Microsoft adds Breakout functionality to Teams that Zoom has had for ages – and people still don't like it

Also: PowerShell Crescendo, Visual Studio Code C++ on Pi, and a milestone for SharePoint


In Brief Microsoft's Teams continues to play catch-up to Zoom with the long-overdue implementation of Breakout rooms.

Finally hitting General Availability, the implementation deals with problematically large meetings by allowing the organiser to create up to 50 breakout rooms and either manually or automatically assign participants to those rooms.

The theory goes that attendees can chat away in their breakout room as well as being shifted around by the organiser as required.

Unlike Zoom, it is not yet possible to pre-assign attendees to breakout rooms when the meeting is scheduled, frustrating some users.

A Crescendo of cmdlets in PowerShell

Microsoft tossed a gift for administrators under the Chrimbo tree in the guise of a first preview of PowerShell Crescendo.

The purpose of the technology is to create a framework for the rapid development of cross-platform PowerShell cmdlets for native commands, although you'll need at least PowerShell 7.0 for authoring (Windows PowerShell 5.1 and above can execute).

The thinking is that Crescendo will simplify those native commands and provide familiar parameter handling as well as parsing text output from the native application into objects that can be manipulated by post-processing tooling.

The first preview shows promise, but has a little way to go on the useability front and requires JSON skills to create the necessary configuration file. Improvements in automatic JSON generation is being investigated for a future version, although the requirement has left some in the community a little disappointed.

Visual Studio Code hits 1.52 and C++ fun on the Raspberry Pi

Last week Microsoft released version 1.52 of cross-platform code wrangler Visual Studio Code.

While mainly a GitHub housekeeping release, the update featured a number of handy additions, including word-wrapping in the diff editor, undo and redo file operations in the Explorer, and the ability to create a keybinding from the Command Palette. Progress was also shown in the File Explorer for lengthy file operations and initial support for cancellation of those ops.

It was, however, the latest release of the Visual Studio Code C++ extension that will excite Pi fans. There are Visual Studio Code builds for Arm and Arm64 architectures, and the addition of the extension means C++ projects can be built and debugged directly on a Raspberry Pi rather than faffing about with remote-SSH.

Surface Pro X users also got access to IntelliSense in the C++ extension and, finally, support for building C++ projects on Windows Arm64.

SharePoint crests the 200 million mark

Finally, there are over 200 million lucky monthly active users of SharePoint in the cloud, according to Microsoft 365's corporate veep Jared Spataro.

The number has doubled in the last year and while Microsoft was quick to trumpet all the bells and whistles it has added, the events of 2020 will have played their part in the achievement. Spataro did not actually mention the "C" word (COVID, in case you're speculating) but did admit: "In the last year, as the world has pivoted to remote work, organizations of all sizes accelerated their adoption of Microsoft 365," resulting in the big SharePoint numbers.

The company also bragged about its placement in one of Gartner's Magic Quadrant reports (Microsoft is a leader in content services platforms, according to the analysts) and the overhaul of its new storage platform, deployed over 60 regional data centres and capable of supporting millions of requests per seconds and exabytes of data.

Assuming, of course, its cloud is able to remain upright. ®

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