20 years on, open source hasn’t changed the world as promised

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Open source has officially been a thing for 20 years now. Did anyone notice?

No, really. For something as revolutionary as open source, you’d think it would have changed the way all software is developed, sold, and distributed. Unfortunately for those party planners looking to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of open source, it hasn’t—changed software, that is. For most developers, most of the time, software remains stubbornly proprietary.

What has changed in 20 years is the narrative about software. We’re now comfortable with the idea that software can, and maybe should, be open source without the world ending. The actual opening of that source, however, is something to tackle in the next 20 years.

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C completes comeback in programming popularity

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The once-declining C language has completed a comeback in the monthly Tiobe Index of language popularity, winning the 2017 Programming Language of the Year designation from Tiobe as the biggest gainer in share.

Although the language only grew 1.69 percentage points in its rating year over year in the January index, that was enough beat out runners-up Python (1.21 percent gain) and Erlang (0.98 percent gain). Just five months ago, C was at its lowest-ever rating, at 6.477 percent; this month, its rating is 11.07 percent, once again putting it in second place behind Java (14.215 percent)—although Java dropped 3.05 percent compared to January 2017. C’s revival is possibly being fueled by its popularity in manufacturing and industry, including the automotive market, Tiobe believes.

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What’s new in ECMAScript 2018

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ECMAScript, the standard specification underlying JavaScript, is on track for a new release, likely in June.

So far, two proposals have been finalized for inclusion in the ECMAScript 2018 specification. Both are considered as fairly foundational work and not major features, said Zibi Braniecki, a senior software engineer at Mozilla who participates in the development of ECMAScript.

The two proposals include:

  • Lifting of the template literal restriction, to enable the embedding of languages, including domain-specific languages (DSLs). Currently, restrictions on escape clauses make this a problem. The revision cleans up the behavior of literals, letting them be used for DSLs so programmers can create their own minilanguages if neeeded.
  • Adding the s (dotAll) flag for regular expressions, providing consistent behavior for these expressions. The feature is intended to address limitations in which the dot (.) in regular expressions does not match line-terminator characters, said author Axel Rauschmeyer, who has focused on JavaScript. The s flag changes that. This flag will operate on an opt-in basis, so existing regular expressions patterns will not be affected.

There are four other features under strong consideration, which would make it easier to program with JavaScript, Braniecki said. These include:

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Serverless computing with AWS Lambda, Part 1

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Serverless computing may be the hottest thing in cloud computing today, but what, exactly, is it? This two-part tutorial starts with an overview of serverless computing–from what it is, to why it’s considered disruptive to traditional cloud computing, and how you might use it in Java-based programming.

Following the overview, you’ll get a hands-on introduction to AWS Lambda, which is considered by many the premiere Java-based solution for serverless computing today. In Part 1, you’ll use AWS Lambda to build, deploy, and test your first Lambda function in Java. In Part 2, you’ll integrate your Lambda function with DynamoDB, then use the AWS SDK to invoke Lambda functions in a Java application.

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Get 33% Off H&R Block’s Federal & State Tax Software, Plus a 5% Amazon Bonus

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If you’re a tax time do-it-yourselfer, this is a deal that will save you money, and potentially make you some money as well.

H&R Block’s popular tax software is fully updated for 2018 and designed to make your 2017 tax prep easier and more convenient. Step-by-step interviews guide you through a customized experience relevant to your tax situation, so you know everything is accounted for. This version contains everything you need to prepare your federal and state taxes in one complete program, and everything can be handled electronically (including the PC or Mac software download).

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Anker’s Twin USB High Speed Car Phone Charger Is Just $8.99 Right Now

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The PowerDrive 2 Elite from Anker is super compact, and can simultaneously charge 2 devices with the fastest possible charge of up to 2.4 amps per port. A soft blue LED light makes it easier to navigate in the dark. 10 safety mechanisms are built in to protect your devices from surge and temperature fluctuations, and an 18-month warranty is included for additional peace of mind.

We haven’t personally reviewed this model, but our PCWorld team recently test drove the beefier PowerDrive Speed 2 model and found that it delivered on its promises (See: “Anker PowerDrive Speed 2 car charger review: Anker lights the way“).

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Programming with Java APIs, Part 2: API definitions

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The first half of this article introduced the big picture of programming with Java APIs–such as how Java APIs fit into application development, cloud and microservices architectures, and the role of API specs like OpenAPI. You were introduced to OpenAPI and we developed a simple example application built from an API definition.

In this article we’ll continue developing our Java API definitions and application code with OpenAPI and Swagger, and we’ll throw Swing Web MVC and Angular 2 into the mix. By the end of the article, we’ll have used Swagger tools to both generate OpenAPI from a Spring MVC app, and generate an Angular frontend from an OpenAPI specification. You will be familiar with the core Swagger tools, and you’ll know how to use them to build your own API-driven Java web apps.

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What’s new in Ruby 2.5

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Ruby, one of the more venerable dynamic languages, has just gained in performance with the new 2.5 release.

Arriving on Christmas Day 2017, Ruby 2.5.0 is the first stable release in the 2.5 series.

New performance features in Ruby 2.5

It boosts performance by 5 to 10 percent by removing trace instructions from bytecode that has been found to be overhead. A dynamic instrumentation technique is used instead. Also, block passing by a block parameter has been made three times faster than it was in Ruby 2.4, through use of the Lazy Proc allocation technique.

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CockroachDB review: A scale-out SQL database built for survival

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Until very recently, when you shopped for a database you had to choose: Scalability or consistency? SQL databases such as MySQL guarantee strong consistency, but don’t scale well horizontally. (Manual sharding for scalability is no one’s idea of fun.) NoSQL databases such as MongoDB scale beautifully, but offer only eventual consistency. (“Wait long enough, and you can read the right answer”—which isn’t any way to do financial transactions.)

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