Microsoft Build – Day One

Microsoft’s Build conference kicked off today in San Francisco. The keynote provided a snapshot of how Microsoft is going to double-down on its previous commitment to open source, cross-platform, and helping developers create amazing experiences. Though some if it may seem shocking, it shouldn’t be when combined with the earlier commitments such as creating .NET Core and ASP.NET Core to run .NET applications on Mac and Linux and bringing SQL Server to Linux. We’ll unpack some of the most interesting and exciting announcements from Build in the paragraphs that follow. More to follow tomorrow for Day 2!
270 million machines actively running Windows 10
It’s easy to make fun of any missteps Microsoft makes, such as the Start Menu debacle in Windows 8, but it’s hard to ignore the install-base for Windows or the visionary leadership Microsoft is offering right now with the Windows platform. If you want to make an impact on the desktop, Windows is the place to do it–and Windows 10 specifically, because of how quickly its being adopted by the community.Now, with a single and universal app store across all Windows 10 devices (desktop, tablet, phone, Xbox, HoloLens, etc) there a very compelling story for writing an app once and deploying it on many platforms–even iOS and Android (keep reading).
Xamarin to create iOS and Android apps on Windows
As we detailed in our previous newsletter, Microsoft recently bought Xamarin. Xamarin allows developers to use Visual Studio, C# and .NET to build native Android and iOS applications. This, together with the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) allows you to target even non-Windows-based devices and share a lot of your code across all the versions of your app.
Windows 10 Anniversary Update coming for free this summer
A lot of the changes detailed in this newsletter are coming this summer when the Anniversary Update for Windows 10 is released. Previously known by the “Redstone” codename, this update will be free for all Windows 10 devices.

Linux Bash command line in Windows
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the Build keynote was the announcement that the bash shell (from Linux) is coming to Windows. And it’s “not a VM. This is not cross-compiled tools. This is native,” says Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo. This signals, yet again, Microsoft isn’t joking about its commitment to creating experiences on any platform and open source tools. Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman has a blog post detailing more about this if you’re interested.

Microsoft Ink 
One of my favorite demos in the Build keynote was the pen and ink improvements in the upcoming Windows 10 update. There was a really cool touch-based ruler the user was able to move around on the screen exactly like a real ruler. Then, the user was able to snap object to the ruler or draw lines along it’s edge with the pen, interacting with it in exactly the same way you would in real life. Anyone remember the (failed) Microsoft Tablet PC of 2001? Well, it’s back, and now technology and apps have caught up!

Combining the Xbox and Windows app stores
With the release of the Anniversary Update for Windows 10, the Windows and Xbox app stores will come together into a single store. This change has been in the offing for years. It’s the realization of one of Microsoft’s primary goals in creating the Universal Windows Platform (UWP): getting a single app store across all Windows devices. You can now add Xbox to the list of devices to which you can deploy your Universal Windows Apps.

Hololens dev kits shipping
The biggest announcement at Build last year was definitely the Hololens, an augmented reality computer-and-glasses combination that totally blew us away. The developer units of Hololens are shipping today to allow the developer community to get started creating even more great apps and content for this game-changing device.

We feel like Hololens differentiates itself in two major ways. First, it’s an entire computer. There’s no need to pair it with another device for more computing power. The Hololens IS the computer.

Second, it uses augmented reality instead of virtual reality. Virtual reality–creating an entire virtual world the user can interact with–certainly has its place, but we think augmented reality has even more compelling real-world uses. Augmented reality allows the user to add virtual elements to their perception of the real world. One can easily imagine information being superimposed on real life and interacting with other people together around that shared visualization. Outside of games and simulations, though, it’s harder to imagine many real-world uses for virtual reality.

That’s why we’re so excited about Hololens. It changes the game–and does in with a device running Windows 10, which allows developers like us to create applications just as easily as the ones we’re creating today for other Windows devices.

Conversations, AI and Bots Everywhere!

A common theme throughout the AI (Artificial Intelligence) demos was bots. Bots integrating into Skype, into apps, into phone calls… If you have used Slack and its myriad of integrations, you are used to the concept of mixes of apps, bots and people in a conversation. In fact, Nadella was talking about Conversation Canvases, and Conversation as a Platform. Read more at, and To get a feel for how wide this concept is, take a look at the menu structure of APIs!

Cortana grows up
Cortana has evolved way past Microsoft Bob and has gone from annoying to surpassing her sisters Siri and Google Now. You will find her helping you out inside Skype, and offering to set reminders for things you promise to do in conversations or email. In fact, as shown in a demo, Cortana will be brokering conversations between you and bots! You will also be able to integrate her services into your own apps.

What does all this mean?
There are some very exciting opportunities in this new wave of technologies, and also some drastic changes:

On the one side: The whole demo of a professor teaching Case Western students remotely using Hololens was amazing – definitely helpful for bringing great teachers to remote students, and of course helpful with say remote surgery. Also within aviation, construction, home improvement… the possibilities are endless. Here is where we will create a lot of highly skilled jobs building this software, and it will enhance the jobs of existing employees.

