Developer news roundup: BUILD, AppFog, Web Workers HTML5 feature

Justin James highlights news about Windows 8, Zend Server 5.5, RailsInstaller 2, the dearth of parallel programming skills, and more.

Microsoft BUILD

The really huge news is the Microsoft BUILD event where Windows 8 was shown in a preview format. The topic that isn't getting as much coverage is the sweeping changes for developers; I'll cover that in-depth in next week's Software Engineer column. So far, while the amount of change is breathtaking, I feel like this may be a good opportunity to consider divorcing yourself from the Microsoft ecosystem.

For now, check out these Windows 8 links on TechRepublic:

Language/library updates

ASP.NET MVC 4 developer preview

At BUILD, Microsoft launched the developer preview of ASP.NET MVC 4.

BlackBerry Advertising SDK beta

RIM has its new Advertising SDK in beta now.

Tools and products

Zend Server 5.5

Zend Server 5.5 has been released. I spoke to the folks at Zend, and what's really interesting about the latest release is that it substantially improved PHP's deployment story. If you use PHP, you'll definitely want to take a look. I've reviewed Zend Server in the past and found it to be a good system.

Embarcadero released RAD Studio XE2, FireMonkey

Embarcadero released RAD Studio XE2, including new versions of Delphi, C++ Builder, and RadPHP. Also included is newcomer FireMonkey, which allows developers to create cross-platform capable native apps for Windows, Mac, and iOS. FireMonkey leverages the GPU as well as the CPU for some very nice visuals.

RailsInstaller 2

RailsInstaller 2 (which makes it easy for Windows developers to get started with Rails) has been released. One of the big improvements is revving the included Ruby to 1.9.2 and Rails 3.1.

AppFog adding Ruby, Node.js support

AppFog, a Platform-as-a-Service provider, has announced support for Ruby and Node.js.

Editorial and commentary

More parallel programming skills needed to continue innovation

Computerworld Australia writes that the overall dearth of parallel programming skills will be a critical shortage holding back the industry as continued growth and innovation requires them to leverage current and future hardware. I am in full agreement. Few people who know how to write parallel code, and it's not just the lack of knowledge of the syntax. Parallel programming requires a different way of thinking about code, which is rarely practiced outside of doing the work itself, so the skills shortage won't resolve itself any time soon.

Tips and tricks

How to easily minify/optimize JavaScript, CSS, and PNGs

Scott Hanselman has a nice, quick tutorial showing how to easily minify your CSS and JavaScript and optimize your PNGs for faster site load times.

HTML5 Web Workers for multithreaded JavaScript

David Roussett has a great article discussing the new Web Workers feature of HTML5 and how to use it for multithreaded JavaScript applications.

Using HTML5 video

Nigel Parker has a blog post on MSDN showing how to go about using the HTML5 video system on your site.

Roundup of ASP.NET 4.5, ASP.NET MVC 4, ASP.NET Web Pages 2, Visual Studio 11 Preview

Jon Galloway put together a great list of links for all of the latest in Microsoft development technologies.


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.


The PHPBenelux 2012 conference in Antwerp will be held January 27 and 28. The call for papers is open until October 15.

PHP Barcelona Conference 2011

The PHP Barcelona Conference 2011 will be October 28 and 29.