Paul Krill

About the Author Paul Krill


MongoDB will support multidocument ACID transactions

MongoDB will add multidocument ACID transactions support to its NoSQL database of the same name. Multidocument ACID transactions support has been the most-requested feature sought for MongoDB, said Seong Park, MongoDB’s vice president of strategy and product marketing.

Multidocument support is planned for MongoDB 4.0, which is due this summer and reached beta stage this week. ACID transactions already have been supported at the document level in the database; now they can be done across documents as well as across collections within MongoDB. Collections in MongoDB are analogous to a table in a relational database.

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Microsoft’s Blazor project runs .Net in the browser

In what could be a turning point for web development, Microsoft’s ASP.Net team has launched an experimental web UI framework, called Blazor, that runs .Net in the browser via the WebAssembly portable code format.

Blazor is intended to simplify the building of fast, single-page .Net browser apps. While Blazor does use web technologies such as CSS and HTML, it uses the C# language and the Razor syntax instead of JavaScript to build a composable web UI. By providing a size- and load-time-efficient format for compilation to the web, WebAssembly lets .Net be run in the browser. Normal .Net assemblies run through a WebAssembly-based runtime. WebAsembly is supported by all major browsers and  lets compiled code run at native speeds.

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Grand stack aims to simplify data-intensive app development

Graph database builder Neo4j has built a technology stack called Grand intended for full-stack web and mobile applications that involve complex manipulation of data.

The Grand stack combines a set of technologies geared toward scalable applications and the use of JavaScript. The stack has integrations between GraphQL and Neo4j to make it easier for developers to use the two together. GraphQL defines a strict schema that is used as a blueprint for an API. Integration with Neo4j allows that schema to drive the database model and translate GraphQL queries to Cypher.

The Grand stack also enables more complex graph traversal. Developers do not have to implement resolver functions for the GraphQL server because they are provided by using the stack, based on the schema. Resolver functions define how to fetch data in a GraphQL server implementation, either from a database or an API.

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For developers, the focus is deep learning, multiplatform, and coding skills

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Vote now for enterprise Java’s new name

The Eclipse Foundation is running an online contest to rename enterprise Java, with participants able to choose from two names: Enterprise Profile and Jakarta EE.

You can vote via a Google Forms page. A Google account is required to participate. Voting closes on February 23, 2018.

The chosen name also will be used for compatible, independent implementations. Enterprise Java has long been called Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) but is being renamed as part of Eclipse taking over the project. The renaming is necessary because Java EE remains a registered trademark of Oracle.

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Doing nicely now, Visual Basic’s popularity could take a hit

Microsoft’s Visual Basic.Net and classic Visual Basic languages scored well in the Tiobe language popularity index this month, but that soon could change with the software giant’s plan to stop the co-evolution of C# and Visual Basic.

Visual Basic .Net, which uses Microsoft’s .Net Framework, placed sixth in this month’s index, with a rating of 4.072 percent, up 1.25 percentage points from February 2017, when the language placed eighth. The older Visual Basic language this month placed 12th with a rating of 2.177 percent, an increase of 0.3 percentage points from a year ago, when it was in 16th place.

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Stack Overflow adds developer IQ scores to profiles

Through a partnership with IT trainer Pluralsight, developers can add skills-assessment scores to their Stack Overflow profiles.

By taking an online test on specific technology topics across 63 categories—such as the Angular framework, Java, and Python—developers can post their Pluralsight IQ, a score indicating their proficiency in particular skills sought by employers, on their Stack OverFlow Developer Story. Developers take a test with about 20 to 25 questions and receive a time-stamped score of from 0 to 300.

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Developers prefer learning over money, but still want money

Developers prefer education from a developer ecosystem over money, according to a recent survey from Accenture.

In an online survey that polled 752 US developers in December, Accenture found that 74 percent want to learn new skills or improve current skills when engaging with a developer ecosystem, edging out the 64 percent of respondents who want to make money via these ecosystems.

Accenture describes the developer ecosystem as being comprised of company employees, partners, independent developers and a range of “opportunistic” part-time developers.

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Android developers get programming extensions for Kotlin

Having endorsed Kotlin as a language for Android development last year, Google is now previewing beta extensions to improve the Kotlin development experience.

Called Android KTX, the extensions are designed to make writing Kotlin code more concise and idiomatic. An API layer is provided to work on top of Android’s framework and support library. KTX marks the first time Google has released a library specifically for Kotlin developers. KTX, however, is not intended to add new features to Android APIs.

Features in Android KTX

Android’s platform developers say KTX simplifies code in many cases. For example:

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What’s new in Microsoft .Net Core

Microsoft’s .Net Core, a cross-platform implementation of the company’s .Net development platform, is being readied for its 2.1 release, featuring improvements to build time performance and tools deployment.

When to expect .Net Core 2.1

The open source .Net Core 2.1 is due in beta form this month, with a production release expected by summer 2018.

