Microsoft Build 2024

Microsoft Build 2024

Episode Seventeen

How AI is transforming, impacting, and empowering people to do more with innovations from Microsoft, partners, and developers was the focus of Microsoft Build 2024.


I'm Peter and this is the RoguePlanetoid Podcast where you will find insights about Microsoft or related platforms and technology, along with so much more whether you are beginner or an experienced professional or just interested in technology. Keep Current, Keep Coding!


Welcome to episode seventeen of the RoguePlanetoid Podcast about Microsoft Build 2024. How AI is transforming, impacting, and empowering people to do more with innovations from Microsoft, partners, and developers was the focus of Microsoft Build 2024. I'll be discussing the keynotes along with a few of the sessions during Microsoft Build 2024 that you can also check out along with any other sessions at or you can check out the link in the show notes.

Microsoft Build Opening Keynote

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft opened Microsoft Build talking about how developer conferences are the most fun for him when there are fundamental changes on the horizon, he remembers .NET and Azure being discussed publicly for the very first time at events like PDC and we are again at a moment like that. There have been two real dreams for the past seventy years which are, can computers understand us in a world with so much information and can computers help us reason, plan and act more effectively on that information and it seems we are in that golden age, which is being driven by scaling of machine learning which is doubling in capabilities every six months compared to Moore's law where computing was doubling every eighteen months.

Satya talked about how developers can take the capabilities of AI to change the world around us and is great to see it as a democratising force for people and the impact it is having on them. The introduction of Copilot + PCs is exposing AI as a first-class namespace for Windows which includes ready to use local APIs to integrate AI into applications including RAG, vector stores and local storage for models. Copilot Stack has been improved with Microsoft having the most complete AI infrastructure to meet the needs of AI with over sixty regions around the world with expanded AI capacity and all Azure datacentres will be using renewable energy by 2025.

Microsoft offers the best AI accelerators from nVidia and AMD and Azure AI is delivering the widest set of AI models to over fifty thousand organisations using it today and Microsoft's most important partnership is with OpenAI with their latest model GPT-4o having been trained on Azure and is their top performing modal on a variety of modalities including text and images. Microsoft has brought GPT-4o to Azure AI and developers can build groundbreaking applications that can use this full multi-modal full-duplex canvas that has been created with a responsible approach by OpenAI. Microsoft are bringing many other models from many countries including models as a service and not only are adding Large Language Models or LLMs but also Small Language Models or SLMs including ones with language and vision capabilities.

Azure AI Studio provides end-to-end capabilities including being able to evaluate models for performance and quality plus you can build, train, and refine models including built in support for safety including detecting hallucinations and understanding which prompts are triggering certain outputs with content safety including prompt shields. Custom models will be coming so you can train models for domain specific output. Data needs to be in the best shape to train models which can be done using Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform along with Microsoft Fabric which features unified compute and storage, where you can manage how your organisation consumes data with governance built in.

Microsoft is redefining development with GitHub Copilot and GitHub Workspace which allows you to stay in your flow and go from issue to plan to generate code where each step can be edited and refined to keep you in control and get the output you want and creates a fundamentally different way to build software. Microsoft are also bridging third-party ecosystems with GitHub Copilot Extensions where developers can write extensions including their own in-house tools. GitHub Workspace looks at the intent of an issue and the whole process is iterative and then can get Copilot's help to implement the code and see what changes are being proposed, get a live preview of any code, and even submit the code as a PR.

Microsoft Copilot was built to allow you to tap into the world's or your organisation's knowledge, which is having a broad impact by raising the ceiling of what is possible along with lowering the floor for accessibility. Copilot is now being expanded beyond a personal assistant by becoming a Team Copilot to help you collaborate in teams where it can facilitate meetings, take notes, and track action items along with addressing unresolved issues and make sure projects are running smoothly like an AI project manager.

Rajesh spoke about Copilot and how it evolving to do more including expanding it beyond the individual with Team Copilot where it can act as a valuable team member and help teams focus on having productive conversations, add topics and even have reminders to move onto the next topic and flag up any follow-up topics for everyone to see. Copilot can reason over data and is grounded on the web and your data in the Microsoft Graph and will understand the application context and surface capabilities based upon the user context. Copilot Extensions allow you to further customise the Copilot experience to help people save time or enhance business processes, understand customers better and increase efficiency.

