Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time watching the live stream for Build 2015. I was able to be at Build a couple of years ago but I was unable to get into the registration page when it opened a couple of months ago. I’ve been super busy with client work for the last month so it was probably a good thing that I didn’t travel 3,000+ miles to San Francisco. I’ve been looking for a new laptop / tablet machine and have been thinking about getting the Surface Pro 3, but I wanted to see what was given away at Build. Microsoft gave away the HP Spectre x360. So I spent about $1,500 (after tax) on the 512GB SSD version of that laptop last night. I’ll be digging into that before too long. It will be my presentation machine. My previous machine was an Asus EP-121 Windows 7 tablet that I made a Windows 8 machine. Anyway, I wasn’t able to attend Build, but I spent part of what the conference ticket would have been and bought the “give away”. But this post isn’t about the hardware given away at Build. It is about all of the AWESOME announcements made! Let’s dig in…
I’m going to take you on the journey as I saw things. I went to twitter feverishly as I saw all of the technical goodness that Microsoft was sending our way. First up, we get to hear from relatively new CEO, Satya Nadella.
After Satya, is a hero of mine – Scott Guthrie. I first hear Scott talk back in 2000 in Orlando where he introduced this thing called ASP+ and showed off IBuySpy (later to become DotNetNuke) and of course when ASP+ got to beta, it became ASP.NET. To see a developer rise over the past decade to a very influential and respected member of Microsoft has done my heart good. I always sit in to listen to Scott anytime I get a chance. He has done a lot for Azure since he went to that position a few years ago. He does love his red polo 🙂
Next up on stage was Mark Russinovich, who is super smart and really understood how the operating system worked more so than almost anyone who worked at Microsoft. Microsoft did well to bring him on board and make him a fellow. During his part of the keynote, he demo’d Docker working in Windows. Super awesome! He also showed an actual breakpoint being hit from Visual Studio while remote debugging a .NET app on Linux.
Being able to run .NET Core on Windows, Linux and Mac is awesome. It was around this time that this was reiterated. ASP.NET 5 is great. If you haven’t taken a look at it, do yourself a favor and take a look and watch some of the weekly community stand-ups the teams do. It is open to everyone! At this point the first BIG bombshell was dropped. Below, you will see this is Visual Studio Code running in both Mac and Linux. Too awesome!
Oh, and it’s free! The installation experience is super smooth. From download to install it was less than 90 seconds. It was probably closer to 60 seconds.
The next thing was saw was more information around Universal Windows Apps (for Windows 10). Universal Windows Apps have been around for a while, but this time it’s for real. 🙂 You can finally write once and deploy across all of Windows – even including the Hololens! But I’m getting ahead of myself.
After talking about Universal Windows Apps, they started to talk about 4 new ways to bring apps to Windows. This included bringing in existing web applications, bringing in existing .NET and Win32 applications, bringing in Android apps that used the Java/C++ “subsystem” and finally, even bringing in Objective C apps. That is pretty incredible to make it as painless as possible to let all developers to bring in their apps from all the different ecosystems (even Windows desktop). It was around this time that my head felt like it was going to explode and I spit out this tweet:
I just can’t comprehend everything that is being announced today at #build2015 Crazy! — Chad Carter (@kewlniss) April 29, 2015
And then I promptly retweeted @Windows (along with well over 1K other people):
Then there was talk about the project previously known as Spartan. Microsoft introduced their new browser that will ultimately (read as a long time from now) replace Internet Explorer. This browser is called Microsoft Edge and it looks to be pretty awesome.
Next, they showed Continuum which allows your Windows Phone to be your PC. This will be huge in emerging markets where many people have a smart phone but don’t have a conventional computer. Paul Thurrot said it best with his tweet:
He’s using a mouse and keyboard with Windows Phone. On a big PC display. Be still my heart. — Paul Thurrott (@thurrott) April 29, 2015
And finally, we started to see the bit I was soooo excited about. Microsoft Hololens. It is hard to believe it is real. When they first showed this when they announced Windows 10, I was down right giddy. Sersiously, I was almost aggravated with myself over how excited I was over a piece of technology. But I couldn’t help myself. It was exciting. Seeing the demos again at Build just brought in even more excitement. I’m finding it extremely hard to wait for Windows 10 simply because of the Hololens. It is going to be awesome.
I hope to carve out some time in the near future to create a proper blog post about this topic. Do yourself a favor and grab ‘Twitter Bootstrap with LESS source’ from NuGet and start using it in your projects. It is really beneficial.
Quick run down to get going with the source code. If you grab Twitter Bootstrap with LESS source from NuGet it puts the .less files under /Content/less/*.less. Then in your aspx/php/html/whatever page add a stylesheet reference to the bootstrap.less file.
The bootstrap.less does an import of all the other .less files that make up bootstrap. (There is also responsive.less which imports all .less files needed to make your site responsive. Responsiveness in this context refers to rendering your HTML elements differently based on resolution. So if you are using a tablet your site can look differently than when it is on a phone versus a large monitor with a high resolution. This is done via CSS media queries.
Twitter Bootstrap (with LESS) comes with the less.js file. This is fine if you want to bring down the less file and have it generate CSS on the fly on the client. Another way is to ‘compile’ the less files into css content at development time. Another way is to add the dotless .net assembly to have any .less GET requests processed from that assembly by changing the web.config and adding a handler for the .less extension. This is the method the demo code uses.
LESS is fantastic. I highly recommend you look at it and use it instead of CSS. There are other languages like LESS (SASS and Stylus) but LESS is what Twitter Bootstrap uses and is the most syntactically like CSS.
Another note about dotless: If you are using IIS or IIS Express you want to remove the httpHandler section from the system.web section. For IIS/IIS Express it only needs (allows) it in the system.webServer section.
While this just scratches the surface of the talk it should be good enough to get going with these great technologies. So have fun!