From students participating in the Imagine Cup, to the next hot start-up in Silicon Valley, to enterprises delivering modern efficiencies into mature businesses, developers today all have three things in common: they are transforming and improving society through the software they envision, they have invested in themselves by obtaining deep knowledge and skill sets, and they require great tools to accomplish their goals.

At Microsoft, we’re passionate about delivering the best tools to help make developers successful.  That’s why I’m excited to be here in Anaheim, California, attending the BUILD conference, where Steven Sinofsky has just finished delivering a keynote address in which he unveiled Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows Developer Preview. We see it as our responsibility to empower you as developers to productively create groundbreaking solutions, which is why we aim to help you to capitalize on the skill sets you already have. Whether your skills center around HTML and JavaScript or around C#, Visual Basic, or C++, Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11 represent exciting opportunities.

One of the most notable advances in these Windows and Visual Studio releases is the ability to create consumer-focused, Windows Metro style apps using HTML.  Many of you have invested heavily in learning to create compelling Web experiences, and you can now apply your knowledge of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS towards building rich client apps for Windows 8.  Visual Studio 11 provides end-to-end support for these efforts, spanning the development, debugging, and deployment lifecycle.  To complement this code-centric perspective, with Expression Blend 5 Developer Preview we are also introducing a unique new visual authoring tool for designing Metro style apps using HTML. Blend delivers high-fidelity visual HTML authoring and CSS styling, and works effectively with the dynamically generated UI that is so prevalent in client-side apps. 

HTML and JavaScript only represent one piece of the Microsoft client story. For developers whose skill sets revolve around C#, Visual Basic, or C++, we’ve innovated across both managed and native technologies, spanning their runtimes, libraries, compilers, and UI layers.  Investments developers have made in learning XAML move forward to Windows 8, where Metro style apps can be written using XAML along with C#, Visual Basic, and C++. Windows 8 also supports running existing XAML-based applications with the Windows desktop, and such applications further benefit from underlying feature and performance improvements made in these releases.

Such skill sets also translate to the server, and with significant investments across the Base Class Libraries, ASP.NET, Windows Communication Foundation, ADO.NET, and more, developers with C# and Visual Basic skills can be more impactful than ever.  ASP.NET harnesses both managed code and HTML, enabling you to create broad-reaching Web experiences that span a myriad of device types, all via the same diverse set of development skills, and all via Visual Studio.

Whether developing new experiences or bringing forward existing ones, new and updated capabilities of Visual Studio will make you more productive and impactful.  If you’re here in Anaheim attending the conference, you’ll have access to these previews today so that you can get started immediately building the next great app for Windows 8.  And whether you’re here at BUILD or reading and viewing remotely, stay tuned… there are many exciting things to come.

Namaste!