Microsoft connects AI, Azure, developer tools and open source

Microsoft connects AI, Azure, developer tools and open source 20th December 2018

At the developer conference Connect() 2018 [1], Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President from the Cloud and Enterprise Group at Microsoft, revealed a slew of news related to Azure, AI, developer tools and open source.

For developers, the opportunity to use technologies like AI, IoT, serverless compute, containers and more has never been greater. And like Scott Guthrie many developers are probably excited, but also maybe a bit overwhelmed; they may ask “how can I possibly be proficient in all these new technologies?”

AI from the Cloud or On-Premise

Help is at hand from Microsoft.

With Azure Cognitive Services [2] Microsoft brings object detection, vision recognition and language understanding to developers who do not necessarily have direct AI or data science skills or knowledge. The Cognitive Services can be run in a Docker container, which means you can run the Cognitive Services in the cloud on Azure or on your own servers on your premise. There’s an easy to follow description of how you can get started with the Cognitive Services Language Understanding container here [3]*.

If you want to delve a bit further into AI, Azure Machine Learning services [4] was made generally available for developers at the conference. The Machine Learning services enable developers and data scientists to build, train and deploy machine learning models. This is done via a Python SDK, so Azure Machine Learning services can be used in any Python environment like Visual Studio Code or PyCharm, or Notebooks such as Jupyter and Azure Databricks. If you are interested it’s worth to give it a try – its free to try [5].

Grinding nitty-gritty code

OK, maybe you haven’t really a need for AI for object detection, vision recognition and language understanding at the moment. But you are very likely among the 12 million developers who are using Visual Studio to build applications. If so, you will probably be interested in the preview-versions of Visual Studio 2019 [6].

IntelliSense is an old trusted friend of Microsoft developers – about 25 years ago it was introduced in Visual Basic 4 (yes, I know, no one wants to admit they are using Visual Basic, but according to the December 2018 TIOBE-index Visual Basic .Net is the fifth most popular programming language [7]).

IntelliSense has of course been improved over the years, but now Microsoft has added AI (sorry, there it is again) to make IntelliCode.

IntelliCode not only helps you with autocompletion of the syntax as you know from IntelliSense, but now also suggests which autocompletion is most likely to apply based on the context and patterns in your own code. Microsoft has used Machine Learning to analyse thousands of projects and open source repositories on Github and trained the IntelliCode engine to show what other people have coded in a similar context.

There’s also expanded refactoring capabilities, better debugging and developers can also collaborate in real time via Live Share. After Microsoft acquired Github [8], it should not be a surprise that improved GitHub pull request capabilities are integrated into Visual Studio.

Preview of .NET Core 3

When you have installed the preview version of Visual Studio 2019, you can also have a look at the preview of .NET Core 3 [9]. While the two previous versions of .NET Core focused on web applications, web APIs, IoT and console applications, .NET Core 3 adds support for building Windows desktop applications using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms or WinUI.

These three major Windows user experience technologies are at the same time being open sourced, further strengthening the very solid support to the open source community which Microsoft has shown in the last couple of years.

You can read and watch much more about these and other announcements here [10].

Christmas arrived early this year with some interesting developer presents from Microsoft! What are your thoughts? To get updates on Curo Talent’s blog articles, reports and videos sign-up to the Curo Bulletin below.

*Written by my fellow Dane, Henrik Frystyk Nielsen, who was part of establishing the World Wide Web when he started at Sir Tim Berners Lee’s CERN-lab working on HTTP just after he graduated as telecoms engineer.


[1] Empowering every developer to achieve more at Microsoft Connect(); 2018
[2] Cognitive Services
[3] Getting started with Cognitive Services Language Understanding container
[4] Azure AI – accelerating the pace of AI adoption for organizations
[5] Azure Machine Learning service
[6] Visual Studio 2019 Preview
[7] TIOBE Index
[8] Microsoft buys GitHub and is more valuable than Google
[9] Announcing .NET Core 3 Preview 1 and Open Sourcing Windows Desktop Frameworks
[10] Microsoft Connect(); 2018

Dan Mygind

Author: Dan Mygind

Dan is a Journalist and Computer Scientist with a strong interest in technology, technology-related businesses, and the transforming effect source code can have on society.
He has worked for startups, SMEs and global IT-organisations such as IBM as a developer, consultant, and IT-architect. With a solid technology background, he has written extensively for a wide variety of publications such as Computerworld as well as writing technical white papers for Microsoft and other companies.
He is also a published author, ‘World Storytellers

Contact Dan Mygind: mygind{at}writeit{dot}dk

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view and opinion of Curo Services.

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