Jeff spoke about how you can help employees and grow your business and expand Microsoft Copilot with extensions and reach hundreds of millions of users and Microsoft is making it even easier to build Copilots from a few steps in Copilot Studio to full control in Visual Studio Code. Extensions can run across all Copilots, including Microsoft 365 applications and Microsoft Copilot which can reason over a user's prompt to forward to the right extension, or you can @ mention to leverage specific functionality from an extension. You can build a Copilot quickly in SharePoint then you can go to Copilot Studio to perform more advanced edits such as make it do work for you and add additional data sources such as websites or files, include connectors or add actions. Then as a developer you can further create or edit Copilots in Visual Studio Code where you can select a more refined model or anything else you need to change along with being able to debug any Copilot extensions with breakpoints and you can return information from an Extension within the Teams AI Library and can target millions of Microsoft Teams users.

Pavan spoke about Microsoft's vision to meet you in your workflow with Copilot using quick actions and natural language and making Copilot more contextual and useful. Copilot + PCs are the most intelligent PCs ever built, featuring NPUs that are faster and more efficient for AI workflows, and developers will be able to create experiences using the Qualcomm Snapdragon Dev Kit for Windows which is an everyday dev kit for AI. Windows Copilot Library includes experiences such as Recall to bring back anything seen on a PC and Xbox is looking at Vision for Copilot experiences to help gamers with AI powered gaming experiences. Windows Copilot Library has APIs and models such as models that capture context on screen with Recall and vector stores with Windows Semantic Index plus it will also be possible to use Vector Embedding APIs to create on-device vector stores to enable natural language search in your applications.

Kevin talked about being fascinated his entire life by tools and how they can help people make extraordinary things, and how they have been building the tools and infrastructure to help developers to build things for the reasons they need to make them. There's a fundamental change in the universe of technology and there has been incredible scaling of AI systems as more data and compute is being brought in to train them with the most important part being completing the stack when there is a technology such as AI that is expanding at an exponential rate. Microsoft is deploying more generative AI applications than anyone else and the Copilot Stack allows Copilots to be built in a safe and cost optimised way with Microsoft optimising the current frontier along with investing at an incredible rate to push the frontier forward.

Kevin also talked about GPT-4o which is a multi-modal model that can understand text, speech and images and can interact with users in real-time and where users can interrupt the model to have fluid interactions with systems and has a twelve time decrease in cost and a six time increase in speed compared to GPT-4. You can count on things getting cheaper and more robust over a reasonable period of time, if you aim for ambitious that will become something ubiquitous. Smaller models are also possible such as Phi which is trading size for quality, but what you can achieve with these smaller models is still high quality and with a version of Phi-3 optimised to run on a mobile phone this model can respond much like GPT could a year ago. Building applications on top of these incredible platforms is what is emerging, and we have made the transition from many things being impossible to being merely difficult. Microsoft is making progress to develop supercomputer infrastructure for AI, in 2020 they trained GPT-3 on something the scale of shark, in 2024 they trained GPT-4 on something the scale of an orca and the next generation models are being trained on something the scale of a whale.

Sam from OpenAI talked about that there has been an extraordinary change and the speed of adoption of AI has been very cool to see with usages that they had not expected. OpenAI has made their technology available to developers using an API, which is something they put much thought and work into being a good API to make it easy for developers to integrate into any product or service. OpenAI is making good use of that whale-sized supercomputer and with the most important thing about models is that they will get smarter, between GPT-3 and GPT-4 it got smarter, and the underlying capabilities improved. With GPT-4o the cost is halved and speed is doubled compared to GPT-4. Today is probably the most exciting time for developers and to build a startup during a platform shift time and there has not been one of these for a while. AI alone may be a new enabler, but it doesn't break the rules of a business, you need to think about what you want to do with it. OpenAI have made the technology and have worked on building a level of safety and robustness which took a lot of work and research and as we move towards AGI or artificial general intelligence the level of research will increase.

Next Generation AI for developers with the Microsoft Cloud

Scott Guthrie opened the second day's keynote by talking about how AI is changing the world and developers are at the centre of it with every app potentially being reinvented with AI. GitHub is the AI powered platform with GitHub Copilot ushering in the era of Copilots and has been added to with Copilot Workspace to build and test code with natural language. Developers can use Azure Application Services in any application using any language including Azure Container Apps, Azure App Services and more securely and at scale and you can focus on building great applications knowing they will deliver on the performance and scale that you need. .NET Aspire is now generally available making cloud native application development easier in a repeatable, secure, and reliable way.

