Software Development

Programming news: COBOL's impact, .NET 4 to revamp 'cancellation,' Cisco's developer contest

How many times a day do you think the typical American "touches" a COBOL application? Find out the answer, along with details about other news stories that cover .NET 4, Chrome 2.0, Typekit, the importance of testing, and more.

The hot topic in the development community last week was Google I/O, which I think is basically a non-story. The news items highlighted below cover the gamut from Chrome 2.0 to .NET 4 to Typekit to the importance of testing and more.

Google Chrome 2.0 released

Google released version 2 of its Chrome browser. The Chrome site does not seem to precisely state what makes it version 2.0, but I have heard that it is faster. Other analysts are basically saying, "It's fast and has few features."

Study measures the impact of COBOL for its 50th birthday

Micro Focus commissioned a study that looked into people's daily habits and found that the typical American "touches" a COBOL application 13 times a day. This includes things such as using credit cards, paying bills, and so on. More surprising is that 77% of Americans have never heard of COBOL. I figured it would have been far fewer people who have.

The study is part of COBOL's 50th birthday. Micro Focus has put together a site to celebrate the event. If you want to learn more about COBOL or its place in the world or history, it's a good place to start.

.NET 4 will have a revamp of "cancellation"

One of the most persistently annoying issues in development (particularly multithreaded development) is the idea of cancelling tasks (method calls, long running operations, etc.). The next version of .NET looks to change the game by introducing a comprehensive system for cancellation. The Parallel Programming team has in-depth details.

Why testing is important

uTest has a frightening article about the consequences of shoddy software. In this case, software that runs breathalyzer machines in New Jersey is extraordinarily buggy and is causing innocent people to be convicted of DUI. I urge you to print this article and hand it to your boss each time he thinks about shaving time from the test cycle, skipping the QA process, or cutting the budget for these items.

Cisco picks 10 finalists for its developer contest

Cisco is down to 10 finalists for its "Think Inside the Box" contest. The developer contest is for applications on Cisco's new Integrated Services Router and the Application Extension Platform. The total prize money at stake is $100,000.

Silverlight 3 slated for July 10th

Silverlight 3 and Expression Blend 3 are to be released on July 10. This jives with the flurry of activity I've been seeing in my RSS reader regarding Silverlight 3.

Magic Words is now open source

Magic Words, a Smalltalk/Squeak system for creating animated stories and computer games, is now open source. If there is a child in your life that you would like to introduce to computers, this may be something you will want to check out.

Typekit tries to walk a narrow line with Web fonts

Typekit is trying to reconcile the desire to allow fonts to be downloaded for use on Web pages with the intellectual property concerns of the font designers. It looks like Typekit's solution is to host the fonts themselves and have Web designers/developers drop a JavaScript reference onto the pages. That JavaScript will download the right fonts from Typekit and take care of the IP issues.

It's a good idea in theory, but I have a feeling that the cost is going to make it a non-starter. No one wants to pay for fonts either on a subscription or on a usage basis. People want to pay once for a font. I think that if a site like iStockPhoto can sell an unlimited usage (but no redistribution) license for an image for a few dollars, and the image creators are happy and feel comfortable with the licensing (basically trusting the purchaser to not violate it, and taking the usual chance of someone copying the image), then Typekit could probably do the same.

Code Contracts for .NET is a winner

I've been preparing a presentation for the Columbia Enterprise Developers Build on June 10th on Code Contracts for .NET. I'll have an in-depth look at the topic in this space in a week or two, but I want folks to know, this thing rocks and is easy to learn. I can't remember the last time I spent this little time learning something for this much benefit.

J.Ja

Disclosure of Justin's industry affiliations: Justin James has a working arrangement with Microsoft to write an article for MSDN Magazine. He also has a contract with Spiceworks to write product buying guides.

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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

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