Paul Krill

About the Author Paul Krill


What’s new in TypeScript 2.6

Version 2.6 of Microsoft’s TypeScript language has moved to a release candidate stage. The new release of the typed superset of JavaScript features improvements such as increased strictness to help developers better find mistakes.

TypeScript 2.6 introduces a “strict” mode flag, which is identified as —strictFunctionTypes. In strict mode, any function type that does not originate from a method has its parameters compared “contravariantly,” Microsoft’s Daniel Rosenwasser, program manager for TypeScript, said.

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‘Universal’ Windows development adds .Net Standard 2.0 support

Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP), an attempt to foster development of apps across multiple devices all running Windows 10, now supports the .Net Standard 2.0 specification for .Net unification.

But this move comes right after Microsoft revealed it was effectively pulling the plug on its Windows Mobile platform for smartphones, making Universal Windows apps less universal. In fact, Microsoft has been expanding support for Android and iOS in its various development tools as it effectively cedes the mobile market to Google and Apple.

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What’s new at GitHub: dependency management, security alerts

GitHub is adding several services to its popular code-sharing site to help developers manage dependencies and improve security.

GitHub dependency graph service

With the dependency graph service, GitHub will use its own data to build a dependency graph that gives developers insight into both projects their code depends on and the projects that depend on their code.

The essential features in the GitHub dependency graph service

Via the dependency graph, developers can see which applications and packages they are connected to without leaving their repository. The graph currently supports JavaScript and Ruby code, with Python support planned for later.

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Kotlin could overtake Java on Android next year

Kotlin is on its way to overtaking Java on that mobile platform, claims mobile database maker Realm.

Realm performed an anonymized assessment of 100,000 developers using its database and which languages they were using, determined by developers’ selection of SDKs. Realm found that 20 percent of apps built with Java before Google’s May endorsement of Kotlin are now being built in Kotlin.

Based on that data, Realm predicts Kotlin will overtake Java on Android by December 2018. Kotlin may even change how Java is used on the server, the company said: “In short, Android developers without Kotlin skills are at risk of being seen as dinosaurs very soon.”

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What’s new in Microsoft Visual Studio Code 1.17

The September 2017 release of Visual Studio Code, aka version 1.17, has arrived with a number of significant updates. Among the many improvements, the upgrade to Microsoft’s open source code editor brings region markers to the code folding support and boosts the performance of the built-in terminal.

With code folding, developers can hide away regions of source code using folding icons on the gutter between the line numbers and the start of a line of code. The region markers allow you to specify with comments exactly where your foldable blocks begin and end. Markers have been defined for TypeScript, JavaScript, C and C++, C#, F#, PowerShell, and Visual Basic.

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Java microservices profile gets fault-tolerance capabilities

The Eclipse Foundation’s MicroProfile project to add microservices to enterprise Java has released MicroProfile 1.2, which adds capabilities for fault tolerance and security.

New features in MicroProfile 1.2

A fault-tolerance API in MicroProfile 1.2 provides a way for applications to deal with the unavailability of a microservice, said IBM Distinguished Engineer Ian Robinson, who has worked on MicroProfile. When old-style monolithic applications fail, they bring down the entire application. But applications composed of microservices continue to operate if a specific microservcie fails, leading to “more interesting failure scenarios,” he said. To deal with service failures, applications need a way of handling the unavailability of a service, such as to resort to a fallback service if a primary service is unavailable. Such fallbacks are what MicroProfile 1.2 allows.

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Apple’s Swift is losing developers to multiplatform frameworks

When Apple’s Swift language for MacOS and iOS development debuted in June 2014 as the modern successor to Objective-C, Swift began to gain a foothold with developers. But now Swift is actually slipping in popularity, according the latest Tiobe index.

Why is Swift losing steam? Tiobe attributes it to developers leaving the Apple-only Swift/Xcode development environment for frameworks that build multiplatform mobile apps such as Microsoft’s Xamarin, Apache Cordova, and Ionic. Xamarin leverages C# while Cordova and Ionic rely on JavaScript.

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Azure Functions serverless computing to finally get Java

Microsoft’s Azure Functions serverless computing platform now has beta support for Java programming, a feature developers have demanded since Azure Functions’ 2016 debut.

The beta inclusion of Java joins Azure Functions’ existing support of JavaScript, C#, F#, Python, PHP, Bash, Batch, and PowerShell.

