Why one developer switched from Java to Google Go

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While Java may be a good choice for building business software, Google’s Go language has advantages when it comes to building systems software, says a Java developer at Pivotal who has become a Go advocate.

Go has benefits in areas like packaging and modularity and concurrency, said Matt Stine, a platform engineer at Pivotal, which uses Go in its Cloud Foundry cloud platform. “If you’re trying to solve problems in the sweet spot of Go, which is large, high-performance, server-side software, I’d say it is a very strong, natural choice.”

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Team of rivals: Hortonworks, Pivotal join up for Hadoop project

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When it comes to the Hadoop data platform, Hortonworks and Pivotal could scarcely have more dissimilar approaches. The former prides itself on being a non-proprietary, pure open source product; the latter touts its utility and power as an enterprise data system.

But the two can agree on one point: the value of the underlying open source projects comprising Hadoop. To that end, Hortonworks and Pivotal are planning to collaborate on the Apache Ambari project to contribute a component that handles provisioning, monitoring, and management within Hadoop.

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Open source Java projects: Spring Batch

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Implementing a batch process to handle gigabytes of data is a veritable tsunami of a task, but you can take it down a chunk with the help of Spring Batch. This popular Spring module has been engineered to handle the details of batch processing for all sorts of files. Get started with Spring Batch by building a simple job that imports products from a CSV file into a MySQL database, then explore the module’s batch processing capabilities with a single or multiple processors and one or more helpful tasklets. Finally, get a quick overview of Spring Batch’s resiliency tools for skipping records, retrying records, and restarting batch jobs.

If you’ve ever had to implement a batch process to pass hundreds of thousands of data elements between Java enterprise systems, then you know what a load of work that is. Your batch processing system needs to be able to handle huge amounts of data, handle the failure of individual records without crashing the entire process, and manage interruptions and restarts without having to re-do what’s already been done.

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How to create a data lake for fun and profit

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Most credit James Dixon of the open source BI vendor Pentaho with coining the phrase “data lake.” Think of a data lake as an unstructured data warehouse, a place where you pull in all of your different sources into one large “pool” of data.

In contrast to a data mart, a data lake won’t “wash” the data or try to structure it or limit the use cases. Sure, you should have some use cases in mind, but the architecture of a data lake is simple: a Hadoop File System (HDFS) with lots of directories and files on it.

Why would you want a data lake?
The answers are both technical and political. Usually, when you start up any new project that involves analyzing your company’s data — especially when the data is stored across functional areas — you’re in for trouble. For example, if the business unit that wants the data isn’t part of the unit providing the data, what kind of priority do you think the unit providing the data likely assign to the effort? How is it budgeted? Who does the integration and how much needs to be done? How do you structure the data and for what purposes?

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Facebook to release open source library for iOS interface development

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Facebook, within a few weeks, plans to release an open source library intended to help developers build native Apple iOS apps with smooth, responsive user interfaces.

In a closed beta stage of release at the moment, Async Display Kit is part of Facebook’s Paper interface application for iOS. Async Display Kit defines a UI in a separate thread, so it does not hold up the user experience; when ready, changes are mapped across to the main thread.

“[The library offers] a completely new take on the way in which you can design the user interface of iOS apps,” said Facebook open source technology lead James Pearce, in an interview Tuesday at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Portland, Ore. Users get a fast, fluid 60-frames-per-second-type experience, with better scrolling of applications on their devices, he said.

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The truth about big data: It’s more than technology

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Hey, it must be hard to be the only person on the planet who doesn’t understand big data.

Actually, that’s far from true: You’re in good company. While Gartner finds that 64 percent of enterprises are investing in big data, a similar chunk (60 percent) don’t have a clue as to what to do with their data.

The real problem isn’t one of technology, but of process. The key to succeeding with big data, as in all serious IT investments, is iteration. It’s not about Hadoop, NoSQL, Splunk, or any particular vendor or technology. It’s about iteration.

