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.Net Core 2.0 to extend coding optimizations to Linux

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 20:24

The next version of Microsoft’s open source, cross-platform version of the .Net software platform, .Net Core 2.0, will bring profile-guided optimization (PGO) to Linux x64. PGO is native compilation technology used by the C++ compiler to generate faster-running code. 

PGO features a two-step process, including a training run that records information about execution and a build step that uses the results of the training run to generate better optimized code, Microsoft’s Bertrand Le Roy and Daniel Podder explained in a blog post. The .Net Core 2.0 upgrade will add PGO optimizations to .Net Core on both the Windows x86 and Linux x64 platforms. PGO began working with Windows x64 in the .Net Core 1.1 release and it has been used in the Windows-based .Net Framework for years.

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Microcosm simplifies state management for React apps

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 16:56

Viget Labs has published a data layer for Facebook’s popular React JavaScript UI library. Called Microcosm, the open source tool manages state and data flow for React applications, keeping track of user actions even when users switch context or lose connectivity. 

Formally introduced to the public this month, Microcosm reduces the need for boilerplate code and keeps React apps organized. The company has described Microcosm as being an evolution of Facebook’s Flux application architecture for client-side web applications. Viget has been running Microcosm in production itself for two years.

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Survey says Python is tops with developers

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 06:00

Python, which was already surging in popularity among developers, has received another endorsement, getting the nod as the most popular tool in IT service provider Packt’s just-released developer survey.

The language is used by nearly 20 percent of respondents, giving it the top spot. The report echoes Python’s high rankings in language popularity indexes from Tiobe, PyPL, and RedMonk, which all have the language finishing in their recent top five rankings.

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Mozilla brings Python-style project documentation to JavaScript

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 13:17

Wanting a more full-featured documentation tool for large JavaScript projects, Mozilla has unveiled Sphinx-js, a plug-in that pulls JSDoc-formatted JavaScript documentation into the Sphinx documentation tool used in the Python world.  

Sphinx-js consumes documents and tags from the JSDoc markup language used to document JavaScript APIs and libraries. Sphinx-js delegates the parsing to JSDoc itself. The Sphinx tool, meanwhile, is used to initialize a docs folder in the root folder of your project, whereupon the plug-in is activated and you document your code using the reStructuredText plain text markup syntax and parser system.

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Go language soars to new heights in popularity

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 16:06

Go, Google’s open source, concurrency-friendly programming language, has soared to new heights with developers, cracking the top 10 in the Tiobe index of language popularity for the first time.

With an all-time high rating of 2.363 percent, Go ranks as the 10th most popular programming language in this month’s index, ahead of languages such as Perl, Swift, Ruby, and Visual Basic. The Tiobe Programming Community index assesses language popularity using a formula based on frequency of searches for the languages in popular search engines such as Google, Bing, Baidu, and Wikipedia.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Tap the power of Google's Go language. | The best Go language IDEs and editors. | Keep up with hot topics in programming with InfoWorld's App Dev Report newsletter. ]

Tiobe called Go’s latest rise an important landmark and pondered what was next. “Is Go really able to join the big stars in the programming language world and leave languages such as JavaScript and Python behind? We will see.” The language was ranked in 55th place in the index a year ago. Go’s previous high score was a 2.325 percent rating in January, when it placed 13th.

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Luna brings visual development to functional programming

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 06:00

Described by the creators as a developer’s whiteboard “on steroids,” the Luna functional language promises to enable application assembly by clicking and dragging visual elements together.

Expected to be released as open source when Luna reaches beta, its compiler will produce native code for the developer’s choice of Linux, MacOS, Windows, or JavaScript. The team behind Luna is seeking candidates for a private alpha release.

[ Get started with functional programming, including examples in F#. | Keep up with hot topics in programming with InfoWorld’s App Dev Report newsletter. ]

Luna’s creators argue that because developers typically start sketching components and dependencies on a whiteboard before coding, it doesn’t make sense to then implement that logic only in text. Software can have thousands of lines of code distributed in hundreds of files, which can trip up the implementation of that visual data flow and application architecture. Tools such as UML architecture diagrams only deal with the symptoms and not the problem’s source, Luna’s creators argue.

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What's new in Kubernetes 1.7

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 06:00

In Kubernetes version 1.7, the container orchestration and management system is gaining slew of new security, stateful application, and extensibility features

Kubernetes 1.6 was mainly about stabilizing and bringing to term long-planned changes, such as using version 3 of the ETCD distributed key-value store. But many of Kubernetes 1.7’s new features are only in the alpha stage, more signals of how Kubernetes is trying to be more useful in a broader range of scenarios. Other new capabilities bring in features previously relegated to other parts of the container ecosystem.

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Eclipse gets ready for Java 9 with Oxygen release train

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 06:00

The Eclipse Foundation’s annual release train, featuring simultaneous updates to dozens of projects, has just arrived, featuring preliminary Java 9 support. Called Oxygen, the release train covers 83 projects and includes 71 million lines of code.