The Java runtime will share features of Azure Functions such as triggering options, data bindings, and a serverless model with autoscaling. The new support for Java is a follow-up to Microsoft’s recently announced capability for running the open source Azure Functions runtime on .Net Core, the company’s cross-platform implementation of its .Net development platform.

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What’s in store for the next Java

Fresh from the long-awaited release of Java Development Kit (JDK) 9 on September 21, Oracle is mapping out planned upgrades for Java, including for the Java 18.3 version due in March 2018 as part of a new, six-month release schedule for standard Java.

Here is what Oracle has said is under consideration for the next and later versions of Java SE:

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Under Eclipse, changes to Java EE begin

As part of the change in ownership of Java EE (Enterprise Edition) from Oracle to the Eclipse Foundation, how Java EE works and is managed are starting to change.

For one, Oracle is making the Java EE technology compatibility kits (TCK), which ascertain if an implementation is compliant with Java, available via open source. Eclipse Executive Director Milinkovich called this “a very fundamental change to the dynamics of this ecosystem.”

Under the open-sourcing of the TCKs, users themselves can test for compliance instead of relying on what Milinkovich termed the previous “pay-to-play model” to confirm compliance—with Oracle using the TCKs as a way to exercise control over the Java EE ecosystem, he said. This open-sourcing of the TCKs should hopefully bring other providers to Java EE table, building implementations, Milinkovich added.

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Oracle joins the serverless fray with Fn

With its open source Fn project, Oracle is looking to make a splash in serverless computing.

Fn is a container native serverless platform that can be run on-premises or in the cloud. It requires the use of Docker containers. Fn developers will be able to write functions in Java initially, with Go, Ruby, Python, PHP, and Node.js support planned for later. Applications can be built and run without users having to provision, scale, or manage servers, by using the cloud.

Fn, as its name implies, relies heavily on functions, which are small blocks of code that generally do one simple thing. In a function, developers focus just on just the task they want the function to perform.

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What’s new in Kotlin 1.2? Code reuse, for starters

Version 1.2 of the statically typed Kotlin language, will offer an experimental feature enabling reuse of code across platforms, as well as compatibility with the Java 9 module system. The beta of Kotlin 1.2 is now available for download.

Kotlin’s experimental multiplatform projects capability lets developers reuse code between supported target platforms: JVM and JavaScript initially, and later native. Code to be shared between platforms is placed in a common module; platform-dependent parts are put in platform-specific modules. During compilation, code is produced for both the common and platform-specific parts.

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Java debugging comes to Visual Studio Code

Microsoft has released a Java debugger for its free open source editor, Visual Studio Code. The newly minted extension is intended to work as a companion to the Language Support for Java extension provided by Red Hat.  

Whereas Red Hat’s Language Support for Java extension provides IntelliSense capabilities and Java project support, it does not include debugging capabilities. Microsoft’s Java Debug Extension works with previous Red Hat’s extension to provide them. Still in a preview mode, the Java Debug Extension offers capabilities including launch/attach, breakpoints, control flow, data inspection, and a debug console. The Microsoft and Red Hat extensions are available separately or in the Java Extension Pack, which bundles both together in a single install. Microsoft’s plans call for enabling a modern workflow for Java, with more features and extensions planned going forward.

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Giraffe brings F# functional programming to ASP.Net Core

Giraffe, a micro web framework based on the F# language, is bringing functional-style programming to the development of web services on ASP.Net Core. Although F# is already supported in ASP.Net Core, Giraffe puts greater emphasis on the functional programming style by leveraging features such as higher-order functions. 

Likened to the Suave web server but specifically designed to work with Microsoft’s ASP.Net Core web framework, Giraffe is described as a native functional framework for building rich web applications that draws on advanced F# features. F# is an open source functional-first language that Microsoft created to address complex computing problems while producing simple, maintainable code.

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Google App Engine adds support for Java 8

Google has made the Java 8 runtime generally available on App Engine, the Google Cloud Platform’s development platform service. Google said the upgrade removes performance limitations Java developers have had to deal with when using the Java 7 runtime. Java 7 remains a supported option. 

“Unfortunately, using Java 7 on App Engine standard environment also required compromises, including limited Java classes, unusual thread execution, and slower performance because of sandboxing overhead,” said Amir Rouzrokh, Google product manager.

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What’s new in React 16 JavaScript UI library

React 16, the latest version of the popular JavaScript library for building UIs, goes live today, with a rewritten core for better performance.

Dubbed “React Fiber” during its development, React 16 is a rewrite of the React core, improving perceived responsiveness for complex applications via a new reconciliation algorithm.

Key features of the React 16 include:

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