Weird science: The 9 strangest tech stories of 2017

The Space Age is here, just weirder than expected
Weird science: The 9 strangest tech stories of 2017

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The last 12 months have brought significant developments in what I term retro-future technologies: Space Age concepts like robots and flying cars that creative fiction writers of past generations have long predicted would populate our future. I am happy to report that these have finally moved from science fiction to science fact.

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Google Cloud Platform’s secret sauce: Its time is now

2017 was a good year for Google Cloud Platform. But 2018 promises to be even better. Although Google still sits well behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure in cloud revenue, with just 2.3 percent market share against AWS’s 44.1 percent and Azure’s 7.1 percent, according to Gartner data, 2018 could well prove Google’s breakout year.

That is, if it can just deliver on one, eensie weensie thing: helping enterprises operate more like Google.

In the past, this has seemed like a fairy tale. Mainstream enterprises, after all, lack the DNA necessary to push thousands of changes a day to their systems in the way a Google routinely does. Early indicators, however, suggest that maybe this isn’t as true as we once thought and that, in fact, “run like Google” just might be an attainable goal for the typical enterprises. If so, that be what gets Google Cloud seriously into the enterprise mix.

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Java JDK 10: What new features to expect in the next Java

Developers who may be just getting used to Java 9, released in September 2017, will have only a few months left before the next generation of Java is out. In mid-December, the planned Java Development Kit 10 upgrade moved to a rampdown phase. In the initial rampdown phase, only P1 through P3 bugs can be fixed.

When JDK 10 will be released

JDK 10, an implementation of Java Standard Edition 10, is due for production release on March 20, 2018. Key improvements proposed include a local type inference and a “clean” interface for garbage collection.

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How to excel in agile software development

If you are leading or participating in an agile development process and have selected an agile model like the scrum methodology, you have a fundamental process to help align product owners with customer needs and teams on delivering results. You have the team’s responsibilities outlined, a meeting structure defined and scheduled, and an agile collaboration tool to manage the backlog.

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Jenkins tutorial: Get started with Jenkins continuous delivery

Jenkins is one of the earliest and still one of the most-used continuous integration and continuous delivery (CICD) servers. It has lots of competition these days, but still has a robust community and a wide range of plugins (1,400 when I last checked). Even if you wind up using a different automation server, it is worth understanding how to use Jenkins: The underlying concepts of CICD don’t change much from one implementation to another, even though the vendors do tend to make up their own terminology.

In this article I’ll draw on the official Jenkins tutorials, in particular the one that shows you how to use the new-ish Blue Ocean GUI, but add my own explanations and illustrations for steps and code that may be obscure. My goal is to get you to the point where you can create build, test, and delivery pipelines for your own projects.

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Why old-school PostgreSQL is so hip again

PostgreSQL (aka Postgres) is old as dirt, yet over the past five years it has panned out as pure gold. MongoDB got the billion-dollar IPO and AWS launched the mind-bendingly cool Aurora Serverless, but it’s PostgreSQL that keeps having its moment—again and again and again.

Now the world’s fourth most popular database, according to DB-Engines’ multicomponent ranking, PostgreSQL has a ways to go before it surpasses Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft SQL Server. Yet at its current pace, there’s every reason to expect it could get there.

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Programming with Java APIs, Part 2: API definitions

The first half of this article introduced the big picture of programming with Java APIs–such as how Java APIs fit into application development, cloud and microservices architectures, and the role of API specs like OpenAPI. You were introduced to OpenAPI and we developed a simple example application built from an API definition.

In this article we’ll continue developing our Java API definitions and application code with OpenAPI and Swagger, and we’ll throw Swing Web MVC and Angular 2 into the mix. By the end of the article, we’ll have used Swagger tools to both generate OpenAPI from a Spring MVC app, and generate an Angular frontend from an OpenAPI specification. You will be familiar with the core Swagger tools, and you’ll know how to use them to build your own API-driven Java web apps.

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API-driven development with OpenAPI and Swagger, Part 2

The first half of this article introduced the big picture of APIs–such as how they fit into application development, cloud and microservices architectures, and the role of API specs like OpenAPI. You were introduced to OpenAPI and we developed a simple example application built from an API definition.

In this article we’ll continue developing our API definitions and application code with OpenAPI and Swagger, and we’ll throw Swing Web MVC and Angular 2 into the mix. By the end of the article, we’ll have used Swagger tools to both generate OpenAPI from a Spring MVC app, and generate an Angular frontend from an OpenAPI specification. You will be familiar with the core Swagger tools, and you’ll know how to use them to build your own API-driven web apps.

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What’s next for the Groovy language: The 2018 roadmap

Groovy, the veteran language for the Java virtual machine, has several enhancements on its roadmap, such as to support Java 9 modularity and Java 8 lambda capabilities. Although closely linked to Java, Groovy offers additional capabilities such as the ability to write compile-time transformations and macros.

The Apache Software Foundation plans the following Groovy upgrades in the next year:

  • Versions 2.5, due in early 2018 for Java 7 and later.
  • Version 2.6 and 3.0, both set to arrive in about a year, and both currently available in alpha releases. Version 2.6 is aimed at Java 7 users, and Version 3.0 at Java 8 and 9 users; their capabitiies will be similar.

Planned Groovy 3.0 features

When Groovy 3.0 is released, you can expect the following additions and enhancements:

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