Event Notes: The Build 2014 Keynote – Windows 8.1 Update and Office for Touch

Joe Belfiore is still talking. The OS is focused on:

  • Keyboard/mouse usage
  • Enterprise
  • Use on smaller devices

He demos on a desktop and uses mouse and keyboard. There is a new enterprise mode in IE11 to simulate IE8. This lets legacy sites to access previously deprecated browser features.

The taskbar got improvements (it’s the most used bit of Windows). Windows Store apps can be pinned. A title bar now appears in apps if you use the mouse, so you get close and minimise. I have found this auto hide/appear feature to be finicky (I installed the accidentally leaked update build).

On the Start Screen there is a new power button and a search button. Right-clicking on live tiles gives you a context menu. CTRL allows you to select multiple tiles. The new Store UI will be keyboard and mouse friendly. This newer store will come at a later point.

Available on April 8th via Windows Update. Developers will get more news from David Treadwell.

Next up is the Corporate VP of the Operating Systems Group, David Treadwell, to talk about developer platforms and tools.

Universal Windows Apps is brought via new WinRT for Windows Phones. You have a common dev platform for phones, tablets, and PCs. That’s a first in the industry, and should make Windows more interesting for developers. Lots of boring Visual Studio crap here. Now there will be common identity (shared app identity); customers can buy an app once and use it on any platform. Durable content allows it to run across apps across platforms. This is optional for devs.

Kirk Koenigsbauer comes out to talk about touch-first Office for Windows (codename “Gemini”). PowerPoint is first.


It was built from the ground up on DirectX to make it really really fast. We see how the whole thing works using the finger tip, with no mouse usage. It looks like a more feature rich version than on the iPad. The UI looks more Windows-like. What we’re seeing is still early code.


Like with the iPad, files should appear consistently across device types. We see the same code on Windows Phone (universal apps):


Harry Pierson of the OS Group is on stage to talk more about enterprise application needs. Some stuff about old code reuse for WinRT sideloaded apps. An old GUI app suddenly becomes a touch UI app, wrapping the old code with new code.

Back to Treadwell.

Build attendees can get the Windows 8.1 update on MSDN today.

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