Microsoft Build Windows 8 confab: What's the latest?

Microsoft's Build event for Windows developers is just 10 days away. Here are a few tidbits about agenda changes, an unofficial preconference and more for those following the twists and turns.

There's just over a week until Microsoft's Build conference in Anaheim, Calif. -- the place where "all will be revealed" around the Windows 8 and Windows Azure development stories.

There's still no official word as to any names or details about the sessions planned for the four-day event. But as of September 2, thanks to a slightly tweaked agenda, we now know that there will be two keynotes (Days 1 and 2), a number of "big picture sessions" (Day 1) and two Microsoft-sponsored parties (Day 1 and 2).

We also know that one of the planned "local" Build events slated for France has been cancelled. Besides France, Microsoft had scheduled a number of day-long Build events in Belgium, Denmark, Dubai, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, according to Microsoft Community Contributor Francisco Martin Garcia.

On August 30, Microsoft France representative sent the following note (translated from the original French) to those who had signed up to attend the French Build event:

Hello:

You are registered to the event local entitled "//Build/", organized by Microsoft in France. This local event has been cancelled. We apologize for this change of program and will inform you of new events.

I invite you to consult the Windows 8 (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8_fr/) blog if you want to be informed in real time on this product. The information available on the Build of September 13, 2011 in Anaheim, California Conference are published on http://www.buildwindows.com/.

To be regularly informed of the events with the Microsoft news, feel free to consult frequently with our etMSDN sitesTechNet and subscribe to our newsletters.

Thank you for your interest in Microsoft.

I asked a Windows spokesperson in the U.S. about the cancellation and whether the other planned Build events were still on. I didn't receive a direct answer to either question. Instead, I was sent the following statement via e-mail:

“Microsoft is extending its newest developer event BUILD globally in multiple ways including live streamed keynotes, having a major international presence in Anaheim and engaging directly with developers in their home country to learn about the future of Windows…”

Anyone registered to attend any of the other local Build events heard about any other cancellations from Microsoft?

Microsoft announced on August 1 that Build was sold out, but that Microsoft plans to live stream the keynotes from the show, and to make available publicly webcasts of the sessions the day after they happen.

Microsoft also cancelled the planned day of pre-conferences for Build. One Microsoft Regional Director, Billy Hollis, is running his own "unofficial" pre-conference session on creating user experiences on September 12.

In addition to learning about the Windows 8 UI and “new app model” at Build, Microsoft developers with whom I’ve spoken are hoping to hear about the next version of Visual Studio (VS 2012), Microsoft’s plans for Blend (and for HTML5 development tools in general) and how Microsoft plans to support Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) in the Windows 8 timeframe.

Microsoft is expected to provide Build attendees with the Windows 8 bits in test form, and may even give paying attendees some tablet hardware to test them on.

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