Improved features in. .Net Core 2.1

Application-building performance will be much better than it was with the 2.0 and 1.0 versions of .Net Core, Microsoft promises. This is particularly true for incremental builds.

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What’s new in Google’s V8 JavaScript engine

A newly created branch of Google’s V8 JavaScript engine promises to improve compilation of the WebAssembly portable code format via streaming compilation in V8’s WebAssembly API. V8’s Version 6.5 branch is now in beta but expected in the Chrome 65 Stable browser release in a few weeks.

V8 is a staple in both the Chrome browser and the Node.js JavaScript runtime. WebAsembly is also supported in Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge, though those browsers do not use V8.

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Rust roadmap: The new features planned for Rust 2018

The Rust language is on track for several key new capabilities this year. A draft roadmap for the Mozilla-sponsored language would polish and stabilize all existing features, including impl Trait, macros 2.0, SIMD, generators, custom registries in the Cargo package manager, and nonlexical lifetimes, as well as revamp modules. And tools such as the Rust Language Server (RLS), the rustfmt code formatter, libraries, and documentation would be brought to 1.0 release status. The Rust 2018 release, aka Epoch, might also have build-system integration improvements.

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Oracle extends Java JDK 8 updates to 2019

Oracle has extended public updates for Java Development Kit (JDK) 8 until at least January 2019. These had been slated to end in September 2018.

With this extension, there will be additional quarterly updates in October 2018 and January 2019 for Version 8 of the JDK, which is based on Java Standard Edition 8. They will be free for use on general-purpose computers.

Oracle also noted other support deadlines for Java:

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Visual Studio gets an app for sketch-based UI prototyping

Microsoft Garage, an outlet for experimental projects at the company, is offering an app to help Visual Studio users prototype interfaces for Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications for Windows 10 as well as for Android apps.

Called Ink to Code, this Windows 10 app lets developers build wireframe sketches and export them to Visual Studio, making it quicker to prototype interfaces. Developers and designers can use the app for collaboration, with Ink to Code providing a canvas for brainstorming meetings and bridging the gap between collaborators with different levels of technical knowledge.

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What’s new in Angular: Version 6 beta arrives

In 2017, Angular, Google’s popular JavaScript framework for building mobile and desktop applications, had a whirlwind year, with two major upgrades in 14 months. It reached the next milestone with Angular 5.0’s arrival on November 1, 2017. The Angular 5.0 upgrade itself centered on making the framework faster, smaller, and easier to use.

And now Angular 6 has entered beta.

What’s new in Angular 6 beta

Version 6 continues an emphasis on being smaller, faster and easier to use. To help achieve these goals, the version 6 beta features a new renderer called Ivy. The beta also adds an optional, backward-compatible generic type to support typed nativeElement.

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Google’s Angular JavaScript framework gets a component kit

Builders of the Angular JavaScript framework have launched a component development kit for the platform, providing components with predetermined behaviors. The goal is for all Angular component libraries to take advantage of the kit and reduce duplication of efforts in solving common problems.

The Angular CDK (Component Dev Kit) has tools for developers to add common interaction patterns, while doing less coding and minimizing bugs.

The CDK contains subpackages, each with a different area of responsibility:

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Employers want JavaScript, but developers want Python

When it comes to which programming languages are in demand by employers, JavaScript, Java, Python, C++, and C—in that order—came out on top in a recent developer survey. Developers, however, want to learn languages like Python, Go, and Kotlin.

A survey of developers by technical recruiter HackerRank, conducted in October, found no gap between languages employers want and what developers actually know, with JavaScript barely edging out Java. But as far as which languages developers prefer, Python is the language developers most want to learn—and many already know it, HackerRank found.

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NPM JavaScript registry mishaps: What to do

The NPM registry of JavaScript packages has become a critical cog in the language’s ecosystem, letting developers discover and use reusable code packages. But for developers worried about systems crashing because packages they depend on were removed from the registry, there are not a lot of options other than having your own backup system to cache packages.

The registry holds more than 600,000 packages, with 3.6 billion downloads a week. Smooth operations of applications can depend on packages in the registry staying active. One incident on Jan. 6, 2018, caused by a user being misidentified as a spammer, had NPM Inc. operators scrambling to remedy the situation on a Saturday. In March 2016, the deletion of a 17-line package, called left-pad, broke dependencies with other projects, including the Babel JavaScript compiler.

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Eclipse considers creating a Rust IDE

Rust, a Mozilla-sponsored language built for speed, safety, and ease of use, has been gaining traction with developers lately. But some have yearned for better IDE support for the language. That’s why Red Hat engineers and the Eclipse Foundation are considering the Rust-specific RedOx IDE project to meet this demand

If approved, the project would provide an environment for creating projects, debugging code, running test suites, and packaging and deployment. Development for Cargo, the Rust package manager, would be enabled as well. But IDE support for Rust crate management, used in Rust libraries, would not be addressed by RedOx.  A decision on RedOx’s fate is several months away. 

