Windows 8.1 will also come with a new way to send documents to printers, through use of NFC (near field communication). McDonald was the unfortunate presenter this year to be plagued with the nonworking demonstration that always seems to haunt keynotes, Microsoft's in particular: He attempted, but was unable, to show how the NFC printing would work.
But McDonald had plenty of other new Windows 8.1 features to share. It will offer the ability for other devices to tether to a Windows 8.1 device's Internet connection. On the administration side, the live tiles on the new interface can now be locked down by administrators, which can be handy for work computers with fixed tasks. The company is preparing a Windows Embedded 8 Industry version, which will offer additional administrative capabilities for workplace usage.
With the release of this Windows 8 update, Microsoft will also provide an API (application programming interface) for third-party system and device management software providers. It will allow developers to build VPN connectivity directly into their applications, which will provide better security for sensitive enterprise applications, as well as support of virtual smart cards, also new with Windows 8.1.
With Visual Studio 2013, developers now can test their applications in the cloud, using the same set of configurations they might have on-premises. Visual Studio 2013 will also come with a feature called "Head's Up Display," according to Microsoft technical fellow Brian Harry. "Head's Up Display" provides a set of in-line annotations for each block of code, showing when it was last modified, and by whom, if it had passed the last round of testing, and other pertinent bits of information.
Team Foundation Server 2013 will provide more information for development project managers. It will offer a collaboration space where team members can share notes. It will feature "hierarchical backlogs," that offer detailed and summarized views of how a project is progressing, including the backlog of features, who is working on them and how the work is progressing.
Microsoft revealed a bit of acquisition news in the developer realm as well. It is acquiring InCycle Software's InRelease business unit, which provides a way to manage developer workflows of creating new software from development to production.
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