Empowering every developer to innovate with Azure

As developers, we are the builders of our era, creating the ideas and writing the code that helps organizations digitally transform. We pioneer innovation that disrupts countless industries and help businesses endure tough times. With every organization rethinking its business, it’s more important than ever that Microsoft helps empower developers at every organization to innovate. We see companies of all sizes—from large enterprises to family-run businesses—unlocking business value and addressing the needs of their customers with innovative solutions built on the Microsoft Cloud.

Each of our innovation journeys is unique, whether our goal is to modernize existing applications, build new intelligent applications, or adopt DevOps best practices to develop for the cloud. Microsoft empowers each of us on our unique journey with an end-to-end cloud platform that lets us quickly and easily create building blocks and a secure foundation for all our applications. At Microsoft Ignite, we are sharing a host of new capabilities that enable developers to continue innovating more effectively with Microsoft Azure, the Visual Studio family, GitHub, and Power Apps.

Modernize existing applications

When it comes to public cloud adoption, a common starting point is to modernize existing applications, and the conversation is focused on how to future-proof them. Particularly for developers building enterprise applications, it’s critical to modernize existing solutions without causing disruption to the business. To accomplish that, many customers rely on the cloud to modernize existing applications either by refactoring with minimal changes—while achieving increased resiliency, scalability, security, and reduced operational costs—or by completely re-architecting them to increase agility and the rate of innovation.

Azure supports multiple approaches to application modernization—from lifting-and-shifting virtual machines (VMs), to modernizing apps using fully managed PaaS services and databases, to fully containerized microservices. Customers can also improve operations before, during, and after the modernization journey with modern application development practices enabled by Microsoft’s comprehensive DevOps toolchain, fully integrated with our platform services.

Azure remains the best cloud for modernizing .NET applications, with millions of web apps hosted on Azure App Service, the only fully managed web app platform with native support for both Windows and Linux. With the recent general availability of Windows Container support, customers can now run a broader array of existing .NET applications in Azure, and the new Azure Reservations on App Service instances provide deep cost savings compared with running these applications on-premises. To make this journey easier, we offer free and simple-to-use tools to migrate existing applications to Azure, and programmatic support through the Azure Migration Program that helps customers with large or complex migration projects.

We are also helping customers modernize legacy .NET codebases by introducing the new .NET Upgrade Assistant (now in preview), a command-line tool that provides step-by-step instructions for upgrading to the latest versions of .NET. Optimizely (Episerver) is an example of a customer already using this tool to move their large, mission-critical .NET framework-based Windows applications to the modern, cross-platform, high-performing .NET 5.

Azure also offers a range of options to modernize Java applications. We are adding new capabilities for running Java EE or Jakarta EE and Spring apps in Azure—spanning from virtual machines to fully managed container platforms and PaaS services like Azure Spring Cloud.

To ease deployment of existing Java EE applications without major changes, the Azure Marketplace now offers automated templates for Oracle WebLogic Server, with new integrations coming soon—including aggregated logs to managed ELK on Azure for analysis, App Gateway to securely manage network access to apps, and Oracle Coherence for a distributed cache.

Many customers modernize Java apps using containers, such as AIA Singapore, which accelerated their digital transformation by moving mission-critical Java apps to Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Making it easier to get up and running while allowing for a high degree of customization, we are now providing new guidance and automated scripts to deploy WebLogic on AKS and IBM WebSphere either on AKS or Azure Red Hat OpenShift. Additionally, you can use new automated tooling to move Apache Tomcat apps to AKS with Azure Migrate App Containerization. For a fully managed service experience, Azure Spring Cloud offers a feature-rich platform to build and run Spring Boot apps.

To facilitate the management of mission-critical Java apps, Azure Spring Cloud is adding support for two important enterprise features that are now generally available: Managed Virtual Network (VNET) for full control of inbound and outbound network communications and Autoscale to be more cost-efficient by automatically scaling apps up or down based on load or schedule.

However you choose to modernize your applications, Azure has the tools and services to help. But we know not everything is just about technical capabilities and support on the platform, so we continue to offer and improve expert assistance to help you along the way. For example, the Azure Migration Program is expanding its support for Application Modernization with an expanded set of app modernization scenarios beyond .NET—notably including Java or LAMP stack—as well as introducing new support for containerization in our Azure Migrate tools to simplify this process.

Build new intelligent applications

Customers are innovating at a faster pace by using cloud-native architectures to build applications designed for the cloud, thereby providing new capabilities for their businesses and improving the experience for their customers. The architecture of these applications is based on containerization, loosely coupled microservices, integrated DevOps best practices, managed databases, AI, and built-in monitoring to detect issues before they happen. These apps are typically powered by elastic infrastructure that adjusts to changing load volumes, supports zero-downtime deployments, and provides low-latency access to distributed data.

Azure provides a broad range of services to build cloud-native applications, including the most comprehensive set of serverless technology that enables customers to build modern applications while focusing on delivering value, not managing infrastructure. Azure offers a unique end-to-end platform that lets customers build rich experiences in partnership with non-traditional developers, enabling the organization to tap into the talent closest to the business challenge at hand. All these services are well integrated with our portfolio of developer tools—from the Visual Studio family to GitHub and Power Apps.

