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Microsoft introduces new features to attract developers

Microsoft Corp.on March 31 introduced a number of new tools and features at its annual conference,Build.

Part of the announcement included new features to let developerscreate apps across platforms, including AppleInc.'s iOS and AlphabetInc.'s Android.

Among what is new is the inclusion of tools Xamarin, a softwarecompany owned by Microsoft, in Visual Studio Community and including Xamarin Studiofor free as a community edition for the OS X operating system. The company alsogave subscribers of Visual Studio Enterprise access to Xamarin's advanced enterprisetools at no additional charge. Xamarin SDK will also become open sourced in thecoming months as a part of the .NET Foundation.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Cloud and EnterpriseGroup for Microsoft, also announced new developer-oriented services on the company'scloud computing platform, Azure. Among the new features are the availability ofAzure Service Fabric for developers to design apps, Azure Functions to let developersrespond to events in Web and mobile apps, Azure IoT starter kits to build prototypesand Power BI Embedded to let developers embed reports and visualizations in appson all devices.

Azure Service Fabric was previewed for Windows Server, Linuxand Java APIs. The company said it would release an open source programming frameworkof the service for Linux later in 2016. Azure Functions will work with Azure andthird-party servers. The Azure IoT Starter Kits were made available to purchase.