A major focus for Microsoft at this year’s Connect(); 2017 conference was on ways to make developers more productive.

At the show’s opening today, Microsoft revealed a range of tools that offer quality of life improvements for developers, automating away the tedious and time-consuming parts of the job and making it easier for them to work remotely.

“Developers are core to Microsoft. We put developers at the heart of everything we do, deeply recognizing the role they play in developing the applications driving digital transformation across all organizations and industries,” said Microsoft corporate VP of communications Frank Shaw, speaking ahead of event.

SEE: Hiring kit: Python developer (Tech Pro Research)

First to be announced was Visual Studio App Center, which should help developers build and deploy apps more efficiently, according to Shaw.

The service will make it easier to deploy, test, build and monitor applications, without having to stitch together multiple products to maintain this workflow, freeing up developers to spend more time adding features and improving the user experience.

Shaw said it is a “one-stop” service where developers connect their code repository to app center and “within minutes App Center creates a pipeline of automated builds, testing on real devices in the cloud”. The service allows for distribution of apps to beta testers in app stores and monitoring of real-world usage with crash and analytics data.

The new cloud service works with Objective-C, Swift, Android, Java, Xamarin and React Native.

Microsoft also showed off Visual Studio Live Share, which will be available in preview in the new year. Much the same way that cloud-based office software lets remote workers edit a document at the same time, the service will allow remote developers to collaborate in real time, letting them edit and debug the same code without sitting at the same computer, while still using their personalized editor or IDE.

Also aimed at simplifying developer workflow and acclerating app development is Azure DevOps Projects, which allows devs to configure what Microsoft is calling a “full DevOps pipeline” and connect it to various Azure services in under 5 minutes, according to Shaw.

The service is designed to be easy to use, allowing developers to set up Git repositories and wire up automated build and release pipelines with a few clicks in the Azure portal GUI.

Also see