Big data, big confusion
Though the number of companies embracing big data projects has grown since 2012 — from 58 percent of enterprises surveyed to 64 percent — the level of understanding of exactly what to do with that data hasn’t kept pace, as the Gartner data suggests.

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5 big security mistakes coders make

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Hacks make headlines. But usually, the focus is on who did it — notorious cyber criminals, hacktivists, or state-sponsored actors. Readers want to know who they are, where they’re from, what they did, and why they did it. How they did it gets glossed over.

In fact, the “how” is the most important part — and application vulnerabilities are common culprits. Subtle programming errors allow hackers to subvert security controls, steal user credentials, or run malicious instructions on a remote system. Programmers, like everyone else, screw up sometimes.

Screw up how, you ask? Here’s a list of some of the most common (and egregious) security mistakes that coders make.

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GitHub takes center stage at OSCON

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GitHub will once again get the spotlight at OSCON (O’Reilly Open Source Convention) in Portland, Ore., this week.

Last year’s OSCON conferencefeatured then-GitHub CEO Tom Preston-Werner as a prominent speaker. This year, the focus will be on the future of the Git version control system underlying GitHub, as well as how to make open source contributions via GitHub and Git. The conference will feature coverage of open mobile accessibility via GitHub and the Apache Cordova mobile app toolkit, and GitHub’s Derek Sorkin and Qualcomm’s Tim Tyler will cover open source and the enterprise.

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Where are the mobile dev payouts? In enterprise apps

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Developers are consolidating around fewer mobile platforms, in grim news for platforms seeking developer traction, according to VisionMobile’s “State of the Developer Nation Q3 2014” report, which tracks mobile developers and the app economy.

The average number of platforms targeted by a developer has fallen from 2.9 platforms a year ago to 2.5 platforms in the company’s first-quarter report to 2.2 platforms in this survey: “If we exclude games developers, the average number of platforms targeted is just 1.75 with 43 percent of those only targeting one platform.”

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The 10 worst big data practices

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Yes, you can haz big data. However, you can haz it the right way or the wrong way. Here are the top 10 worst practices to avoid.

1. Choosing MongoDB as your big data platform. Why am I picking on MongoDB? I’m not, but for whatever reason, the NoSQL database most abused at this point is MongoDB. While MongoDB has an aggregation framework that tastes like MapReduce and even a (very poorly documented) Hadoop connector, its sweet spot is as an operational database, not an analytical system.

When your sentence begins, “We will use Mongo to analyze …,” stop right there and think about what you’re doing. Sometimes you really mean “collect for later analysis,” which might be OK, depending on what you’re doing. However, if you really mean you’re going to use MongoDB as some kind of sick data-warehousing technology, your project may be doomed at the start.

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iOS developers poised to win big in Apple-IBM deal

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Mobile developers with knowledge of Objective-C and Apple’s fledgling Swift language could be the big winners in Apple’s newly announced partnership with IBM.

That alliance has IBM firmly endorsing the iPad, with Big Blue reselling Apple’s popular tablet device preconfigured with enterprise apps for vertical industries. More iPads will end up at large IBM shops, opening up new markets for iOS application builders.

Some — but not all — iOS developers could have a major opportunity to earn lots of income in the enterprise space, said iOS application developer Christopher Allen, CTO of software developer ReOrientmedia.com. “Working at an enterprise level often requires ‘full stack’ skills, from UX to client engineering and on through to a scalable back end, which is the kind of experience the more indie app developers don’t have,” he noted. “Those teams that have this broader experience will do well.”

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Review: Cloud Foundry brings power and polish to PaaS

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Cloud Foundry was created by VMware to streamline deployment for application developers, application operators, and cloud operators. Then in April 2011, Cloud Foundry was announced as open source under the Apache 2.0 license, with the pitch to developers that they could code in the language and Web framework of their choice without worrying about the IT environment.

