This year’s //build/ is focused on the many things you can do with Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps. You can deploy to more devices than ever before, from the Xbox to the HoloLens. You can even turn your Xbox One into a dev machine. You also have enhanced versions of More Personal Computing features like Cortana, Inking and smart bots to get your head around.

The sheer number of sessions and features can be overwhelming. To help you get a taste of what’s happening in 2016, we’ve put together a list of the highlights from this year’s //build/, covering both important UWP information you don’t want to miss as well as amazing sessions you simply have to see for yourself.

One session is also included here simply because it has, hands down, one of the best session titles at //build/: How to Train Your Robot. It’s the sort of title that perfectly captures this year’s mood by turning our collective thoughts to the future and reminding us that Microsoft has just started something really big. There is no better time to be a developer.

The UWP User Experience

Creating Beautiful UX in Real-World UWP Apps – Having the best idea for an app is only half the battle. Ensuring your app has an engaging and beautiful experience that is playful and entices users to evoke emotion when using it is critical to customer excitement. Beautiful experiences delight users and delighted users continue to use your apps, tell others about it, and give positive store ratings. This session will focus on the UI/UX portions of a real app in the marketplace that has a solid UI foundation and will be enhanced with new capabilities around animations, effects, and enabling new playful experiences that will delight the user. We will explore the spectrum of the developer platform that enables this, from the low-level capabilities through some encapsulated features in XAML that make these experiences simpler to light up.

The Power of the EffectBrush – In this short talk, Chris and Kelly will explore key concepts, code, and demos for getting started with the Windows.UI.Composition effects system. You’ll learn how to describe, animate, and chain effects for UWP apps.

Adding Manipulations in the Visual Layer – Learn to enhance the user experience of your app and unleash your creativity with the new exciting element of interactivity linked to the powerful functionality of the animation engine in the visual layer. This talk show how to take animations beyond a typical time-based system and use input as the driving factor. We will start with a quick recap of how manipulations work today before moving on to building new creative and responsive interactive UI experiences for your UWP app. We will focus on how to hook up input animations to the flexibility of the visual layer to enable more customized scrolling and zooming experiences, input driven animation of effects, and other exciting responsive and interactive UI, such as gesture based navigation.

Using Expression Animations to Create Engaging UI – Learn to use the new animation engine to create custom and responsive motion experiences in your UWP app. This talk is a deep dive on how to use expression animations in the visual layer to build an engaging and exciting UI with incredible flexibility. This talk covers concepts ranging from creation of basic expression animations to using properties of visuals to drive expression animations.

More Personal Computing with UWP

Cortana Futures – Cortana is evolving from reminding users about things to helping them get things done. Cortana can now proactively surface your app to users in the right context and provide your app with relevant information on which to act. In this session, we’ll walk through these new Cortana capabilities and how your existing UWP apps—with minimal effort—can use them to increase engagement and discovery.

UWP Lifecycle and Background Execution – The app lifecycle is getting upgrades to cover the scenarios you care about most. In this session, we will cover the basics and best practices of the app execution lifecycle: how apps are activated and suspended. We will then dive in to learn what’s new in Background Execution and how to use the new Single Process Execution Model. You will also learn how to request an extension on the lifetime of your app in order to enable multitasking and complete actions that are critical to your user experience.

Pen and Ink: Inking at the Speed of Thought – Windows Ink is all about putting the pen front and center and integrating it into everything Windows.

UWP Fundamentals

Universal App Model Overview – The UWP App Model encompasses the way that apps are packaged and installed, how they store data and state, their background process and multitasking capabilities, their run/suspend/resume lifecycle, their navigation model, and how they are uninstalled. In this session, Andrew will introduce the new app model capabilities ranging from app deployment improvements, to enabling your existing desktop apps to take advantage of UWP, to exciting new capabilities to drive app engagement on all your devices.

Intro to Bluetooth Background Communication – Take a look at the Bluetooth classic communication paradigm that Windows 10 has to offer. With the latest APIs released just in time for Build 2016, you’ll see that devices don’t always have to be paired in order to communicate with Windows. Learn all about sockets, Bluetooth RFCOMM, background triggers, and how your app can effectively use Bluetooth even while unpaired.

Universal 3D Printing with Windows – 3D printing is now universal across Windows devices, including Desktop, Tablet, phone, and HoloLens. In this talk, you will learn about the various app and game scenarios that are enabled by 3D printing. You will also see the various ways that developers can integrate 3D printing into universal windows and desktop apps in a consistent way across devices.

Spatial Audio in UWP – In the next release of Windows, we will bring spatial audio to UWP developers. Xbox, Windows Desktop, HoloLens, and Windows Mobile app developers will be able to add Spatial Audio to their UWP apps either directly from their app or through a Unity plugin. During this session, you will learn how the AudioGraph API works, how you can add Spatial Audio to your app, game, or experience.

Tools and Platforms

Building Great UWP Apps for Xbox – Learn more about building great UWP apps for Xbox.

Windows 10 IoT Core: from Maker to Market – With Windows 10 IoT Core, we have made it so anyone can learn, build, and productize Things—intelligent, connected devices with apps. From the novice student to the experienced pro developer, the tool set, technologies, and platform grow with you from Maker to Market. In this session, you’ll learn about how to leverage the value of Windows and easily build these next generation devices based on hardware like the Raspberry Pi 3. You’ll see how the experience grows with your capabilities, and how we have made Windows approachable and relevant for real world, intelligent, connected devices.

Building UWP 2D Apps for Microsoft HoloLens – All apps built for Microsoft HoloLens run on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). That also means that all UWP apps built for phone and desktop can work on HoloLens too. We call these 2D apps since on HoloLens they are rendered and projected on 2D surfaces. In this talk we’ll cover everything you need to know about making a 2D UWP app that works great on HoloLens.

Tools for XAML Apps in Visual Studio vNext – Visual Studio vNext has some great XAML tooling and we’ll dive deeper to show you what’s new!

Beyond the Browser: Cross Platform Meets Cross Device – You already have a web dev workflow and deploy your code to a backend of your choice. You are writing code across Mac OS, Windows, or both. This session will cover how you can leverage your existing workflow, while deeply integrating with Windows devices across PC, Phone, Xbox, and IoT. Whether you want to incorporate Continuum, Cortana, or any other native Windows API, just feature detect in JavaScript and code away. This session is great for all web developers. From ASP .NET to Angular and React, you’ll be able to easily create a UWP app from existing web code.

Cool Things You Can Do With UWP

How to Train Your Robot – Watch how a UWP app can use a combination of Bluetooth and sensor APIs to teach a robot how to respond to contextual changes in the world around it.

The Magic Mirror – Check out a web-based app using a Raspberry Pi and camera to create a mirror that readies the owner to take on their day. In this session, we’ll talk about how hosted web apps provide a new way of delivering rich local experiences with dynamic, server-side content.

Source: Best of Build 2016 | Building Apps for Windows