2015 – a year in review
2015 has been a pretty busy year for Skype for Business Development, and for me personally. As the year draws to a close I’d like to reflect on the past 12 months and focus in on some key events which have shaped my year.
It’s been a pretty good year to be involved in Microsoft. 2015 is being spoken about as the year that “Microsoft turned the ship around” with Satya Nadella at the helm. Shares are up 67% from the day that Steve Ballmer announed he was “retiring”. There are a few reasons for this, but the new focus on the Cloud and the growth of Azure and the way that Office 365 is transitioning into a real productivity platform are key. As a developer the introduction of the new Unified API shows how seriously Microsoft is taking Office Cloud Services, and how it plans to enable developers to join them on that journey. Add in Windows 10, new first-party hardware such as the Surface line-up and HoloLens, and it’s clear that Microsoft has reshaped itself over the past few years – and that 2016 is going to be another interesting year to be working with MS technologies.
Skype Web SDK
For Skype for Web Developers, the release of the new Skype Web SDK stands out in 2015. A brand-new API targeted at web-developers, using industry-standard ideas such as REST, to open up access to the Skype for Business ecosystem. The SDK is still in Preview and there are definitly still things missing, such as the ability to make voice/video calls without a plugin and Office365 support, but this new tooling represents a definite step to REST-ful means of communication and points the way to future improvements in the developer offerings for Skype for Business. [Want to know more? See Learn Skype for Web SDK in 30 days]
Skype Developer Story
This is something I’d been meaning to do for a little while, but I finally managed to get some time to knock it out in 2015. As we know, the Skype for Business developer landscape is pretty big and there are a number of different SDKs and APIs available to developers, each of which has a different set of dependencies and compatabilities. Knowing which one you can use where can be a challenge, and might even put people off getting started developing for Skype for Businessm. By combining all the tools in one place with a clear compatability matrix I hope I can make the picture clearer. Over time my plan is to evolve the site into a timeline of changes to the different developer tools and chart the arrival and evolution of new tooling as it becomes available.
On a personal level, a clear highlight to my professional year was being awarded MVP for Skype for Business, and then attending the MVP Summit. It was fantastic to be able to meet and talk with so many Skype for Business experts who I’ve admired from their work in the community, on blogs and on Twitter. Visiting the Microsoft Redmond campus was also a blast and I had a great time.
Of the various events I attended in 2015, one that stood out was UC Day. This was an entirely community-organised event in the UK, put together by a group of MVPs. There were two tracks, one for Skype for Business and one for Exchange. The conference went really well and was a great mix of presentations and networking. The team behind UC Day have already announced that there will be a UC Day 2016, which will add a new track for Azure. Registration will open mid-2016 – I can’t recommend this event highly enough.
Those are the key points for me, in what has been an action-packed productive year. I hope you also had a good 2015 – all that remains is for me to wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas (or whatever festive holiday you’d like to celebrate) and I wish you all the best for 2016.