Build 2018 Review: Are you a Microsoft 365 Developer?

Build 2018 Review: Are you a Microsoft 365 Developer? 22nd May 2018

“Today, many of you would consider yourselves Windows or Office developers or web developers who target Windows and Office users. Or even mobile developers asking how you might align a mobile experience with other devices. When you leave Build 2018 this week, we hope you consider yourselves Microsoft 365 developers.”

That’s how Microsoft’s John Belfiore (above), Corporate Vice President of Windows, urged developers at Build 2018 to view themselves… as a Microsoft 365 Developer [1].

What is Microsoft 365?

“Microsoft 365 brings together Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) as a complete, intelligent, and secure solution to empower employees.”

That’s John Belfiore again, defining 365… complete with positive adjectives and marketing-speak 😉

But Microsoft has a compelling story for developers. With 135 million commercial monthly active users of Office 365 and nearly 700 million Windows 10–connected devices, it is a fascinating ecosystem with a lot of potential for developers.

The Graph with Security and Single Sign-On

Central for Microsoft 365 developers is Microsoft Graph. It is a set of REST-based APIs that gives you access to content from Office 365, Outlook, OneDrive, Azure and other Microsoft products. At the Build 2018, a Security API was made available as a preview. This API should eliminate the need for developers to integrate multiple security products individually.

For developers building add-in solutions for Office 365 programs (like Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Outlook), Microsoft made a preview version of integrated SSO (Single Sign-On) available. This makes user authentication and access to the Microsoft Graph APIs easy.

Well, let’s see. Authentication and Security in broader terms are not always easy, but they are absolutely necessary.

During the summer Microsoft is promising to roll out new APIs. Read more about it at ‘Harness the growing network of apps and insights in Microsoft Graph‘.

Microsoft Teams

Developers in organisations where they use the ‘Microsoft Teams’ collaboration platform will most likely be interested in the new Microsoft Teams Line of Business (LOB) app store feature. An Office 365 administrator can upload custom-built apps to a custom app catalog, where they can be distributed within the organisation. Read more about the other announcements for Microsoft Teams at ‘Microsoft Teams Developer Platform Enhancements Announced for Build 2018‘.

To work with Microsoft Teams you can, of course, use Graph APIs (for example, creating and deleting teams). Just be aware the APIs are still in beta, so when you have a look at the different APIs available to Microsoft Teams, please pay attention to this little disclaimer from Microsoft: “Use of these APIs in production applications is not supported.” [2]

More money for App Developers

Talking about app stores, App developers targeting Microsoft Store can get a potential hike in their profits with some good news at Build 2018. In some circumstances, Microsoft will only take a cut of 5% of the money an app brings in, leaving a staggering 95% to the developer. This makes the Microsoft Store much more attractive than Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App store, where the developer only receives 70%.

Microsoft Store has been struggling to attract developers and customers, so this change in fee structures is, of course, meant to incentivise developers to bet on the Microsoft Store.

The 95 percent developer cut will only be available for consumer apps – but not games! – and it will reduce to 85% if Microsoft helps with advertising the app.

You can read more about the new fee structure at ‘A new Microsoft Store revenue share is coming‘.

Kubernetes for Azure

In the previous blog about Build 2018, we touched upon Kubernetes. With Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), developers can drastically simplify how they build and run container-based solutions.

Microsoft claims this can be done without deep Kubernetes experience. Furthermore, we mentioned the intelligent edge in the previous blog, and Microsoft is now offering Kubernetes support for Azure IoT Edge devices. Read more at ‘Microsoft Readying Kubernetes on Azure with New Developer Perks‘.

Kinect moves to the Cloud

Finally, something that used to be for gamers, but maybe will inspire other developers as well. Kinect for the Xbox is being revived and will be floating around in the sky. Instead of being an accessory for the Xbox, Microsoft is turning Kinect into a cloud service [3]. Developers will be able to send information from their own cameras and depth sensors up to Kinect in the cloud, have Microsoft process that information, and then send it back to the device.

The intention is to let hardware manufacturers create all kinds of Kinect-like cameras, which could be put to use in a much wider variety of ways than just an Xbox accessory. Read more about Project Kinect for Azure at ‘Project Kinect for Azure‘.

As always, Channel9 got a lot of coverage and videos from Build 2018 [4]. Enjoy!


[1] Microsoft 365 empowers developers to build intelligent apps for where and how the world works
[2] Use the Microsoft Graph API to work with Microsoft Teams
[3] Microsoft is moving Kinect to the cloud
[4] Channel9: Microsoft Build 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 Talent.

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