Today kicks off Microsoft Build 2019, and Microsoft provided a first look at new productivity concepts and privacy tools in the new Edge web browser.
Less than a month ago, Microsoft shipped the first Dev and Canary channel preview builds of the next version of Microsoft Edge, built on the Chromium open-source project.
In Satya Nadella's vision keynote, Microsoft previewed a set of new features the company is exploring.
Microsoft announced Collections, a section on the Edge web browser that allows you to collect, organize, and share content as you travel across the web. The feature is using cloud-powered intelligence to help you export to apps like Word and Excel and preserve the logical structure of your content, so you can turn a loose collection of paragraphs into a handout with citations, or turn a shopping list into a spreadsheet sortable by price.
Collections is in its early stages and is not yet available in preview builds. Microsoft is seeking for feedback on how this experience could be most useful in browsing.
Microsoft also previewed an early concept for new privacy tools in Microsoft Edge.
The company's privacy dashboard concept allows users to choose from labelled preset levels of information sharing, which will automatically configure the browser to protect users, with options to configure the exposure to third party tracking and the impact to site compatibility.
The company will share more in preview builds later on.
If you’re using Microsoft's Dev or Canary channel preview builds today, you’ve already seen how the new Microsoft Edge provides compatibility with the latest web standards, thanks to a platform built on Chromium and rapid updates at the speed of the web – including our Canary channel, which ships on a daily basis. New developer tools can now inspect and debug any Microsoft Edge-powered web content, whether it’s in the browser, PWAs, or even in a WebView, with a consistent experience across all these targets.
With full support for standards-based PWAs installed directly from the browser, developers can bring the full power of the web to the desktop app environment. Because the next version of Microsoft Edge will be cross platform, these experiences will work consistently across Windows and macOS, and will stay up to date with the latest platform capabilities regardless of the underlying operating system version.
For Windows developers, Microsoft showed a first look at new Microsoft Edge powered WebView, which brings the fidelity of the Chromium platform to Win32 and UWP Windows apps, allowing for hybrid apps that can blend native capabilities with your choice of an always up-to-date or versioned web platform. Interested developers can try Microsoft's first preview of the Win32 WebView control and give feedback.
For enterprise customers, Microsoft announced a new Internet Explorer mode that brings full IE11 compatibility to Microsoft Edge for your internal sites, without compromising the modern web experience on the public internet.
IT Pros need to manage multiple browsers and users need to be trained on both, with settings and favorites falling out of sync between the two. In addition, users sometimes get stranded in IE11 after initially opening it for a compatibility scenario, which can result in LOB app developers needing to support IE11 even for newer apps, when they want the most modern capabilities.
The new Internet Explorer mode solves these problems by rendering legacy IE-only content in high fidelity inside of Microsoft Edge, without the need to open a separate browser or for the user to change any settings manually. Microsoft Edge uses your existing Enterprise Mode Site List to identify sites which require IE rendering and simply switches to Internet Explorer mode behind the scenes.
These features and more will begin to roll out in preview over time as Microsoft is getting closer to the broader launch of the next version of Microsoft Edge.
At Microsoft Build 2019, Rajesh Jha and Kevin Gallo, Corporate Vice President, Windows Developer Platform, also shared how developers can connect with customers in new ways using the Microsoft 365 platform.
- The Ink Recognizer Cognitive Service provides accurate recognition of digital ink content made possible by the power of the Cloud. You can now provide your users with consistent experiences wherever they are – Android, iOS, and the Web. The Ink Recognizer Cognitive Service is available today, and will support diagram recognition and guided handwriting recognition in the future.
- With XAML Islands you can create people centric experiences and connect your existing WPF, WinForms, or native Win32 codebase to new rich UI. The full release of XAML Islands is included in the Windows 10 May update, and even more UI capabilities will be available later this year.
Microsoft also made available Microsoft Graph data connect, a service that helps organizations bring together productivity data from the Microsoft Graph with their own business data securely and at scale using Azure Data Factory. Microsoft Graph data connect is now generally available as a feature in Workplace Analytics and as a standalone SKU for independent software vendors (ISVs).
To give people and teams new ways to create together, Microsoft announced Fluid Framework. This is a new web-based platform and componentized document model for shared interactive experiences. Fluid is expected to be available to developers later this calendar year through a software development kit. Also, later this year Microsoft expects to deliver the first Microsoft 365 experiences powered by Fluid. Its capabilities include:
- Enabling content, e.g., from the web or productivity apps, to be deconstructed and reconstructed into modular components so people can more easily create together.
- Delivering multiperson, co-authoring experiences
- Creating room for intelligent agents to work alongside humans to co-author, fetch content, provide photo suggestions, identify experts, translate data and more.
Microsoft also made the following improvements to Windows and Visual Studio Code to address key requests from the development community:
- A new Windows Terminal application that features a modern UI with tabs; tear away windows and shortcuts; full Unicode support including East Asian fonts, emojis and ligatures; and support for themes and extensions. A preview of the new Windows Terminal is available now.
- Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2) is the next version of WSL and is based on a Linux 4.19 kernel shipping in Windows. This same kernel is technology built used for Azure and in both cases helps to reduce Linux boot time and streamline memory use. WSL 2 also improves filesystem I/O performance, Linux compatibility, and can run Docker containers natively so that a VM is no longer needed for containers on Windows. The first WSL 2 preview will be available later this year.
- The new Visual Studio Code Remote extension enables remote development in the Windows Subsystem for Linux, containers, and virtual machines. This extension brings the best of local development and remote development together – allowing developers to enable scenarios on their local instance of Visual Studio Code. The Remote extension is available today.
Minecraft Augmented-Reality News coming on May 17
Microsoft also showed a video hinting that its popular Minecraft video game will soon add augmented-reality features, saying more information will come on May 17.
The clip showed a user leaving a mobile phone on a bench and another person picking it up and using it to view a 3-D Minecraft hologram. May 17 is the 10th anniversary of the original release of Minecraft.