Developer news: Rails updates, SQL Server 12, more Azure pricing cuts

Read about PHP 5.4.0, IronPython, Bing Maps for Metro style apps, NetBeans IDE 7.1.1, why Visual Basic is better than C#, and more.

Language/library updates

PHP 5.4.0

PHP 5.4.0 is available. This release has undergone a lot of release candidates and testing. The new release looks good — it even includes a webserver for testing.

Rails updates

Rails 3.0.12, 3.1.4, and 3.2.2 have been released. All of the updates contain a smattering of big fixes.

Typesafe Stack 2.0

Typesafe Stack 2.0, a full open source software stack for Scala development, is available. It adds the Play Framework, Typesafe Console, and Akka 2.0.

Scala 2.9.1-1

Scala 2.9.1-1 addresses a few minor bugs.


IronPython is finally available in a full release. Included are previews of mobile versions for Windows Phone 7.5 and Mini for Android, which should be of interest.

Bing Maps for Metro style apps

Microsoft released a version of its Bing Maps SDK that presents maps in a Metro style for use in Metro applications.

Tools and products

SQL Server 12

SQL Server 12 has gone gold. This major release incorporates Hadoop and a new in-memory database system that provides incredibly fast performance for data warehousing and BI.

More Azure pricing cuts

Microsoft cut the cost of Azure storage and compute instances. Microsoft and Amazon seem to be in a race to the bottom here, with customers to benefit.

NetBeans IDE 7.1.1

The latest version of NetBeans IDE updates the GlassFish and Java ME SDK support and has the most recent patches and small performance tweaks included.

Unisys AMPS

Unisys launched its new AMPS solution for helping enterprises modernize existing applications with SOA techniques.

AppFog adds ClearDB and CloudMailin

AppFog has partnered with ClearDB and CloudMailin to support its offerings within its Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution.

Typemock Isolator V7

Typemock released version 7 of its Isolator unit testing product. New features include Autorunner (to only run the relevant tests on each build) and Visual Code Coverage (which shows what parts of code are test covered).

Editorial and commentary

10 reasons Visual Basic is better than C#

Andy Brown points out 10 things that Visual Basic does better than C#. I agree with a lot of them, but I think a few just aren't that important.

Tips and tricks

Writing unit tests for C#

Patrick Smacchia has an extremely in-depth, must-read article on unit testing at Simple-Talk.

Mongo + PHPCloud

Kevin Schroeder wrote a good, brief tutorial on calling Mongo from PHPCloud.


March 26-29, 2012: Agile ALM Connect - If you're interested in Agile methodologies and techniques, the Agile ALM Connect event will be put on by the Eclipse Foundation March 26 - 29, 2012 in Reston, VA. The conference has announced its program and speakers. May 3-4, 2012: webDU 2012 in Sydney - TechRepublic Australia Editor Chris Duckett writes: "The conference has also issued a call for papers, with potential speakers required to submit a relevant topic for a 50-minute session. The WebDU site says that just about anything to do with web and rich internet-application development and related topics will be considered. Submissions are due by January 8, 2012." Go to the webDU site for more details about the event. May 18-19, 2012: Italian phpDay - There will be a phpDay conference in Verona, Italy May 18 and 19, 2012. June 7-9, 2012: PHP conference in Amsterdam - The Dutch PHP event will be held in English. October 1-3, 2012: Business of Software 2012 - Registration is now open for the Business of Software 2012 event, which will be held in Boston. I'd love to get to this event myself, though I doubt my schedule will allow it.


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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

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