends to take part in these sorts of projects. Sometimes it even works! I think this should be a fun session.

So that’s how my next couple of days will go. It’s still a bummer that I won’t be able to attend in person, but hopefully we’ll move past this whole global pandemic situation eventually, and we can once again meet up in person from time to time.

Happy Build 2020 everybody, and I hope it’s a good one!

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