Microsoft is making virtual developer workstations available in the cloud via Dev Box

Microsoft is readying a custom virtualization service for developers, Microsoft Dev Box, that builds on top of Azure Virtual Desktop.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is building on its Azure Virtual Desktop service with a new, developer-target variant called Microsoft Dev Box. Microsoft took the wraps off the new service on May 24, which is Day 1 of its virtual Build 2022 developers conference.

Microsoft Dev Box will allow developers to spin up a virtual machine that will be preconfigured automatically in the cloud without first setting up physical workstations before working on a project. Dev Box will allow developers to configure images, assign team members and start coding immediately. Teams can create and maintain their Dev Box images and include their application source code and nightly built binaries so they can immediately start accessing their code without having to wait for long rebuilds, officials said. A developer portal will allow them to create and delete Dev Boxes for any projects, and they'll be able to run tasks in parallel across multiple dev boxes, if need be.

Dev Box will work with any developer IDE, development kit or internal tool that runs on Windows. They can be used to work on desktop, mobile, IoT, gaming or apps using Windows Subsystem for Linux. Developers can access their Dev Boxes from Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and/or a browser.

Azure Virtual Desktop is what's under the covers of Dev Box. But Dev Box also is integrated with Windows 365/Cloud PC so that IT admins can manage the preconfigured Dev Box workstations alongside any Cloud PC desktops they're running in their organizations using Intune and Endpoint Manager.

Dev Box is in private preview as of today, May 24. Officials said it will move to public preview in the next few months. To sign up, go to http://aka.ms/devbox-signup. There's no word yet on pricing or licensing (or the general availability target).

Among the many other developer-focused announcements on Day 1 of Build, Microsoft announced general availability of its .NET Multi-platform App UI, a k a .NET MAUI. .NET MAUI is a cross-platform UI stack that targets Android, iOS, macOS and Windows. .NET MAUI is built on the Xamarin Forms technology. It's meant to complement the .NET software development kit (SDK).

".NET MAUI provides one platform for building on multiple devices and OSes," said Beth Massi, Director of Product Marketing for .NET. "It was all about Web and Windows before, but now it's Web and native."

Microsoft's GitHub Copilot tool, which provides AI-assisted pair-coding functionality, will be generally available "this summer." GitHub, powered by OpenAI Codex, is a Visual Studio Code extension.

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