Here are the key updates in Oxygen:

[ Keep track of what’s changed in Java 9 in InfoWorld’s live changelog, “What’s new in Java 9.” | Keep up with hot topics in programming with InfoWorld's App Dev Report newsletter. ]
  • Java 9 support remains in beta stage, because Java 9 itself will not be made available until Java Development Kit 9 ships on September 21. Oxygen’s Java 9 support includes the ability to add the Java Runtime Environment for Java 9 as the installed JRE as well as backing for the Java 9 execution environment. Developers also can create Java and plug-in projects using Java 9 and compile modules that are part of a Java project. Eclipse’s signature Java IDE has been enhanced as well, with improvements to the UI.
  • Eclipse Linux Tools 6.0 updates Docker Tools with more security options. This project provides a C/C++ IDE for Linux developers.
  • Eclipse PDT (PHP Development Tools) 5.0 supports the 7.1 version of PHP, which offers nullable types and a void return type.
  • The Eclipse Sirius 5.0 platform for building domain-specific modeling tools, with usability enhancements.
  • Eclipse EGit 4.8.0, offering performance and usability for the Java implementation of Git code management integration for Eclipse.

Focused on open source tools, Eclipse has offered annual release trains every June since 2006, letting developers coordinate upgrades or new releases of multiple projects. Last year’s release train, Neon, offered tools for Docker and JavaScript. June 2018’s release is slated to be called Neon.

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The road to Java 9: Modular Java finally gets OK'd

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 06:00

Modularity, a key but highly controversial feature of the upcoming Java 9 release, looks to be back on track with the Java community’s adoption of a proposal that had failed in an initial vote weeks earlier.

With new round of voting completed this week, the Java Community Process Executive Committee passed by a 24-0 vote the Java Platform Module System public review ballot, the subject of Java Specification Request 376.

[ Keep track of what’s changed in Java 9 in InfoWorld’s live changelog, “What’s new in Java 9.” | Keep up with hot topics in programming with InfoWorld's App Dev Report newsletter. ]

In May, the same group, citing concerns over the plan being disruptive and lacking consensus, voted the measure down, 13 to 10. In the aftermath, Java Development Kit 9, where the module system was to be delivered, was postponed from July 27 to September 21.

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Nvidia's new TensorRT speeds machine learning predictions

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 18:02

Nvidia has released a new version of TensorRT, a runtime system for serving inferences using deep learning models through Nvidia’s own GPUs.

Inferences, or predictions made from a trained model, can be served from either CPUs or GPUs. Serving inferences from GPUs is part of Nvidia’s strategy to get greater adoption of its processors, countering what AMD is doing to break Nvidia’s stranglehold on the machine learning GPU market.

[ Revealed: AMD’s strategy to become a machine learning giant. | Roundup: TensorFlow, Spark MLlib, Scikit-learn, MXNet, Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit, and Caffe machine learning and deep learning frameworks. ]

Nvidia claims the GPU-based TensorRT is better across the board for inferencing than CPU-only approaches. One of Nvidia’s proffered benchmarks, the AlexNet image classification test under the Caffe framework, claims TensorRT to be 42 times faster than a CPU-only version of the same test — 16,041 images per second vs. 374—when run on Nvidia’s Tesla P40 processor. (Always take industry benchmarks with a grain of salt.)

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Progressive web apps challenge native mobile apps

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 06:00

Native mobile apps have generally had the edge when it comes to user experience over web-based apps. But the tide is turning, with progressive web apps — a technology spearheaded by Google and Mozilla—catching on at major web properties and developer tools becoming available.

“We’re starting to see a lot of large companies come back to the web because of its low friction,” said Addy Osmani, an engineering manager on Google’s Chrome team. He cited Lyft and Twitter as examples.

[ Get started: How to launch the right mobile development strategy. | Keep up with hot topics in programming with InfoWorld's App Dev Report newsletter. ]

Twitter’s progressive web app, Twitter Lite, takes up less than 1MB of memory, compared to more than 100MB for its native iOS app and 23MB for its native Android app, Osmani said. The client-side JavaScript app uses less data and supports push notifications and offline use.

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The road to Java 9: Only critical bugs getting fixed now

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 06:00

With the initial release candidate build for Java 9 now published, Oracle has proposed that from here on out, only “showstopper” bugs be fixed for the production Java 9 release, which is due September 21.

The proposal floated this week represents a further tightening up of bug-fixing goals for RDP (Rampdown Phase) 2 of the Java upgrade. The plan calls for fixing all P1 (Priority 1) bugs critical to the success of Java Development Kit (JDK) 9. Also, builders would decommit from fixing any bugs not new in JDK 9 and not critical to the release, even if they had been targeted for fixing.

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Google open-sources TensorFlow training tools

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:50

Over the past year, Google’s TensorFlow has asserted itself as a popular open source toolkit for deep learning. But training a TensorFlow model can be cumbersome and slow—especially when the mission is to take a dataset used by someone else and try to refine the training process it uses. The sheer number of moving parts and variations in any model-training process is enough to make even deep-learning experts take a deep breath.