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Eclipse’s enterprise Java roadmap: more services coming

The Eclipse Foundation is preparing the next round of technologies to be added to enterprise Java, which it now runs. (Last year, the foundation was charged with developing Java EE (Enterprise Edition), in the wake of Oracle’s abdication of its stewardship of the project.)

Eclipse expects about 35 to 40 new projects as part of its open source enterprise Java implementation.

The foundation expects Eclipse Enterprise for Java (EE4J) project to ship a Java EE 8-compliant project as soon as possible, with a release of the GlassFish application server and related projects. GlassFish has served as a reference implementation of enterprise Java. Java EE 8 has been set as the baseline for Eclipse’s development of new enterprise Java standards.

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What’s new in the Bootstrap 4 web development framework

Version 4 of the Bootstrap web development framework has just moved to a general release, with improvements in print styles and Sass.

The open source Bootstrap uses JavaScript, HTML, and CSS for developing mobile-first websites. Developers can build applications using Sass variables and mixins, the Bootstrap grid system, and prebuilt components.

Where to download Bootstrap 4

You can download version 4 from the Bootstrap website.

Bootstrap’s new features

Capabilities in the general release of version 4 include:

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What’s new in TypeScript 2.7

Microsoft has released the production version of TypeScript 2.7.

Where to download TypeScript

You can download TypeScript through NuGet or via NPM. To get the TypeScript 2.7 release candidate via npm, use the following command: npm install -g typescript.

The new features in TypeScript 2.7

TypeScript 2.7 brings three noteworthy improvements: definite assignment checks for class properties, fixed length tuples, and improved narrowing for the in and instanceof operators. 

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Firefox speeds up WebAssembly through streaming compilation

Mozilla’s Firefox 58 browser, to be released January 23, features a compilation technology designed to make the WebAssembly portable code format run even faster.

This performance boost is enabled by streaming compilation, in which the browser compiles WebAssembly code even as it is being downloaded. Code begins compiling sooner and thus finishes executing sooner. Firefox 58 also features a new two-tiered compiler, with a new baseline compiler that compiles code 10 to 15 faster than the optimizing compiler.

The combination of streamed and two-tiered compilation results in WebAssembly code being compiled faster than it can be delivered by the network. Mozilla notes that, on a desktop computer, it has been able to compile 30 to 60 megabytes of WebAssembly code per second. On an “average” mobile device, WebAssembly code compiles at 8 megabytes per second, which is still faster than the download speed for just about any mobile network, said Lin Clark, Mozilla senior evangelist.

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What’s new in AWS Lambda: Go and .Net Core support

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What’s new in the Erlang VM-based Elixir language

Version 1.6 of Elixir, a dynamic functional language that uses Erlang VM, will have improvements for code formatting and compiler diagnostics. The production version should be avaliable in late January.

Intended for the development of easily scalable and maintainable applications, the open source Erlang code runs in lightweight execution threads that are isolated; information is exchanged among these threads through messaging.

Where to download Elixir

You can install Elixir from GitHub. The Elixir source code is on GitHub as well.

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React JavaScript library on the rise in NPM registry

Judging by downloads from the NPM registry, React, Facebook’s popular JavaScript UI library, has seen good fortunes lately as a front-end JavaScript framework while the Backbone framework has slipped. On the back end, Express dominates.

In a study of 28-day download cycles for front-end JavaScript frameworks, NPM, which oversees the popular JavaScript package registry, found that React has been on a steady upward trajectory; it now accounts for about 0.05 percent of the registry’s 13 billion downloads per month as of the fourth quarter of 2017. Web developers as well as desktop and mobile developers are adopting the library and it has spawned an ecosystem of related packages.

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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, four proposals have been finalized for inclusion in the ECMAScript 2018 specification, said Zibi Braniecki, a senior software engineer at Mozilla who participates in the development of ECMAScript.

The four proposals include:

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What’s next for the Aurelia JavaScript framework

This should be a busy year for Aurelia, a JavaScript client framework that emphasizes use of focused modules. It is being groomed for improvements ranging from server-side rendering to state management.

Developers of the project also have ambitions to improve the platform’s user experience framework, Aurelia UX. A full conversion of Aurelia to TypeScript is being considered as well, although that could happen after 2018.

Sponsored by Blue Spire, Aurelia features a collection of open source modules and is intended for developing mobile, desktop, and browser apps. The framework has been forked roughly 600 times in GitHub and has more than 10,000 stars in that venue.

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NectarJS to offer JavaScript compilation-as-a-service

Can JavaScript become a universal language for developing for multiple form factors? The inventor of NectarJS, a compiler-as-a-service cloud application now in development, claims NectarJS will make this happen.

Currently in alpha release, NectarJS would have developers code in JavaScript for multiple platforms, including the internet of things, various operating systems, and the WebAssembly portable code format. Web developers could thus become low-level software programmers, claims Seraum, the company behind NectarJS.

How NectarJS works

NectarJS uses a multistep process:

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