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d!nk keeps innovating: 6 things we learned from Build 2016


Microsoft Build is the annual developer conference fest of Microsoft. As d!nk is an early adopter of Windows tablets (we had the first business app in the Belgian Windows Store back in 2012) and cloud technologies, we closely follow the developments at Microsoft to release tablet systems. More and more Windows-powered hybrid devices (tablet + laptop) are available now and we observe a 50/50 Windows/iOS platform choice for new customers. That’s why 2 d!nk developers headed for San Francisco to watch and learn at Build.

d!nk keeps innovating: 6 things we learned from Build 2016

Build 2016 was filled with strong technical sessions, labs, as well as opportunities to meet and learn from others in the industry. Microsoft was focusing on bots, AI, app intelligence, HoloLens, IoT and the Universal Windows Platform.

  1. Xamarin for free

Development of apps across multiple platform is a headache. FOr advanced apps like d!nk, 3 apps have to be maintained and released (Windows, iOS and Android). Microsoft recently acquired Xamarin to provide a single development environment for the 3 mobile platforms. In order to boost adoption of Windows apps, Microsoft announced Xamarin developer tools are now free and part of Visual Studio. Developers can now use this tools to easy port apps written in C# to other platforms (iOS, Android). Using automated tests running on Xamarin test cloud with over 2000 real devices in the cloud developers can be sure that apps are working on all devices. Learn more at .

Microsoft is even going further to lure iOS developers: project Islandwood (the Windows Bridge for iOS) to port from iOS to Universal Windows Platform. Windows Bridge for iOS provides an Objective-C development environment for Visual Studio and support for iOS APIs. Lots of APIs are supported and new are added with every release. Learn more at .

Along with Windows Bridge for iOS, Desktop App Converter were announced. This converter automatically transforms Win32 and .NET apps into modern Universal Windows Platform apps that can run across different device form factors.

  1. Microsoft Cognitive Services

With Microsoft Cognitive Services, Microsoft took the artificial intelligence science and made it into a platform that any developer could incorporate into their app. There are 22 services available for vision, speech, language, knowledge and search aspects of intelligence. Learn more at . d!NK is working on new features that will use intelligence services to improve and give better experience of sales processes.

  1. Microsoft Bot framework

Bots (or conversation agents) provides a way for users to interact with a service or application as is a web site or a mobile experience and open great opportunities for bringing the user experience to a next level. The Bot Framework provides tools to easily build and connect intelligent bots that interact naturally. They also provide automatic translation to more than 30 languages, user and conversation state management, debugging tools and an embeddable web chat control. Bots can be seamlessly connected to text/sms, Office 365 mail, Skype, Slack, and other services. Learn more at .

  1. Microsoft Azure

Microsoft is continuously building massive datacenters to provide better experience of Azure services. One of the interesting things is ‘Service Fabric’ that manages stateful and stateless microservices that can be deployed on Azure, Azure Stack, VMWare, OpenStack or AWS. This microservices can scales dynamically based on load and can automatically recover if something went wrong in development.

There is a new Azure service called Power BI embedded for in-app data visualization. Power BI takes raw data and visualizes them for customers. It supports basics, like graphs and charts, but also custom graphics. New applications and features at d!nk use power of the Azure services, as well as Power BI service.

  1. Microsoft Office

Office products are transforming to services allowing developers to build intelligent apps by connecting them to Office services. One of the service is Microsoft Graph, a unified API endpoint, for accessing data, intelligence, and insights coming from the Microsoft cloud (learn more at ). Native apps can now point to web apps and fetch values quickly.

Microsoft Office add-ins are now available for Mac. Also, Office 365 Group Connectors and Skype for Business Web and Mobile SDK are announced. The d!nk PowerPoint plugin will be improved by using Office services.

  1. Digital Ink

Microsoft announced open developer plugins that will let any developer add inking capabilities to their apps with just a few lines of code. New Ink Workspace is taking advantage of the power of the pen, allowing to create sketches, write sticky notes, annotate screenshots, and find pen-enabled apps. One of the most interesting provided API is a virtual ruler that users can rotate and move around freely to make drawing on-screen easier. Also, some auto-alignment and adjustment tools are available to make everything from highlighting text fall into place to drawing charts easier. The power of Inking will be incorporated in d!nk sales app.

On a sidenote: did you know that the name d!nk actually is derived from “Digital ink”?

Learn more

All sessions are recorded and are available on demand via Channel 9 –


About Kenny Wyckmans

Kenny is Marketing manager at d!NK. He joined the company in its early days. Passionate about marketing & digital communication, Kenny keeps the pulse on d!NK’s market. He is in daily contact with d!NK’s customers and prospects to understand their sales interactions and detect opportunities for d!NK to improve the sales effectiveness. An entrepreneur at heart, Kenny founded his webdesign agency in 2006 while still at school.

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