In this remote-first world, businesses continue to quickly adapt to the needs of their customers and connect with them through engaging experiences. It’s now easy for developers to help people more easily connect through calling and messaging experiences within mobile apps, desktop applications, and websites using Azure Communication Services. This fully managed and secure communication platform also powers Microsoft Teams, and with flexible SDKs and APIs for common languages and platforms, businesses can start building rich communication experiences on a secure, global platform in just a few days.

Announced earlier this week, we’re helping businesses stay even more closely connected with their customers by enabling interoperability between Azure Communication Services and Microsoft Teams (in preview). This means users in the organization can use Microsoft Teams to communicate with customers by messaging or calling using a custom app or website. Customer support or similar response scenarios can now be expedited with Azure Communication Services, as it is also powering conversational AI experiences over traditional phone lines with a new telephony channel through Azure Bot Service (also in preview). Learn more about Azure Communication Services—which will become generally available later this month.

Developing for the Cloud

Digital transformation and organizational resilience in today’s global climate depends not only on developers driving innovation but also on enabling them with the tools to successfully code, collaborate, and ship innovative applications securely, from anywhere. Microsoft’s end-to-end developer experience and fully integrated tooling enable developers to create reliable, global, and secure applications faster. We are deeply committed to infusing modern development practices and emerging trends into our tools for every developer, no matter their skill level. Our platform provides best-in-class tools, SDKs for every language, a platform to support continuous collaboration and delivery, and the Power Platform for rapid application development through low-code solutions. Both professional and citizen developers alike have access to the latest technologies and a cutting-edge toolchain that supports the way they work, enabling all of them to create applications using their favorite tools.

Microsoft Azure, the Visual Studio family, and GitHub all come together seamlessly to enable development teams in any organization to build more productively. Developers can work flexibly from anywhere with the help of cloud-powered development environments, which make any device a development machine. They can collaborate without friction as a distributed team and collaborate with the open-source community in natural ways. They can also confidently ship and maintain code securely, with services and tools that enable them to monitor performance.

Visual Studio continues to be a favorite tool for professional developers across the globe, and we are making them even more productive with new capabilities in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.9 – now generally available. Developers can now create and clone Git repositories from within Visual Studio, as we have improved the built-in Git workflows experience in the integrated development environment (IDE). The new Git experience comes with a rich Git repository window that makes it easy to visualize the entire history of your repository and, if you run into a merge conflict, the Git Changes tool will clearly list unmerged changes. We are also making it easier to deploy your .NET Core applications to Azure right from the IDE. Visual Studio will now generate a GitHub Actions workflow file that builds and deploys your apps to Azure on each commit automatically. For .NET Core developers targeting Linux, now you can use the .NET Core Debugging with Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) 2 feature to debug your .NET Core apps directly in WSL 2 without leaving Visual Studio. Download Visual Studio 2019 version 16.9 today or start previewing version 16.10.

Microsoft is working closely with customers around the world and supporting development teams who are looking to adopt best-in-class developer tools to support their changing software development needs, including remote developer productivity. For example, Carhartt needed to quickly transition their developers to an existing tool while working remotely to help the company make distribution decisions and handle a sudden flood of phone and online orders. Microsoft partnered with Carhartt to support their development teams to work securely from anywhere, using any device, with all the tools they need—such as Visual Studio Code and Azure. By enabling Carhartt developers to work from anywhere seamlessly and securely, using the tools and environments they know and love, Carhartt was able to ensure business continuity and realize an increase in developer productivity.

Software development is continuously evolving, and developer tools need to reflect the changes in modern development workflows. While some apps require more control and custom code, some applications (such as line-of-business apps) can be created faster with a low code approach. And now it’s easier than ever for any person closest to the business problem—even if they’re not a professional developer—to innovate with Azure with the help of low-code application development with Power Apps. Listening to customer feedback, we are also building a low-code programming language using Excel formula language, coming later this year. We continue improving the Power Platform as we are adding more control to connectors and data integration. For example, customers can now use advanced Azure Security Center capabilities, apply data loss prevention policies to Azure API Management connectors, and configure and enforce compliance policies using Azure Policy. They can also analyze and gain insights from the data coming from Power Apps by using Azure Synapse with a shared data lake with the Power Platform.

Empowering every developer

In today’s environment, development teams and software development excellence are more critical than ever for business success. To enable organizations to learn how they can accelerate business performance through software excellence, we are releasing a new Developer Velocity report, as well as updates to the Developer Velocity Assessment tool. For additional details, learn more about our latest industry research.

Application innovation and modern application development are about building and running applications differently. To help developers modernize applications, build new intelligent applications, and develop for the cloud, Microsoft empowers every developer with the most comprehensive developer toolkit and platform—no matter where they are. Check out our session at Microsoft Ignite to see it all in action with awesome demos, and stay tuned with Azure.com for the latest information.

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