Charles spoke about Copilot Studio to extend Microsoft Copilot and build your own Copilots. Microsoft have added new agent capabilities to automate tasks and can define meta-prompts and set knowledge sources for information. Developers can also use connectors such as APIs that can be used within actions in Copilot Studio and can control workflow with topics for conversations to run specific workflows depending on what users need. Developers can also test workflows, register triggers, and understand what is driving the behaviour of a Copilot.

Eric talked about how AI solutions are transforming enterprise automation and building intelligence into products. Microsoft run their own Copilots on Azure AI using the same platform available to everyone else, where no matter your use case Azure AI has developers covered. Azure AI has pre-trained turnkey solutions for intelligent applications or with Azure Machine Learning for full-lifecycle tools for designing and maintaining AI models or build and manage applications that are trustworthy by design. Many frontier and open-source models are available along with models-as-a-service or can leverage Azure AI Search for RAG with scale, performance, and cost savings to support RAG-powered searches at scale using the best technology available.

Seth spoke about Azure AI Studio where you can develop capabilities and deliver them in a safe, reliable and observable way, it is the one-stop-shop for all things AI, you can craft prompts and then swap out values for database calls and test how it would work and you can take a prompt from Azure AI Studio into your IDE such as Visual Studio Code.

Sarah talked about how Microsoft infuses safety and security at every level including looking for problematic inputs or outputs with tools to manage and customise the safety experience with Azure AI Safety. Developers can also see metrics for applications including risk and safety plus test with adversarial datasets to stress test applications including testing jailbreak attacks to allow developers to evaluate and mitigate risks.

Arun spoke about data being the fuel that drives AI with Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform that includes Azure SQL DB, Azure Cosmos DB and more with a comprehensive list of tools and strong capabilities in each area. Microsoft Fabric is the data platform for the era of AI and gives you everything you need to go from raw data to business intelligence value for users in a single software as a service platform with unified compute and governance with real time intelligence coming which will help accelerate decisions to unlock and act on real-time data. OneLake makes data easier to use in an open-data format providing industry level performance for data that can be worked with anywhere without duplication.

Scott mentioned investment in Azure, the world's AI supercomputer and that it is being used to train large foundational models and when you use Azure you get price, performance and capability providing the most complete set of AI accelerators and can dynamically choose which one is used by Microsoft Copilot and your Copilot applications. Developers and organisations are seizing the opportunity of AI with Microsoft and Microsoft is integrating work from industry software companies to harness the opportunity of AI.

Julia and John talked about protecting identities and secrets along with protecting engineering systems and that developers need to be able to secure what they are doing with secure by design, secure by default and secure operations. We live in the most complex threat landscape in history and threat actors are doing more to try and break into systems, there are a lot more password attacks, but Microsoft's goal is to make them really bad at it. Threat actors are also trying an attack one to attack many approach by targeting developers or systems that developers work with. Microsoft are actively working on secure by design and get developers to follow the paved path of those principles to make sure they are doing things securely. Developers also need to understand engineering systems and get rid of unneeded applications and systems as sometimes the best thing developers can do is get rid of old demo, staging or other systems. Security is a team sport and defending against threat actors is not only a challenge for Microsoft but for everyone else, so if Microsoft can raise security posture and help customers improve their application code and processes to be more secure this will help make the world a safer place from threat actors.

Keynotes from the first and second days of Microsoft Build were a great way to see what Microsoft is doing to push the frontiers of AI, which is a fast moving constantly changing landscape which is quickly changing what was impossible to what will be possible in the future. It is rare to see these large changes for developers with the web and mobile being the last major pivot points for technology but AI is bringing change that will be accessible to each and every person on the planet and it will be our job as developers to help usher in this era of change and bring technology into the hands of everyone in a safe and responsible way to benefit everyone.

Introducing the Next Generation of Windows on Arm

Sessions form a key part of the Microsoft Build experience with the first session to highlight which was on introducing the next generation of Windows on Arm. It is an exciting time to see devices being shipped using Windows on Arm with Copilot + PCs and there has been an immense amount of effort to make it a new innovative era on Windows.

