20 years on, open source hasn’t changed the world as promised

Open source has officially been a thing for 20 years now. Did anyone notice?

No, really. For something as revolutionary as open source, you’d think it would have changed the way all software is developed, sold, and distributed. Unfortunately for those party planners looking to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of open source, it hasn’t—changed software, that is. For most developers, most of the time, software remains stubbornly proprietary.

What has changed in 20 years is the narrative about software. We’re now comfortable with the idea that software can, and maybe should, be open source without the world ending. The actual opening of that source, however, is something to tackle in the next 20 years.

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Serverless computing with AWS Lambda, Part 1

Serverless computing may be the hottest thing in cloud computing today, but what, exactly, is it? This two-part tutorial starts with an overview of serverless computing–from what it is, to why it’s considered disruptive to traditional cloud computing, and how you might use it in Java-based programming.

Following the overview, you’ll get a hands-on introduction to AWS Lambda, which is considered by many the premiere Java-based solution for serverless computing today. In Part 1, you’ll use AWS Lambda to build, deploy, and test your first Lambda function in Java. In Part 2, you’ll integrate your Lambda function with DynamoDB, then use the AWS SDK to invoke Lambda functions in a Java application.

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What’s new in ECMAScript 2018

ECMAScript, the standard specification underlying JavaScript, is on track for a new release, likely in June.

So far, two proposals have been finalized for inclusion in the ECMAScript 2018 specification. Both are considered as fairly foundational work and not major features, said Zibi Braniecki, a senior software engineer at Mozilla who participates in the development of ECMAScript.

The two proposals include:

  • Lifting of the template literal restriction, to enable the embedding of languages, including domain-specific languages (DSLs). Currently, restrictions on escape clauses make this a problem. The revision cleans up the behavior of literals, letting them be used for DSLs so programmers can create their own minilanguages if neeeded.
  • Adding the s (dotAll) flag for regular expressions, providing consistent behavior for these expressions. The feature is intended to address limitations in which the dot (.) in regular expressions does not match line-terminator characters, said author Axel Rauschmeyer, who has focused on JavaScript. The s flag changes that. This flag will operate on an opt-in basis, so existing regular expressions patterns will not be affected.

There are four other features under strong consideration, which would make it easier to program with JavaScript, Braniecki said. These include:

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C completes comeback in programming popularity

The once-declining C language has completed a comeback in the monthly Tiobe Index of language popularity, winning the 2017 Programming Language of the Year designation from Tiobe as the biggest gainer in share.

Although the language only grew 1.69 percentage points in its rating year over year in the January index, that was enough beat out runners-up Python (1.21 percent gain) and Erlang (0.98 percent gain). Just five months ago, C was at its lowest-ever rating, at 6.477 percent; this month, its rating is 11.07 percent, once again putting it in second place behind Java (14.215 percent)—although Java dropped 3.05 percent compared to January 2017. C’s revival is possibly being fueled by its popularity in manufacturing and industry, including the automotive market, Tiobe believes.

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What’s new in Ruby 2.5

Ruby, one of the more venerable dynamic languages, has just gained in performance with the new 2.5 release.

Arriving on Christmas Day 2017, Ruby 2.5.0 is the first stable release in the 2.5 series.

New performance features in Ruby 2.5

It boosts performance by 5 to 10 percent by removing trace instructions from bytecode that has been found to be overhead. A dynamic instrumentation technique is used instead. Also, block passing by a block parameter has been made three times faster than it was in Ruby 2.4, through use of the Lazy Proc allocation technique.

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CockroachDB review: A scale-out SQL database built for survival

Until very recently, when you shopped for a database you had to choose: Scalability or consistency? SQL databases such as MySQL guarantee strong consistency, but don’t scale well horizontally. (Manual sharding for scalability is no one’s idea of fun.) NoSQL databases such as MongoDB scale beautifully, but offer only eventual consistency. (“Wait long enough, and you can read the right answer”—which isn’t any way to do financial transactions.)

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(Insider Story)
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What is agile methodology? Modern software development explained

Every software development organization today seems to practice the agile software development methodology, or a version of it. Or at least they believe they do. Whether you are new to application development or learned about software development decades ago using the waterfall software development methodology, today your work is at least influenced by the agile methodology.

But what exactly is agile methodology, and how should it be practiced in software development?

Agile was formally launched in 2001 when 17 technologists drafted the Agile Manifesto. They wrote four major principles for developing better software:

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2017: The year in programming languages

For programming languages, languages like Java and Kotlin garnering a lot of attention in enterprise and mobile development in 2017. The JavaScript ecosystem, critical to web development, continued to expand as well.

Overall, the year presented a mixed bag of improvements to both long-established and newer languages.

Developers followed a soap opera over Java, with major disagreements over a modularization plan for standard Java and, in a surprising twist, Oracle washing its hands of the Java EE enterprise variant.

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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

Image by Thinkstock

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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