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Neon Smoke

Top Features x Pro-Devs - MS Build

The middle of May was marked by one of the most exciting events of the year: the flagship Microsoft Build event. Thousands of tech enthusiasts, experts, MVPs, RDs and Microsoft employees flocked to Seattle. Even more caught up online with the announcements, so well summarized by the Book of News. You can read it in its full glory here.


By now, you must have been inundated on social media by the announcements, video presentations and community feedback.

A CRM geek’s perspective on three personas

That’s right. I am not here to summarize all the announcements and give you tons of links. Instead, as a former Change Manager and a human evangelist obsessed with end user experiences, I will share something different.


This is a three-part blog series. We will go on a brief exploration journey of what some of the announcements mean for three key personas:

  1. Admins - read it here

  2. Pro-devs

  3. Makers


Developers, Developers, Developers

Whilst I never think I will possess the stage energy of Steve Ballmer shouting Developers, Developers, Developers, I always say at work: Devs are very special and sometimes misunderstood creatures. They may have some great (usually, license-allowing) tools at their disposal, but they are still mortal. Increased productivity and new ways to do pair-programming are always on their mind. So how have some of the new features promised to help?


Unfurling permalinks: 


What is it: This feature aims at more efficient collaboration with source code. Unfurling permalinks relates to developers sharing code via a permalink in a Teams chat, which will expand to a rich preview from Azure DevOps as the source app.


Why is it important? We know how important it is to stay in the flow of work. But pair-programming as well as debugging does not follow the same rules. Allowing developers to view source code from Teams provides for more collaboration opportunities without worrying about discrepancies. And let’s be honest, we all love Azure DevOps right?


State of the nation: Unfurling permalinks is generally available. You can read more about it here.

Loop-supported code blocks, Mermaid integration and adaptive card-based Loop components: 


What is it: Loop is the name of the game. Which is fantastic as I have always been a fan of this sometimes-misunderstood area. These three new features all refer to pair-programming and more efficient collaboration in the flow of work.

  • Loop-supported code blocks give developers a Loop component which can hold code, be shared across Teams and Outlook, be co-edited by various team members AND be synced across all areas shared. Action-packed feature for sure.

  • The Mermaid integration builds on the first feature by including the JavaScript-based diagramming and charting tool. I may swim like a mermaid, but now I can diagram like one too. 😂

  • Adaptive card-based Loop components bring third-party services into play with the above. Think JIRA, Confluence, Mural (Yeay, big LUMA fan here), Trello etc.


Why is it important? We know how crucial it is to stay in the flow of work. But pair-programming as well as debugging does not follow the same rules. These new features do not only promote better collaboration, but also tidy code, open technical discussions, and co-creation of documentation e.g. sequence and class diagrams.


State of the nation: The loop-supported code blocks are currently rolling out.

Mermaid integration will be available in preview soon.

The adaptive card-based Loop components are generally available in Teams and coming soon to Outlook.

Find out more about these three features here.


Speech analytics and video dubbing:


What is it: Cool new Microsoft Azure AI Speech features to experiment with. With speech analytics, developers can automate the extraction of audio and video data with capabilities such as transcription, summarization, speech recognition, speaker diarization, and sentiment analysis. On the other hand, video dubbing allows for easy and automatic translation of video files into various languages in high quality.


Why is it important? Speech analytics is a fantastic opportunity to drive deeper customer engagement insights, whether it is from direct feedback, customer service recordings, interviews, podcasts etc. A similar feature is part of the Copilot for Microsoft 365 Teams experience, but this is an extensibility scenario across channels. Customer intimacy is once again at the forefront, as video dubbing will allow for the planning of an automated pipeline of video translations at a lower cost than manual work. This extends the opportunities for communication material to retain the localized, relatable language of each employee or customer. As a former Marketing Manager and Trainer, this is MASSIVE.


State of the nation: Video translation is currently in public preview. A video demonstration of this new feature is here. Speech analytics is also in preview. A video explanation of the feature is here.


To read more about both features, see here.

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