Windows Copilot + PCs are the result of a strong partnership between Qualcomm and Microsoft along with OEMs which is a monumental release with no compromise on device form factors, performance, and experience with leading battery life for all-day use and featuring the industry's most powerful Neural Processing Unit or NPU with the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite System on Chip.

Windows on Arm ecosystem empowers exceptional customer experiences without compromise of the silicon upon Windows is running and there is the Snapdragon Dev Kit which is the fastest Windows on Arm device just for developers. Developers also need the right tools at their fingertips with the Arm development ecosystem the pace of developer middleware is increasing in three areas of development, deployment, and dependencies.

Developers can build highly performant code for Arm without needing to build two targets or two flavours of an application to target Arm. The runtime figures out what architecture an app should be launched as when using AnyCPU but they don't run automatically as Arm to maintain compatibility so can add the Arm64 supported architecture to make sure that applications run under the correct architecture on Arm. Container app deployment is a popular way of packaging and deploying applications as can have a streamlined development workflow supporting isolation and security along with efficient resource utilisation, portability and collaboration plus reproducibility. Developers want to deploy their apps to Docker but until now Docker Desktop has not been available on Arm but now is available to allow developers to develop their best applications and something developers have been asking for a long time!

The session on the next generation of Windows on Arm was interesting as the progress that has been made is immense with many powerful Copilot + PCs just announced during the week of Microsoft Build that take advantage of Arm with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite System on Chip NPUs, this helps usher in the era of low power usage and long battery life for AI powered PCs.

Developer experience improvements in Windows

The next session was on developer experience improvements in Windows where there have been a series of products produced for developers including Windows Terminal, Windows Subsystem for Linux, Dev Home, PowerToys and WinGet. Microsoft has now introduced a new feature called Projects which allows developers to get into their workflow instantly by invoking Window layouts for applications to get into a project or task quickly and works well with multiple windows and can go from work to home with multiple projects and support for multiple screen resolutions along with command line arguments, so can customise the way applications open with projects.

Dev Home is the one-stop shop for developers to get everything they need and has a customisable dashboard that is full extensible, it also has support for some PowerToys that are being deployed into Dev Home such as Host File Editor, Registry Preview and Environment Variables Editor but other utilities could be deployed this way too. Dev Home also has a new Environments page to configure connections to Dev Boxes or Hyper-V environments along with being able to create new ones and there are plans for additional types of environments in the future. Machine Configuration allows you to set up your environment with workloads such as those for game development and can also clone repositories and install any needed applications and you can specify the ideal state you want on your machine.

Windows has improvements to File Explorer coming soon which is source control integration to show last change message, version status and other columns as needed to see information you need at a glance along with which branch you have checked out. New Windows customisation gives developers agency over their machine where you can toggle settings for File Explorer and there is also a feature to quiet any background processes not needed for development so you can give your CPU more resources when it matters most. Dev Drive has been improved, which is storage that gives a performance boost for I/O scenarios, and you can get insights on how to improve performance such as moving package caches to the Dev Drive and Dev Drive itself is being optimised to be faster in general including block cloning.

Command Line improvements include to WinGet where you can perform operations such as creating a Windows Sandbox and then bootstrap WinGet within this and run any additional configuration files such as PowerShell script and coming soon will be the ability to export the settings of applications to generate a configuration file so not only can you install an application but be able to configure the settings. If you close a Command Line window there is now terminal buffer restore which will include any commands and even output from the previous Command Line session. You can stay in the Command Line more often with environment path refresh and sudo for Windows which allows you to run an elevated command without having to have the Window elevated to run commands as admin.

It was great to see this session as last year I participated in a Coffee with the Windows for Developers Team about a developer feature on Windows they were workshopping. However, I can't say whether any of the features mentioned during the session during Microsoft Build were the one they were workshopping last year, but what I can say it was great to see the new features they have added for developers.

Navigating Win32 App Development with WinUI and WPF

Finally, my last highlighted session was on Navigating Win32 App Development with WinUI and WPF. Microsoft has modernised technology in both WPF and WinUI allowing developers to create great Windows 10 and Windows 11 applications. WinUI 3 or Windows App SDK and WPF or Windows Presentation Foundation are both great choices that are actively developed XAML-based Microsoft backed technologies with their own unique strengths.

