Programming news: SQL Server drivers for PHP 2.0, NetBeans 6.9.1

Read about IronRuby, Splunk's App-of-the-month contest, a free Windows Phone 7 programming e-book, top project challenges, and more.


Language/library updates

SQL Server drivers for PHP 2.0 released

Microsoft released the second version of its SQL Server drivers for PHP. The big news is that support for PHP Data Objects is now included.

Is IronRuby dead?

Jimmy Schementi, one of the two Microsoft employees who was still working on IronRuby, has left Microsoft. It looks like there is no one working full time on IronRuby now. Considering that its 1.0 release was an awful lot later than expected and rather underwhelming, there's a good chance that IronRuby is dead in the water. (Thanks to Chip Camden for passing this on to me.)

Tools and products

NetBeans 6.9.1

Version 6.9.1 of the NetBeans IDE is now available. It rolls up a number of patches, as well as adds Chinese and Japanese language support.

Iron Speed Designer 7.0

Iron Speed Designer 7.0 was released near the end of July. One of the big features in this latest release is SharePoint integration.

Micro Focus offers free StarTeam Express

Micro Focus is giving away an Express version of its StarTeam Enterprise Solution, which is limited to 10 users. StarTeam is a software change and configuration management tool.

Price cut on Embarcadero tools

Embarcadero has a really good deal going on right now for folks who upgrade RAD Studio.

Visual Studio LightSwitch beta

The Internet is agog over the upcoming beta for LightSwitch (formerly "KittyHawk"). Basically, it takes a database and can generate a Silverlight app to manipulate the database. It's kind of cool, but unlike most, I am thoroughly unimpressed. Why? Because products like the Agile Platform, Alpha Five, m-Power, and Iron Speed have been doing this better and more maturely for a long time now. If this is the functionality you want, I suggest you take a look at those products first.

Alpha Five integrated with wiki for documentation

Alpha Software integrated its Alpha Five development environment with a wiki for documentation purposes. It will be interesting to see how this works and if it is more effective than traditional documentation.

Sauce TV allows real-time monitoring of testing

Sauce Labs (providers of cloud-based Selenium testing) has introduced Sauce TV. Sauce TV allows you to see what test machines see in real time, allowing you to catch problems revealed by the testing process even sooner.

SQL Server Microsoft Assistant for MySQL

Microsoft released the SQL Server Migration Assistants for MySQL, which makes it easy to move from MySQL to SQL Server or SQL Azure. Other migration assistants were also updated to include SQL Azure as a potential migration target.

Editorial and commentary

Lack of time, QA resources top project challenges

Embarcadero recently performed a survey of developers about what makes their life difficult. The results? Developers said that not having enough time for learning (60%) and testing (36%) were their biggest problems. The third place item was not enough time to document code, at 33%. To me, the big surprise is how few developers reported these as problems for them.

Tips and tricks

Splunk's app-of-the-month contest

Splunk has started an application contest for applications that use Splunk's real-time data analysis framework. First prize is a $500 gift certificate to Amazon or Think Geek; second place is a $250 gift certificate to either store. All entrants receive a shirt (and the first 10 also get a hat).

Free Windows Phone 7 programming e-book

Microsoft Press is giving away draft copies (and the final version, when available) of Charles Petzold's Programming Windows Phone 7. (Thanks to Chris Eargle for the tip.)

Free ASP.NET MVC training

InnerWorkings and Syncfusion are giving away free ASP.NET MVC training.

Understanding Windows Phone 7 navigation

Kirupa Chinnathambi has written an in-depth article that explains how navigation works in Windows Phone 7 apps.

Using Microsoft.Data.dll to make life easier

David Fowler has written a very nice post that details how to use Microsoft.Data.dll to make your life accessing data much easier.

Publishing a Web app and upgrading the database

One of the more annoying aspects of upgrading a Web application is ensuring that the database schema gets the appropriate changes. Xinyang Qiu has a good write-up of how to do this smoothly with Visual Studio 2010.

The Visual Studio 2010/.NET 4 Training Kit

Scott Hanselman wrote about how useful the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4 Training Kit is when trying to learn a new concept. I will definitely take a look at this resource.


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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