John McCarthy, father of Lisp dies

A few weeks ago, we lost Dennis Ritchie. Not too long afterwards, John McCarthy died as well, on October 23. McCarthy is best known for the Lisp language, but while Lisp’s usage has faded away, many of its ideas (such as lambda calculus) are surging in popularity in languages like C#, Ruby, and Python. October has been a sad month indeed for computer science. (Read the TechRepublic post by Chris Duckett, Vale John McCarthy: Lisp creator and AI pioneer.)

Vim turns 20

Read TechRepublic Australia Editor Chris Duckett’s post about the 20th anniversary of Vim, which he thinks is the best command-line editor.

Language/library updates

PHP 5.4 beta

The second beta of PHP 5.4 is now available.

IronPython 2.7.1

IronPython 2.7.1 is available. It brings increased CPython compatibility and a new set of tools for Visual Studio.

BlackBerry BBX unveiled

RIM has taken the wraps off of BlackBerry BBX, the next generation of BlackBerry software. RIM says it is a cross between BlackBerry OS and its QNX acquisition. RIM’s BlackBerry strategy is continuing to be muddied, and hopefully BBX is the beginning of the company getting it straightened out.

Microsoft Roslyn CTP

Microsoft has a community technology preview of Roslyn, the compiler-as-a-service the company has been working on for quite some time. This is a pretty neat thing with some interesting potential for enterprising developers.

Synfusion Essential Studio Volume 4

Syncfusion released volume 4 of its Essential Studio package. Essential Studio covers a wide array of functionality from reporting to PDF parsing to screen controls, and is a great package to look at for .NET developers.

Tools and products

Zend Studio 9 beta

PHP vendor Zend is offering a free beta of its Zend Studio 9 IDE. If you buy Zend Studio 8 now, you can get a 10% coupon (coupon code 9beta) and a free upgrade to version 9 when it is available.

Zend’s phpcloud

Zend has also created a cloud environment for PHP called phpcloud.

appMobi’s new iOS marketplace

appMobi has an intriguing new way to deploy iOS apps called mobiUs. You write your apps in HTML5, and then you can deploy them via the mobiUs store. iOS users can install the mobiUs store as an app on their devices and access your apps from within it, but they can also download them for local usage as well. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

AppFog’s PaaS offering adds Java

AppFog announced that its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering will now support Java.

Alpha Five 11 released

Alpha Software released version 11 of its Alpha Five development environment. I looked at Alpha Five and found a lot to like.

Pentaho’s Business Analytics

Pentaho updated its Business Analytics application. The big improvement is the ability to do a processing in-memory across machines in a cluster.

Visual Studio 11 improvements

S. Somasegar wrote an article explaining some of the less obvious improvements in the upcoming Visual Studio 11.

Editorial and commentary

eCommerce usability improves, but still not good enough

Jakob Nielsen reports that that eCommerce success rates have gone from 56% in the dot-com era to 72% now, but it still isn’t good enough. Usability is a key factor in your success online, and his article has some good information.

Tips and tricks

Using BackgroundTasks in ASP.NET

Phil Haack has an in-depth look at how to improve the chances of BackgroundTasks in ASP.NET working properly. Warning: there be dragons.

Implementing authentication with WCF Web API

Phil Haack also has a tutorial showing how to use authentication with the WCF Web API.

Task.Run or Task.Factory.StartNew?

Stephen Toub sorts through the different ways to start Tasks and explains what you need to know about them.


Fall and early winter 2011: Windows PhoneCamps

If you want to get a hands-on look at Windows Phone 7 development, check out the Windows PhoneCamps that are going on all over the United States this fall and early winter.

November 1-30, 2011: Eclipse’s 10th birthday

Eclipse is celebrating its 10 year anniversary at DemoCamps worldwide in November.

November 5, 2011: PHP’n Rio

There’s a PHP conference in Rio de Janeiro on November 5.

November 8, 2011: 64 bit development in Delphi XE2

Embarcadero has a Webinar on November 8 showing how to do 64-bit development with Delphi XE2.

November 18, 2011: M3 Conference in Columbus, OH

The first M3 conference will be held November 18 in Columbus, OH. It will be all about mobile development.

January 27-28, 2012: PHPBenelux

The PHPBenelux 2012 conference in Antwerp will be held January 27 and 28.

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.