Social Enterprise

Programming news: Stir Trek, patch, PHP 5.3 RC1, IronPython 2.6 Alpha 1

Want to hear the Mix 09 presentations and see the new Star Trek film at one event? Know a student who wants to apply to Google' Summer of Code? Get details about these stories, as well as information about Java, PHP, Silverlight 3, and more.

Last week, my RSS feeds were spinning wildly out of control. I've added feeds for all sorts of off-the-wall projects in the hope that I can deliver a wider variety of news. I've learned that some blog and wiki platforms are easily hacked; nothing like seeing the name of a feed becoming "You've been HACKED!" to drive that home. Lesson to developers: Close those stupid holes in your code — now!

asp:menu patched to be standards and IE 8 compliant

Apparently, one of the standard ASP.NET WebControls (asp:menu) wasn't standards compliant and would either render wrong in IE 8, or force developers to put the page in compatibility mode. Microsoft has just released a patch that fixes this issue. I was surprised that only one control had this problem. Read more details on the ASP.NET team's blog.

Google's Summer of Code is accepting applications

Funny enough, I knew Google's Summer of Code was coming up, but I still let it slip under my radar. Fortunately, ZDNet blogger Christopher Dawson's post about it reminded me.

The Summer of Code is an event where students can be selected to receive a modest stipend of $4,500 to write open source code. Google is now accepting applications for the event. It's been happening since 2005, and a lot of good things have come out of it. If you are a student with an itch to write open source code instead of flipping burgers this summer, put in your application!

PHP 5.3 RC1 is out

The first release candidate of PHP 5.3 is now available. The PHP development team knows it has some bugs, but it is feature complete. As a result, you can start checking your applications in it and targeting new work to it and know that it won't change from underneath your feet. The big items in the feature list are lambda functions/closures, namespaces, and late static bindings. You should be aware that there are also a few breaks with backwards compatibility.

Is Java becoming a legacy language?

Multiple sources pointed me to Bruce Eckel's interesting post regarding C++ and Java. What I find most interesting is his assertion that the Java language is on its way to legacy status, while other languages on the JVM will thrive. I'm not a Java guy and I don't pretend to be, but languages like Groovy and Scala have been generating enough heat for this non-Java guy to hear about it. From my brief flirtation with Java ages ago, I would not be surprised if in the next few years, the folks who are wedded to the Java platform but dislike the Java language could very well out-.NET the .NET world. Remember, .NET's big promise was "the right language for the job," but all we've really gotten so far is VB.NET and C#, which are two sides to the same coin.

The Economist predicts the demise of revenue-poor Web 2.0

File this one under "duh." The Economist warns that Web 2.0 companies such as Twitter and Facebook are in grave danger because it's unproven that these companies can make money and that ad revenues rarely carry a service. I'll take it one step further: Not only do most of the Web 2.0 companies have no good way to monetize their users, but their users will never pay for their services. The worst part is that one of the cornerstones of Web 2.0 (in my mind) are APIs, which make it even more difficult to make money, since APIs let other people wrap your code and content in their moneymaking skin.

Missed Mix 09? Then go to Stir Trek

Microsoft is sending a lot of its folks who were at Mix 09 to Columbus, OH on May 8th to give presentations on the same topics. As a bonus, at 3:00 PM, they will show the new Star Trek film! Jeff Blankenburg has more details, or you can go to the Stir Trek site (get it?).

(Check out these Mix 09 presentation images, in which Microsoft designer Stephan Hoefnagels traces the evolution of the Windows 7 OS.)

IronPython 2.6 Alpha 1 is available

For those who like to live on the wild side (that is neither a Mötley Crüe nor a Lou Reed reference), IronPython 2.6 Alpha 1 has been released. It aims to bring IronPython inline with Python 2.6 in terms of feature set and functionality. There is a very good chance that I will be learning to work with IronPython once I've gotten through the Ruby book I've been meandering through, so I would appreciate any feedback you may have about it.

Microsoft expands DreamSpark to high school students

For some time now, Microsoft has used the DreamSpark program as a chance to get college kids using Microsoft products to learn about computing, particularly programming. Microsoft is expanding the program to include high school students.

Public high schools aren't known for having big budgets for things like teaching programming. Of course, there are plenty of open source alternatives out there, and Microsoft has offered various Express versions of Visual Studio for some time now. All the same, it is great to see Microsoft making this generous offer, even if it is shrewdly designed to wed future developers to the Microsoft platform early.

Silverlight 3 works better with SEO

Historically, one of the problems with RIAs is that they are not search engine friendly. Lately, search engines have been working to index text within RIAs. All the same, it would be nice to see the RIAs helping that out. The folks over at Microsoft are working hard to make Silverlight 3 SEO friendly. This could be another killer feature in Silverlight's assault on Flash's castle walls.

MacHeist provides an insanely great deal

MacHeist (caution: does not seem to work in Internet Explorer) is a really neat idea: They offer a bundle of Macintosh applications for a very low price ($39) and then donate much of the money to charity. The deal is only offered for two weeks, and as more people purchase the deal, more items get added to the bundle. This year's MacHeist 3 Bundle includes a few photo editors and an HTML editor, which may be useful to Web developers. Also included is World of Goo, which is a great game. The offer is only available for about another week, so check it out today!


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.


Get weekly development tips in your inbox Keep your developer skills sharp by signing up for TechRepublic's free Web Developer newsletter, delivered each Tuesday. Automatically subscribe today!


Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

Editor's Picks