In February 2014, VMware spin-off Pivotal announced the formation of the Cloud Foundry Foundation, with Pivotal, EMC, IBM, Rackspace, and VMware as Platinum sponsors. The foundation has since expanded to 33 members and 42 contributing companies. One differentiator for Cloud Foundry is support for Pivotal HD Hadoop MapReduce, HAWQ SQL for Hadoop, and GemFire XD analytics. Another is the availability of the Pivotal Mobile Services Suite, thanks to last year’s acquisition of Xtreme Labs. Pivotal’s big data services and mobile services are both now integrated with Pivotal CF, the company’s enterprise version of Cloud Foundry.

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Google thinks global Internet security with Project Zero

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Google is increasing its efforts in Internet security and is looking to hire security researchers for its newly formed Project Zero team.

In a post in Google’s Online Security Blog, Google researcher Chris Evans said that people should be able to use the Web without fear that a criminal or state-sponsored actor is exploiting software bugs to infect a computer, steal secrets, or monitor communications, but sophisticated zero-day day attacks, targeting human rights activists, for example, or for industrial espionage, are threats. Google believes more can be done to tackle the problem.

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Python bumps off Java as top learning language

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Python has surpassed Java as the top language used to introduce U.S. students to programming and computer science, according to a recent survey posted by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Eight of the top 10 computer science departments now use Python to teach coding, as well as 27 of the top 39 schools, indicating that it is the most popular language for teaching introductory computer science courses, according to Philip Guo, a computer science researcher who compiled the survey for ACM.

The three largest, most popular online class providers — Coursera, edX and Udacity — also offer introductory programming courses in Python, Guo found.

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DataStax Enterprise 4.5 turbocharges speed and security

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Datastax Enterprise is the commercial distribution of Apache Cassandra, a column-family NoSQL database developed by Facebook and probably best known for powering Netflix. The new 4.5 release of DataStax Enterprise, announced June 30, advances DataStax’s case that NoSQL is ready for enterprise applications. It features Apache Spark integration for fast in-memory analytics, Hortonworks and Cloudera integration for easy access to Hadoop data, and new diagnostic and security tools.

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Oracle hopes to entice mobile developers with new framework

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Oracle is hoping it can attract more developers with MAF (Mobile Application Framework), which aims to simplify the development of cross-platform enterprise apps for smartphones and tablets.

As a result of the growing number of smartphones and tablets employees have, software vendors are increasingly focusing on how to make enterprise applications more mobile friendly. On Monday, Oracle announced updates to its Mobile Suite, which aims to do just that.

The heart of the new release is MAF, which builds on the cross-platform development tools Oracle already offers. The framework lets developers choose between the JDeveloper IDE (integrated development environment) or Enterprise Pack for Eclipse. Developers can also choose among a number of development languages, including Java, JavaScript and HTML5, when developing native Android and iOS apps, according to Oracle.

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In praise of Java template engines

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One enterprise tech trend to rule them all

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Recently I was asked what I thought was the most important trend in IT. And it wasn’t hard to answer: The shift from proprietary, scale-up systems to commodity, open source, scale-out systems.

NoSQL databases provide a good example of scaling out versus up. To beef up Oracle or any other conventional, proprietary RDBMS, you need to scale up the database server with more cores, more caching, more flash, and so on. At a certain point, you’ll need another server, which means you’ll be saddled with sharding the database and maintaining it in that state (yes, you could use Oracle RAC, but that’s another story).

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Docker containers with Gradle in 4 steps

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Do you need to create a Docker image from your Java web app? Are you using Gradle? If so, then you are only four steps away from Docker Nirvana.

For this example, I’m going to use a simple Spring Boot application. You can find all the source code in my Github repository dubbed galoshe.

If you haven’t had a chance to see Spring Boot in action, then you’re in for a treat, especially if the words simple and Java web app in the same sentence make you flinch. That was certainly my long standing reaction until I took a serious look at Boot.

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