Roundup Microsoft continued its grand tradition of delivering developer tools and snapping up tech firms last week.
PowerShell in Code, Unions in TypeScript and Bots in Teams
While Visual Studio users got a tickle in the form of a second preview of the 2019 edition, Microsoft didn't forget about its open-source sibling, Visual Studio Code, and unleashed a preview of the PowerShell extension.
The extension, which supports PowerShell 5.1 and the new and shiny PowerShell Core 6 in Windows, fires up a console to allow devs to partake in all manner of PS shenanigans. What is particularly interesting (at least for command line jockeys like this author, who need all the help they can get) is PSReadLine support.
Existing PowerShell users will be familiar with PSReadLine, which brought helpful functions such as syntax colouring and multi-line editing to the shell. Now Visual Studio Code users get to join in the fun, in Preview form at least.
The release, which can be picked up using NuGet, doesn't break anything, but does introduce some new functionality. At the very least, it makes some old functionality work in a more logical way through tweaks to Union Types. Where previously the function was a little restrictive, the update intersects the parameters of Type signatures to create a new one.
The gang has also fixed an issue (or introduced a new feature, depending on your perspective) in the build process. Composite projects, introduced back in v3, allowed builds to be optimised by not compiling the whole thing every time. The team also lobbed out watch mode, which would only go for changed files (or anything that would hit dependencies).
Sadly, combining the two didn't really work as one might expect. As the team put it: "An update in one project under
--build --watch mode would force a full build of that project, rather than determining which files within that project were affected."
With v3.3 the team has dealt with this, and
-–watch flag now behaves more logically, taking into account file watching. For composite projects, a reduction of 50 to 75 per cent in build times has been seen, although your mileage may vary.
Finally, developers tasked with creating Bots for Microsoft's collaborative platform, Teams, were given a preview of version 4 of the Bot Framework SDK for .NET (Node.js users need not apply just yet – your time will come).
The update for the conversational service doesn't add anything in the way of functionality over the previous version, but it does tidy things up somewhat across languages and follows the design philosophy of ASP.NET Core. Microsoft is, however, at pains to point out that v3-based Bots will carry on working for the foreseeable future.
It's a PostgreSQL world
There was also news from the PostgreSQL front last week, with Azure tweaks and an acquisition taking centre stage.
Microsoft kicked off a public preview of data replication from a single Azure PostgreSQL server to up to five other read-only servers in the same Azure region, allowing users to scale things out using PostgreSQL's native async replication functionality.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has snapped up Citus Data, an open-source extension to scale out PostgreSQL databases by distributing data and queries across multiple nodes.
Hefty PostgreSQL workloads, of course, benefit hugely by being hit (or rather scaled) with the distributed technology stick and the extension will slip nicely into Azure's database lineup, alongside the likes of the hugely distributed NoSQL database, Cosmos DB.
Umur Cubukcu, Ozgun Erdogan, and Sumedh Pathak, co-founders of Citus Data, were quick to insist that Citus would continue participating in the Postgres community and continue working on the its eponymous open-source extension.
Skype and Teams get a Room
Skype has been reminded that its days as a business tool are numbered as Skype Rooms received a Teams rebrand. The tech formerly known as Skype Rooms Systems works with hardware vendors to allow users to set up one-touch-to-join meetings in conference rooms. Meetings should be collaborative (rather than a way of postponing work) so the Teams rebrand makes sense.
Microsoft was keen to point out that Teams Rooms will continue to work with Skype for Business for calls and meetings, but let's face it, Teams is where Microsoft would like its customers to be.
The OneDrive integration extension also completed its rollout for Skype as Microsoft trumpeted the arrival of the cloudy collaborative technology over all platforms (other than those little-used operating systems, macOS and Linux). The technology first made its appearance late last year for Skype Insiders, and we had a chat with the chap responsible for it as it started to hit the big time.
Hopefully this time OneDrive will not fall over in another entirely unconnected cock-up.
But what of those poor macOS and Linux users? One might be forgiven for thinking that "all platforms" would include the web app, but unless you are a Chrome user (or one of the vanishingly small number of Edge users) then Skype on the web will soon not be for you.
When Microsoft began touting the preview of the new and improved Skype web interface last year, it was only a matter of time before the existing incarnation was given a nudge toward the door.
Users began reporting messages appearing in the legacy web interface earlier this month, leading some to worry that Linux support was also disappearing. Linux-loving Microsoft would never dream of doing such a thing, and the full message stated: "Support for this version of Skype for Web is coming to an end. A new preview version is available now for Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome with HD video calling, call recording and much more."
So you'll be fine on the web. So long as you're using Google Chrome.
Another week, another Windows Insider release
Finally, in a week that kicked off with noted Windows prodder The Walking Cat spotting an job ad related to Windows Open Source Components, the April 2019 Update of Windows 10 slithered a little closer to release as build 18323 arrived.
Having admitted that the Windows Subsystem for Linux wasn't actually broken in the previous build after all (it's nice we all agree on that), the release is light on standout changes, with just a slew of tweaks and fixes to keep eager Windows Insiders amused during the single Bug Bash ahead of the update's eventual release. ®