Netflix for nerds: Microsoft Build 2020 edition

Feed your brain some sweet developer goodness from the comfort of your couch

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Microsoft Build 2020

This week Microsoft held its 10th annual Microsoft Build conference and, as always, delivered on the goods. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference went 100% digital and was open to every one at no cost - that’s a saving of ~US$2,195!

The event beautifully orchestrated a 48 hour non-stop marathon of remote live streams which operated a lot like a relay race, with the stream being handed over to different countries as one went to bed and the other began to rise.

Build 2020 was a lot less glitzy and far more personal than previous events as we were all invited into the homes of the presenters, who gave their talks and demonstrations in what felt like a friendly, informal, 1:1 video chat with a colleague.

While it was interesting to watch the keynotes and panels, the real knowledge nuggets can be found in the digital breakouts and workshops targeted at developers.

I want to give a big shout out to Simon Waight who I know worked tirelessly behind the scenes, and a special mention to Aaron Powell who seemed to have made his sacrifices to the incorrect demo deities this year.

Aaron had to battle through a barrage of technical issues while presenting live to the world, just like at Microsoft Ignite earlier this year when the venue lost power during his talk. He bestowed upon us all an inspiring demonstration of the mastery of his craft, as he rolled with the punches and powered through. My hat goes off to you, sir. Well done. 🎩

Feed your brain

Unless you suffer from insomnia and spent the full 48 hours stuck to a computer screen streaming, there’s probably a bunch of content you missed and want to check out. As always, Microsoft have made the contents available on demand through the Microsoft build website however consuming the content through a web browser is a little too inconvenient for me.

Earlier this year I blogged about how to create what I called “Netflix for nerds” and showed how you can download content from various online training platforms for offline viewing. In this post I’ll expand on that and show you how you can download the on-demand content from Microsoft Build so it can be consumed on the media devices that you find most comfortable.

Download Microsoft Build 2020

I created a simple script that downloads session videos from the Microsoft Build website. All you need to do is get the session codes for the sessions you want to download - kinda like going shopping for brain food.

If you don't know where to get started amongst the 600+ sessions offered at Build this year, Simon Waight has gone through them all and provided a list of recommended sessions for Australian Developers.
Thanks Simon, you're a 🌟bloody legend!🌟
  1. Download the Powershell script below
  2. Login to
  3. Browse through session catalog and make note of the session codes that you want to download session code
  4. Save the session codes to a new text file - one per line
  5. Run the powershell script with the following parameters:
    • -InputFile: The path to the text file containing the session ids
    • -OutputDirectory: The path where you want to save the video files
     PS C:> Download-Build2020.ps1 -InputFile .\sessions.txt -OutputDirectory .\Videos


That’s it! Now you can watch the videos away from a web browser, and in the comfort of your living room.

Full script - Download-Build2020.ps1