Microsoft kicked off its Ignite annual developer and IT professional conference in Orlando, and while, this isn’t a hardware event, the company is making a slew of announcements about software and services, including for Office, Cortana, Microsoft Edge, Azure, as well as new platform to build apps for Windows 10, Project Silica to store data on quartz glass, and much more.
Ignite 2019 announcements
If you couldn’t attend, or you didn’t have time to watch the keynote, here you can check out the most important announcements for Ignite 2019.
As part of Office announcements, during the conference, the company revealed that it’s backtracking the decision to discontinue the desktop version of OneNote. This means that OneNote 2016 will continue to have mainstream support until October 2025, and starting in March 2020, the Office installer will install the 2016 version of OneNote by default.
In addition, the desktop version of OneNote is also getting a new dark mode, which is rolling out in the coming days.
Office mobile app
At Ignite 2019, the software giant also unveiled a new Office app for Android and iOS designed to make the installation of Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) onto mobile devices a lot easier.
Using the app, you’ll be able to view recent documents as well as create new documents, and with the Office Lens feature, you’ll be able to scan tables and text with your mobile device to create files.
The Office app also includes an actions section with options to transfer files from your computer to phone, convert images into text, scan images into PDFs, add signature to PDFs documents, and more.
Along with the new mobile app, Microsoft is also introducing a new logo for Office, which keeps the familiar look, but now includes Fluent Design elements.
According to Microsoft, Fluid Framework is a new way to design Office experiences on the web that allows to improve collaboration and creation of content.
Instead of restricting content to a specific app (such as words in Word and number on Excel), using Fluid, you can use a canvas to create and combine any kind of content on a single place.
In the beginning, Microsoft is expected to start integrating Fluid in Outlook, SharePoint, Teams, OneNote, and it’ll eventually expand to more apps. Also, developers can integrate Fluid on its experiences.
Teams is getting new features, including Outlook integration to allow users to move and share emails in the chat.
“Private channels” have been another highly request feature in Teams, and it’s now coming to the chat platform.
Also, a new tasks pane is coming to give users a central customizable view for personal and assigned tasks. In addition, later this year, you’ll also be able to start pinning channels within the app, open the app on separate windows that is meant to work for documents, chats, meetings, and calls side-by-side.
Finally, the company is also planning to integrate Yammer into the Teams platform to quickly access events, conversations, and communities from Yammer. Microsoft Teams will be getting surveys and polls features, and much more.
There’s a new “Play My Emails” feature will allow the digital assistant to read emails and calendar events aloud.
Also, there’s a new “Briefing” feature that creates a digestible brief of your calendar in your inbox, and the “Scheduler” is a new feature to quickly add events and meetings to your calendar.
While it’s been known for a long time that Microsoft is building a new Edge browser for Windows 10, macOS, and Linux using the Chromium engine, it wasn’t clear when the first stable version will release.
According to the company, the plan is to release the Microsoft Edge on January 15, 2020. Initially, the browser will be available for Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and macOS with the version for Linux coming soon.
Alongside the release date, Microsoft officially revealed the new logo for Edge that ditches the Internet Explorer style for a new surfing wave style using blue and green colors that still retains the “e” shape.
At the Microsoft’s Ignite 2019 conference, the company also unveiled new details about its long-term data storage solution known as “Project Silica.”
The new storage technology uses a piece of quartz glass and ultrafast later optics to store data in the glass using a femtosecond later process.
The idea is to use this technology as an alternative solution to store data that reduces the footprint of current devices while using recycle materials.
On stage, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, showed off the concept, and for the first demo, the company parented up with Warner Bros to store the original 1978 Superman movie on a small piece of quartz glass.
During the conference, Microsoft also announced the alpha release of the Windows UI Library (WinUI) version 3.0, which is the next user interface framework to build apps for Windows 10.
Essentially, WinUI 3.0 closes the gap between Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and Win32 apps, and with this new framework, native controls found in UWP will be available for Win32 applications.
As part of the Azure announcements, at the Ignite 2019 conference, the company announced Azure Arc, which is a new service that will allow enterprises to manage resources across different cloud vendors, including Google Cloud and Amazon AWS, and it’ll work with Linux, Windows, and Kubernetes clusters.
The software giant also announced Power Virtual Agents are easy to build chatbots that don’t require much coding. The solution uses Azure machine learning to create chatbots using a user-friendly application.
Project Cortex is a new solution designed to create a knowledge database (Knowledge Network) of an organization, Microsoft explains. The solution uses machine learning to analyze the documents and contacts across the organization as well as of outside patterns, and then the information becomes available in Office apps, such as in Outlook and Teams.
Another solution that Microsoft has announced at Ignite 2019 is the Endpoint Manager, which is a new solution that combines ConfigMgr and Intune services to allow organizations to manage devices, such as desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones using one service.
Visual Studio web
At the Build 2019 conference, Microsoft revealed that a web version of Visual Studio with deep integration with GitHub was in development, and now, the environment is finally available in preview.
You can sign up to access the preview using this link.