On the flip side: the amazing advances in AI, from deep understanding of language, to facial expressions, will surely eliminate a huge number of low skilled jobs, like picking up the phone at the pizza store. You might argue these are brain-dead jobs…but still, they are paying jobs, they will disappear, and this technology provides new jobs for a lot fewer, highly skilled engineers. I think we are seeing the beginning of a trend in eliminating service jobs. Since we are a service economy, this should be worrying a lot of people…who didn’t watch the keynote.

Another reflection is that this is a flash back to the original visions around web services, how different applications would all work together as components, to help you do things like book tickets and hotels. But now, instead of the glue being APIs written and consumed by developers, these ‘micro services’ are glued together by bots and orchestrated by Cortana. Web Services have come full circle from machine to machine connections, to personal services.

To sum it up so far, a lot of far reaching and exciting technological and social changes, and this is just day one. Stay tuned for day two!

Related Blog Posts

We hope you’ve found this to be helpful and are walking away with some new, useful insights. If you want to learn more, here are a couple of related articles that others also usually find to be interesting:

Manage Your Windows Applications With Winget

Winget, Microsoft’s native package manager for Windows 10 (version 1709 and later) and Windows 11, offers a streamlined CLI for efficient application management. This blog post introduces Winget’s installation and basic commands for installing, updating, and removing software. It highlights the tool’s ability to manage non-Winget-installed apps and explores curated package lists for batch installations. The post also recommends top Winget packages, noting some may require a paid subscription.

Read More

Our Gear Is Packed and We're Excited to Explore With You

Ready to come with us? 

Together, we can map your company’s software journey and start down the right trails. If you’re set to take the first step, simply fill out our contact form. We’ll be in touch quickly – and you’ll have a partner who is ready to help your company take the next step on its software journey. 

We can’t wait to hear from you! 

Main Contact

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Together, we can map your company’s tech journey and start down the trails. If you’re set to take the first step, simply fill out the form below. We’ll be in touch – and you’ll have a partner who cares about you and your company. 

We can’t wait to hear from you! 

Montage Portal

Montage Furniture Services provides furniture protection plans and claims processing services to a wide selection of furniture retailers and consumers.

Project Background

Montage was looking to build a new web portal for both Retailers and Consumers, which would integrate with Dynamics CRM and other legacy systems. The portal needed to be multi tenant and support branding and configuration for different Retailers. Trailhead architected the new Montage Platform, including the Portal and all of it’s back end integrations, did the UI/UX and then delivered the new system, along with enhancements to DevOps and processes.


We’ve logged countless miles exploring the tech world. In doing so, we gained the experience that enables us to deliver your unique software and systems architecture needs. Our team of seasoned tech vets can provide you with:

Custom App and Software Development

We collaborate with you throughout the entire process because your customized tech should fit your needs, not just those of other clients.

Cloud and Mobile Applications

The modern world demands versatile technology, and this is exactly what your mobile and cloud-based apps will give you.

User Experience and Interface (UX/UI) Design

We want your end users to have optimal experiences with tech that is highly intuitive and responsive.


This combination of Agile software development and IT operations provides you with high-quality software at reduced cost, time, and risk.

Trailhead stepped into a challenging project – building our new web architecture and redeveloping our portals at the same time the business was migrating from a legacy system to our new CRM solution. They were able to not only significantly improve our web development architecture but our development and deployment processes as well as the functionality and performance of our portals. The feedback from customers has been overwhelmingly positive. Trailhead has proven themselves to be a valuable partner.

– BOB DOERKSEN, Vice President of Technology Services
at Montage Furniture Services

Technologies Used

When you hit the trails, it is essential to bring appropriate gear. The same holds true for your digital technology needs. That’s why Trailhead builds custom solutions on trusted platforms like .NET, Angular, React, and Xamarin.


We partner with businesses who need intuitive custom software, responsive mobile applications, and advanced cloud technologies. And our extensive experience in the tech field allows us to help you map out the right path for all your digital technology needs.

  • Project Management
  • Architecture
  • Web App Development
  • Cloud Development
  • DevOps
  • Process Improvements
  • Legacy System Integration
  • UI Design
  • Manual QA
  • Back end/API/Database development

We partner with businesses who need intuitive custom software, responsive mobile applications, and advanced cloud technologies. And our extensive experience in the tech field allows us to help you map out the right path for all your digital technology needs.

Our Gear Is Packed and We're Excited to Explore with You

Ready to come with us? 

Together, we can map your company’s tech journey and start down the trails. If you’re set to take the first step, simply fill out the contact form. We’ll be in touch – and you’ll have a partner who cares about you and your company. 

We can’t wait to hear from you! 

Thank you for reaching out.

You’ll be getting an email from our team shortly. If you need immediate assistance, please call (616) 371-1037.