Win UI powers key experiences in Windows, coming from Universal Windows Platform and is a technology of choice for new features on Windows such as Windows Recall from Copilot + PCs and WinUI is optimised for modern experiences and hardware with flexibility for language and CPU support with modern UI and usability built in. WinUI 3 is the easier option to modernise applications going forward plus if new to Windows application development, then WinUI is a great choice plus it even easier to get started as there is a new Windows app development workload in Visual Studio.

WinUI applications include the new Photos app which features a great scrolling experience and is also used in the Gallery Tab in File Explorer which is also written in WinUI 3. Developers can find samples and documentation along with the WinUI 3 Gallery which shows recently added or updated samples and features controls used in the Photos app and File Explorer. WinUI 3 has great performance with many controls and supports .NET 8 AoT or ahead of time compilation for a 45% smaller distribution and 50% faster launching applications and since all of WinUI 3 is native you only need to optimise your own C# code.

Windows Presentation Foundation or WPF supports native code execution and hardware acceleration for complex rendering and with XAML islands you can replace parts of an application with modern components where needed. WPF is mature and well supported and don't have to wrestle with frameworks when developing applications. WPF has been around for over fifteen years and is industry proven, reliable and stable with a vibrant ecosystem, along with rich and stable support to help create applications. WPF also has lots of documentation and tutorials created over the years, plus you can modernise legacy WPF applications for modern .NET. There is a new WPF Gallery application coming as part of .NET 9, and you can update older WPF applications to get the new look and feel of modern Windows applications easily by including the new Fluent resources.

Windows App SDK enables incremental adoption where developers can focus on piecemeal updates and integrate different modern content together and prioritise predictable consistency where developers can target down-level to Windows 10 RS5 and Windows Server 2019. Windows App SDK supports controlled updates where can verify updates and deploy on the timing of Windows App SDK releases where developers can validate their apps and decide when to move forward. Packaging makes it easy to use Windows App SDK, but unpackaged applications can also take advantage of Windows App SDK but if you do package your application, you can take advantage of better privacy and security as well as faster installs and cleaner uninstalls. Windows App SDK also supports widgets, application lifecycle, scene graph and Windows Copilot Library. Windows Copilot Library will make it easy to develop AI experiences with the new Windows App SDK 1.6 for Copilot + PCs with support for forty on-device AI models with state-of-the-art algorithms and multiple applications can take advantage of AI hardware and models. It will also be possible to add 3D content using Windows App SDK which allows you to being in custom content more easily than DirectX in Windows App SDK.

It was great to see a session with a great focus on WinUI 3 or Windows App SDK and Windows Presentation Foundation, both of which were barely mentioned at Microsoft Build 2023 but now at Microsoft Build 2024 they are both viable and fully supported options for developers to create modern native application for Windows.


Microsoft Build 2024 showed how much had changed since Microsoft Build 2023 in the keynotes with great innovations and investment for developers using AI, either leveraging existing models or even creating or training their own models. Microsoft is leading the way to enable developers to create their own AI experiences or leverage thousands of existing models out there from Large Language Models like GPT-4o to Small Language Models that run on devices like the new Copilot + PCs like Phi. You can read about what was covered in the keynotes at or check out the link in the show notes.

Microsoft Build 2024 also had great sessions showing innovation for developers targeting Windows on Arm or for developers developing on Windows such as features like Projects so you can manage your workspace by having a set of Windows open and ready for each project or task you are working on, or features in Dev Home such as Environments to set up or connect to environments such as Dev Box or Hyper-V and many other enhancements to help developers developing on Windows work more efficiently. Finally having sessions covering Windows Presentation Foundation or WPF and WinUI 3 or Windows App SDK was great to see including that both platforms are recommended for developers rather than just one. Overall, it was great to see how AI is transforming the ability for people to do more thanks to AI innovations from Microsoft, their partners along with developers to create these experiences that impact people in ways that either weren't possible or couldn't be imagined just a few years ago was amazing to see and hear about! You can read about what was covered in some of the sessions at or check out the link in the show notes.


Thanks for listening to the RoguePlanetoid Podcast where each episode you will find insights about Microsoft or related platforms and technology, along with so much more wherever you listen to your podcasts or at for the RoguePlanetoid Podcast whether you are a beginner or an experienced professional or just interested in technology. Keep Current, Keep Coding!

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