This week, Google open-sourced a project intended to cut down on the amount of work in configuring a deep learning model for training. Tensor2Tensor, or T2T for short, is a Python-powered workflow organization library for TensorFlow training jobs. It lets developers specify the key elements used in a TensorFlow model and define the relationships among them.

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Ruby’s decline in popularity may be permanent

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 06:00

Ruby has had a reputation as a user-friendly language for building web applications. But its slippage in this month’s RedMonk Programming Language Rankings has raised questions about where exactly the language stands among developers these days.

The twice-yearly RedMonk index ranked Ruby at eighth, the lowest position ever for the language. “Swift and now Kotlin are the obvious choices for native mobile development. Go, Rust, and others are clearer modern choices for infrastructure,” said RedMonk analyst Stephen O’Grady. “The web, meanwhile, where Ruby really made its mark with Rails, is now an aggressively competitive and crowded field.”

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CheerpJ converts Java apps into JavaScript for the web

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 06:00

Melding Java and web development, CheerpJ is being readied as compiler technology that takes Java bytecode and turns it into JavaScript, for execution in browsers. Based on the LLVM/Clang compiler platform as well as Learning Technologies’ own Cheerp C++-to-JavaScript compiler, CheerpJ takes Java bytecode and turns it into JavaScript without needing the Java source.

In CheerpJ, applications and Java libraries are converted to web applications, so there is no need for plug-ins or Java installations. Server-side Java components can become client-side browser-based libraries while native Java code serves as platform-independent components for the Node.js server-side JavaScript platform.

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JVM may get upgrade to support today’s multicore processors

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 06:00

Oracle is proposing an update to the Java Virtual Machine to allow for direct-value class types, a modernization required by the advent of multicore processors. There is no schedule for when the changes might appear in the JVM.

The changes to the JVM specification would support a prototype of value classes—classes for which primitive-like non-reference value instances can be created and acted upon. “The proposals for value types in Java are about giving developers the alternative to give up identity and polymorphism so that the runtime can represent the underlying data in a way which is both far more compact and much better suited for processing in bulk operations,” said Georges Saab, Oracle’s vice president of software development in the Java platform group.

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What’s new in Google’s Go 1.9 language

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 15:30

The next version of Google’s popular Go language will improve performance, compilation, and scaling to large code bases. Go 1.9 should be released in August.

Go 1.9’s creators expect almost all Go programs to run as they did before, given the focus on maintaining compatibility in this latest release. 

[ Also on InfoWorld: Tap the power of Google's Go language. | The best Go language IDEs and editors. | Keep up with hot topics in programming with InfoWorld's App Dev Report newsletter. ]

Here’s what's new and improved:

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Scala goes skinny: Ammonite tunes the heavyweight for simple tasks

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 17:31

Ammonite, an open source tool to use the Scala language for scripting, should debut in its Version 1.0 production version in next two months.

The two-year-old project lets Scala be used for small scripts. It offers an interactive REPL (read-eval-print loop) and system shell capabilities. The project also can be used as a library in existing Scala projects, via the Ammonite-Ops file system library.

[ Use JavaScript in your dev shop? InfoWorld looks at 6 best JavaScript IDEs and 22 JavaScript frameworks ready for adoption. | Keep up with hot topics in programming with InfoWorld's App Dev Report newsletter. ]

"Scala has traditionally been a heavy, powerful language with heavy, powerful tools. Ammonite aims to let you use it for small, simple tasks as well,” said Ammonite developer Li Haoyi, a former engineer at Fluent Systems. The project enables Scala to vie for tasks that previously have been the domain of Python or the Bash shell for small housekeeping or automation scripts. It also can be used for file system and system administration.

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TypeScript 2.4 improves load times, weak type-checking

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 12:21

Version 2.4 of TypeScript, a popular, typed superset of JavaScript, will offer improved load times with the addition of a dynamic import expressions capability. A release candidate version is now available via NuGet or via NPM, using the command npm install -g typescript@rc.

New TypeScript 2.4 features include dynamic import expressions, an ECMAScript feature that allows for asynchronously loading a module at any arbitrary point in a program. The capability results in faster load times for critical content, with less JavaScript being transmitted in many common scenarios. “Projects that use bundlers like Webpack can operate on these import() calls and split code into smaller bundles that can be lazily loaded,” said Daniel Rosenwasser, Microsoft’s program manager for TypeScript.

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Visual Studio Code comes to Chromebooks, Raspberry Pi

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 06:00

A community build project led by developer Jay Rodgers is making Visual Studio Code, Microsoft’s lightweight source code editor, available for Chromebooks, Raspberry Pi boards, and other devices based on 32-bit or 64-bit ARM processors.

Supporting Linux and Chrome OS as well as the DEB (Debian) and RPM package formats, the automated builds of Visual Studio Code are intended for less-common platforms that might not otherwise receive them. Obvious beneficiaries will be IoT developers focused on ARM devices—and the Raspberry Pi in particular—who will find it helpful to have the editor directly on the device they’re programming against. 

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