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Microsoft to Windows devs: You’re all Microsoft 365 developers now

Microsoft’s Build 2019 is focusing on development on three different clouds—on Microsoft Azure, on Microsoft’s new gaming cloud, and on Microsoft 365. It’s the third—Microsoft 365—that will be of most interest to Windows developers, as the fusion of Windows and Office 365 through the Microsoft Graph is at the heart of much of Microsoft’s desktop and mobile application development strategy.

What does this future look like for developers? Prior to Build 2019 I talked to Rob Howard, senior director of Microsoft 365 Apps Marketing, and Kevin Gallo, CVP of Windows Developer Platform, about some of the Microsoft 365 and Windows development features being announced in Seattle.

Building on Microsoft 365

With Build 2019, Microsoft is positioning the Microsoft 365 “productivity cloud” as the default platform for Windows enterprise application development. You may be building Win32 or UWP or web apps, but as far as Microsoft is concerned, you’re a Microsoft 365 developer. It’s an important shift, as it moves the focus away from the PC and your other devices to the underlying data, encapsulated in the Microsoft graph. Howard is quick to point out that “the critical piece of this is that the data is owned by the customers; they control the data.”

If Microsoft 365 is to be the new foundation for enterprise applications, then it needs to offer authentication services. As part of the service you’ll get access to Microsoft Identity, with a set of authentication libraries for .Net and a quick way of registering your apps with the Microsoft Identity service. With the Microsoft Authentication Libraries, you can add authentication for Microsoft personal and work accounts to any application, with full access to the wider range of Windows authentication technologies, including Windows’ newest password-less authentication, as well as common multifactor authentication technologies.

You’re not limited to using the SDK. The Microsoft Identity service will work with any OpenID Connect endpoints, so you can use open source authentication tools as well. If you want to use Microsoft authentication tools outside the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, you can take advantage of Windows Hello’s FIDO2 certification, with the latest Windows 10 release, to use biometric authentication in FIDO2-compliant apps and on the web.

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