We have a number of interesting items to pass on to you this week, including teasers about what is on the horizon. As always, feedback, links, and tips are always welcome. Enjoy!

Groovy 1.6 released

Long-time TechRepublic Programming and Development reader and commenter Jean-Simon LaRochelle passed on the news that Groovy 1.6 has been released. Groovy is an interesting language running on the JVM. It combines many aspects of Java with a lot of inspiration from dynamic languages like Ruby. If you aren’t familiar with Groovy, InfoQ has a fairly in-depth article about Groovy 1.6.

The Java Universe isn’t my domain, but I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Groovy from the folks I know who work with Java. If you are tied to the Java platform and looking for something a bit different from the Java language itself, you’ll want to check out Groovy.

mod_perlite aims to rejuvenate Perl’s Web presence

It’s hard not to notice the rapid decline in developers using Perl to write Web applications. The primary problem with Perl is not the language itself but how the language interacts with Web sites. Traditionally, the choices have been CGI, which is clumsy, or mod_perl, which is dangerous.

Two Perl developers have introduced a new Apache module called mod_perlite, which acts as a middle ground between CGI and mod_perl. O’Reilly has an in-depth interview with the developers. The Perl community is enthusiastic and smart; I would not be surprised if, given enough time, we might see a resurgence in Web development in Perl. I’m not saying it will happen, just that I won’t be surprised if it does.

Microsoft offers tech training

Last week, I wrote about how Construx Software is offering free training to laid-off developers. Microsoft’s Elevate America program also offers technical training. Microsoft is working in conjunction with local governments. I am sure that whatever you learn will probably be Microsoft-centric, but if you are looking for some new job skills, this is one route you may way to explore.

Lytecube promises free, zero-code RAD

Lytecube is offering a free edition of its LyteRAD software. The free version is fairly limited, but looking at the product, it seems quite interesting. LyteRAD claims to be zero-code needed to construct data-driven desktop applications. It looks like it is Java-based. I’ve heard similar claims before, so I tend to be a bit dubious of these things, but you should check out the free edition to see if it is a good fit for your projects.

Xpert-Timer time tracking software makes sure you get paid for every minute

A while back, I worked for a firm that dealt exclusively with legal, financial, and government customers. Part of the environment was time tracking. Every minute of your day had to be tied to a project or “administrative overhead.” To make a phone call, you even needed to punch in a project number so it could be billed properly. If you work in an environment like this, Xpert-Design has a product for you called Xpert-Timer. It gives you an easy way to keep track of every minute to ensure accurate billing. And in today’s economy, getting every dollar you’ve earned makes good sense.

Intel Academic Community continues to expand

The Intel Academic Community has now added its 1,000th member (across 72 countries). This program provides support for universities and colleges to teach hardcore topics which include parallel programming and mathematical programming. The program seems to really be focused on C++ and Fortran development (while fact checking Fortran, I discovered that it is no longer spelled in all caps). If your university’s Computer Science (or Software Engineering) program is of the type that could use this, point your institution’s administrators to Intel.

ACM adds two more papers to its Hall of Fame

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has added two new papers to its Hall of Fame. I find these kinds of papers really fascinating, and I wish I had learned more formal Computer Science so I could understand them better. An interesting factoid: 40% of the ACM’s Hall of Fame papers include a current member of Microsoft Research as an author. It shows how much pure Computer Science research Microsoft is involved in, and how many elite researchers they employ. Imagine if 40% of Olympic gold medal winners were from the same country, or if 40% of U.S. presidents came from the same state.

Coming up: Interview series

We are working hard to bring you a series of interviews that should knock your socks off. I don’t want to name any names and get anyone’s hopes up prematurely, but let’s just say that the first gentleman to respond is someone who has come up with ideas that every reader of this blog has either used or heard of. Another person who has expressed interest is someone… with a beard. Enigmatic enough for ya? Keep watching for more details. In the meantime, feel free to post your guesses in the discussion!


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!