Microsoft Dev Box offers powerful developer workstations in the cloud

A screenshot of Microsoft Dev Box

In today's era of hybrid work, it has become exceedingly important to have workstations in the cloud to ensure uninterrupted workflows. Although Microsoft has tried to tackle this problem with Windows 365, it has today announced a dedicated solution called Microsoft Dev Box.

In a nutshell, Dev Box will offer powerful developer workstations hosted on the cloud. It will also integrate with Azure Deployment Environments so you can get up and running in no time with existing project templates. The motivation behind this solution is to also reduce the headache for IT admins when it comes to resource onboarding and hardware procurement, compliancy, and security. Dev Box is essentially a marriage between Windows 365, Intune, and Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

A screenshot of the Microsoft Dev Box portal

A key idea behind Dev Box is also versatility. Developers can quickly spin up Dev Boxes, run proof-of-concepts, delete them, pre-configure them with their required tools, and more. Since this is a cloud solution, you can access your Dev Box from any piece of hardware that has access to a web browser, even Android and iOS. Security and cost management controls and dashboards will also be available on the Dev Box portal.

That said, Dev Box is only in private preview for now and you can sign up for the waitlist here.

That's not all that Microsoft has in store for developers, though. GitHub OpenID Connect (OIDC) with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) workload identity federation is now generally available (GA). It adds another layer of security for Azure secret management in the GitHub Actions secret store.

.NET Multi-platform App UI (.NET MAUI) has hit GA too. It allows developers to build cross-platform, native apps for multiple environments including Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS using C# and XAML in a unified codebase. Even web developers can build hybrid web apps via C# and Blazor instead of relying on JavaScript.

Lastly, helping developers find ways to code in a more productive manner continues to be an important area for Microsoft. The company plans to share insights about the technical preview of GitHub Copilot and its general availability soon. It has also started work on two more initiatives: Copilot Explain describes code for novice developers in natural language whereas OpenAI Codex is yet another model which converts natural language to more than a dozen programming languages.

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