Microsoft is releasing Project Siena Beta 2, a tool that enables business experts, analysts, consultants and others to create Windows 8-style applications without prior programming skills. The first version was released in December of last year.

“Any business user with PowerPoint and Excel formula skills was empowered to build highly interactive experiences that are rich in data and media and full of custom logic and intelligence,” wrote S. Somasegar, vice president of the developer division at Microsoft, on his company blog.

(Related: Siena’s initial release)

Siena apps are built using HTML5 and JavaScript, and are managed like any other Windows 8-style app. The new release of Project Siena focuses on connecting apps to Web services.

“This major update changes the kind of impact that apps built with Siena can have within a business,” Somasegar wrote.

Project Siena Beta 2 now allows users to create applications that integrate their data and content with features seen in high-end custom applications, such as social connections, instant communications, translation, voice recognition, text to speech, and integration with SaaS and other back-end workflows, according to Microsoft.

“With Project Siena, I believe every business user, every person with ideas and imagination, can be empowered to build these truly modern apps using SaaS and IT services,” Somasegar wrote.

Along with the release, Microsoft is also providing video walkthroughs and sample apps to help users get started.

More information about Project Siena is available here.