Thanks for the great response to last week’s programming news roundup! We’re glad that TechRepublic members are finding this feature useful. I reached out to a lot of PR folks I know and asked them to start the fire hose of information, so this week we have lots of good stuff. I’m also starting to reach out to a few communities that I participate in to get good pieces for you. So, without further ado, I’ll lead off with a pretty big item.

Embarcadero introduces all-in-one pricing plans

Embarcadero Technologies, Inc. (the folks who bought CodeGear nee “Borland’s development tool division” last year) just announced a new set of pricing plans to go into effect Feb. 18, 2009. These plans (which are broken down into four tiers of service) provide an “all-in-one toolbox” to developers called All-Access. (Note: This announcement went public today, but the All-Access site will not be live until Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009.)

These new plans are very cool for a number of reasons, which include the following:

  • Save big bucks all around
  • Get the tools you need at a low price
  • Extremely flexible licensing options: workstation/user, named user, unnamed user (this is especially nice; you check licenses in and out as needed, which can save a lot of money, particularly in a multi-shift shop)
  • Offers a complete stack of tools that all work against multiple DB backends and on multiple OSs
  • Zero-install, “one-click” to run applications. This is a major item for developers who are constantly adding and removing tools from their systems or working on many systems.
  • In contrast to other licensing schemes, this allows licensees to do the entire range of tasks out there instead of being role based like MSDN; this also provides a lot more flexibility, particularly for people who need to do non-core tasks on a regular basis.

Each level offers tools for desktop development (Delphi, C++ Builder, Delphi Prism), DB development and design (various Embarcadero tools), optimization, Web development (3rdRail and Delphi for PHP), a DB server (InterBase), and Java development (JBuilder). In addition, you get access to the Embarcadero Developer Network.

Overall, this is an outstanding value at the price points announced. I know all of the products, but seeing the grid of them in the offerings made me realize that the combined Embarcadero/CodeGear development stack is insanely deep. If you’re already a customer, this will put a smile on your face; and if you aren’t one, this gives you a good reason to take a look at the product line.

A cloud vendor gets real about the cloud’s limitations

Javier Soltero, CEO at Hyperic (a cloud computing vendor) has a really nice blog post about the limitations of cloud computing. Readers of this blog probably won’t be too surprised by anything he says and will likely have a few items to add to it, judging from the feedback I’ve read about some of the posts here about cloud computing. Nonetheless, I think it is refreshing to see the CEO of a vendor throwing some much needed reality into the hype cycle of his own industry. He did make a point that I had never considered, which is that cloud computing forces developers into the deployment role too. Personally, I have always been involved with deployment one way or the other, so it never occurred to me that most developers don’t do (or assist with) deployment. But looking around, he’s right; I’m the exception, not the rule, and cloud computing puts developers on the hook for deployment.

Divelements offers Ribbon/Fluent controls for Silverlight and better tool windows

Lately, it seems like a lot of developers are looking to add an Office 2007-like Ribbon (aka the Fluent interface) to their application. It makes sense; the Ribbon is a great way to present a lot of functionality without overwhelming users.

Divelements just released a Ribbon-style control called SandRibbon for Silverlight. This helps you build nicer Silverlight apps, and it helps position Silverlight as a platform for serious app building.

In addition, Divelements has released an update to SandDock that gives Silverlight developers a lot of new options that are familiar to traditional WinForms developers. SandDock includes dockable/collapsible tool windows, hierarchical tabbed documents, and standalone windows.

Honestly, I have been pleasantly surprised by a lot of the things I see out there for Silverlight. I am beginning to think that it may indeed have a real future, and may be more than just the Flash knockoff that most of us assumed it was at first.

Coral8 releases version 5.6 of its engine

Coral8 makes a “complex event processing” and “continuous intelligence” engine. A few years ago, I read a bit about this type of work, and I cannot tell you how much it intrigued the wannabe math nerd in me (I know I could never make it as a real math nerd, but sometimes I really wish I could). In a nutshell, these are systems for performing complex analysis on massive amounts of real-time data (e.g., discovering sudden new shifts in financial markets on a minute-by-minute basis).

This new version offers tight integration with .NET 3.5, better performance (including an “up to 50%” drop in RAM usage), and some new expressions. Existing customers will want to upgrade.

I don’t know this particular market too well, but I’d love to hear from you if you have any experience with this kind of software. It looks fascinating!

Lunascape claims JavaScript speed crown

Lunascape (the browser with three engines) released a new version that claims the fastest JavaScript execution on the planet. While I am unsure how beneficial JavaScript speed is (how many sites run so much JavaScript that a 200 nanosecond delay will be noticed?), it is definitely an achievement to beat out the engineering teams at Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft. Lunascape also passes the Acid3 test with flying colors, and its inclusion of the “big three” engines (IE’s Trident, Mozilla’s Gecko, and WebKit) means that you can use the engine you prefer and have the ability to stay in your browser and use a different engine if needed. This can make testing easier, as well as using browser-specific Web sites less of a headache.

I’m giving a presentation on March 17th in Greenville, SC

My presentation in Florence, SC last week went well, although it was not very well attended. The people who were there were a great group of folks, and I hope to see them again soon. On March 17, I will be doing the same presentation about the Parallel Extensions Library in Greenville, SC. I’ll be there with GSP Developers, the Greenville/Spartanburg Enterprise Developers Guild. Hope to see you there! Remember, they have pizza and great giveaways.


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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