Language/library updates

Java EE 6 overview

Sun has posted a nice overview of what’s changed in Java EE 6, including numerous code samples. A lot of the changes address many of the friction points in the Java development cycle, including deployment headaches and the density of the XML configuration system.

ECMAScript gets an update

ECMAScript (aka JavaScript and ActionScript) now has a version 5 spec, InfoQ reports. This is good news for developers, and it will hopefully lead to further advances in Web development.

RoR 2.3.5 released

Ruby on Rails 2.3.5 has been released. There are a few new features, a number of bug fixes, and one security patch.

IronPython 2.6 final

The final version of IronPython 2.6 has been released. It looks like a massive improvement!

Gears development ceases

Google is no longer developing Gears (Google will continue to maintain it though) and are pushing developers to HTML 5. Hope you didn’t tie your cart to that horse. InfoQ has the details.

Ruby on Rails on Azure… huh?

In a surprising move, Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform will support Ruby on Rails. Over the last few years, Microsoft has worked hard to get PHP developers giving the Microsoft platform a chance, and now it looks like the company is chasing the Rails community too.

Rubinius 1 RC1 released

Rubinius released the first release candidate of its Ruby VM.

Microsoft working on a language for visualization

Microsoft Research is working on a new language called Vedea, which is designed to work with visualizations. It looks to be very neat, and it makes me wish I had the talent and the ability to do that kind of work.

Python 2.7 alpha 1 available

The first alpha of Python 2.7 has been released. Python 2.7 will be the last major release in the 2.X line; it contains a number of features from Python 3.1.

Security hole in Ruby 1.9

Ruby 1.9 has a security problem around the ljust, rjust, and center methods of the String class. (The problem does not exist in Ruby 1.8.) A new version of Ruby 1.9 has been released that fixes the problem, along with more than 100 other bugs.

Mono 2.4.3 out

Mono 2.4.3 has been released; it is filled with bug fixes.

Tools and products

Microsoft AJAX CDN now supports SSL

If you want to use the Microsoft AJAX Content Delivery Network (CDN) but your site uses SSL, the CDN now supports SSL. This will eliminate the browser warnings about non-SSL content on SSL pages.

Eclipse Marketplace up and running

The Eclipse Marketplace has opened, and it replaces the buggy EPIC system. Based on what I’ve read, it sounds like Eclipse Marketplace works well, and EPIC was just awful.

uTest giving free Kindles and $500 discounts

uTest is offering a free Kindle and a $500 discount to anyone ordering a test cycle until the end of 2009. I like the uTest idea, and this is good motivation to give it a shot.

Intel betas Atom Development SDK

Intel has released a beta of its Atom Development SDK to help developers write applications for Atom-powered netbooks.

Delphi 2010 to come with extra goodies

From now until the end of the year, a purchase of Delphi 2010 will also come with a copy of Delphi for PHP and the TMS Smooth Controls Pack. I liked Delphi 2010 when I reviewed it, and I liked Delphi for PHP when I reviewed it.

Gear6 offers Memcached for the cloud

Gear6 is making its Memcached product available on Amazon Web Services. For developers who need to scale their cloud-based applications, you should check this out.

Orchard CMS moving to CodePlex Foundation

Microsoft is moving its Orchard CMS to the CodePlex Foundation. It will be interesting to see how that changes the development of the product.

Lunascape 6 final release

Lunascape 6 has been released in a final form. The newest version of the triple engine browser adds support for Firefox add-ons, which increases its value to Web browsers and developers.

Editorial and commentary

70% of Web users base which site they shop from on technical merits

A new study by uTest shows that only about 1 in 3 online shopper choose price as their #1 criteria for selecting an online retailer. In fact, 70% of shoppers picked items that the development team controls, such as ease of use and search capabilities. In addition, the uTest testers found more than 500 bugs between,, and Amazon, who had the least number of bugs by far, was also the most trusted site of the three by a whopping 75% of responders. Coincidence? I doubt it. Bugs kill customer trust pretty quickly. The real takeaway here is that the tech teams need the tools, time, and resources to find and fix bugs and to get features done right. Failure to do so will destroy trust which is hard to earn again once it’s lost.

A cautionary GPL tale

Earlier this year, it was discovered that a Microsoft tool contained some GPLed code; Microsoft’s story is that a third-party contractor used it. Now, Microsoft has decided to GPL the entire application rather than try to rip out the GPLed code.

Folks, this is why you have to be very, very careful when copying code, using libraries, or even using snippets of code from a Web site. Just because it is available for you to read the code does not mean that you can use it without consequences! If the choice is between putting an entire project under GPL that was not meant to be under GPL, or performing an audit of the code and looking for anything that might be GPLed, do you want to be the person who put your employer in that scenario in the first place?

I’m not anti-GPL per se (although I much prefer the MIT and BSD licenses) — it’s just that I think that too many people fail to fully grasp the implications of GPL and what happens when you use code covered by it in a project.

Tips and tricks

Twitter now open to all

Twitter has opened its feed of real-time data to everyone. If you have an idea to build an app on top of Twitter, now you have even more access to the data.


MountainWest RubyConf scheduled for March 2010

The MountainWest RubyConf will be in Salt Lake City on March 11 and March 12. They have a call for speakers going on right now.

Eclipse Community Awards accepting nominations

Do you know someone who has been a big help to the Eclipse community? If so, nominate them for the 2010 batch of Eclipse Community Awards.

5th Annual UK PHP Conference scheduled for February 2010

The 5th annual UK PHP Conference will be help in London on February 26, 2010. The sooner you register, the better, since they are having early bird discounts.


Disclosure of Justin’s industry affiliations: Justin James has a contract with Spiceworks to write product buying guides; he has a contract with OpenAmplify, which is owned by Hapax, to write a series of blogs, tutorials, and articles; and he has a contract with OutSystems to write articles, sample code, etc.


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