Paul Krill

About the Author Paul Krill


Java 9 module plan picks up a packager

Java modules, in the works for years and now set to debut in 2016, will involve improvements to the Java Packager, to reduce the size of the Java Runtime Environment.

In a JDK Enhancement Proposal (JEP) floated this week on an Internet bulletin board, the Java Packager tool could be integrated with features from the Project Jigsaw modularization plan. Java Packager is used to compile, package, and deploy Java applications from the command line.

“The Java Packager has always generated huge binaries when it is asked to bundle a runtime as part of its packaging due to the size of the JRE, which for some distributions is on the order of 100MB,” the proposal states. “Jigsaw will expose tools and techniques that can reduce the size of the JRE we need to package.”

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Nginx Web server goes dynamic, adds monitoring

Nginx will make its Web server more flexible and manageable with the upcoming additions of a dynamic modules capability and a SaaS-based monitoring tool called Amplify.

Both the dynamic modules and Amplify technologies were revealed at this week’s nginx.conf event in San Francisco. With dynamic modules, Nginx wants to make it easier for module developers to share extensions for Nginx’s Web server, said Owen Garrett, head of marketing at the company. These modules have extended Nginx with capabilities such as authentication, security, and Lua programming.

Building extensions to Nginx has been a challenge, Garrett said, because the Nginx server can not be modified once a module is constructed and shipped. Currently, users have to set up a module in Nginx when creating the Nginx binary, Garrett said. “You have to do it at the very beginning and that approach lacks flexibility.” Dynamic modules allow for the addition of extra functionality to Nginx. This capability is targeted for inclusion in both the open source Nginx and Nginx Plus platform by the end of the year.

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Sources: Oracle releases Java evangelists

According to reports on Twitter and Reddit, Oracle has released its staff of Java evangelists — mere weeks before the company’s annual JavaOne conference promoting the enterprise software development technology.

Oracle did not respond to requests for comments on Friday morning. But a tweet this morning attributed to kcpeppe, Java performance tuning specialists, cited the loss of the evangelists: “Unsettling event at Oracle. All of the Java evangelists have been let go. Sad this happened to a great dedicated enthusiastic group.” The issue was also discussed in a Reddit thread, which cited the report as unconfirmed.

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Eclipse seeks donations for open source development

The Eclipse Foundation, best known for its Eclipse IDE, is moving into funding its open source projects via donations.

Previously, all Eclipse development was done by individuals and organizations contributing their time. “Today, we are significantly lowering the barriers for companies and individuals to actively invest in the ongoing development of the Eclipse platform,” Eclipse Executive Director Mike Milinkovich said in a recent blog post.

Funding for the development work will come from individuals and corporate users, he said. “Earlier this year, Ericsson provided the Eclipse Foundation funds to improve the Eclipse platform, which resulted in SWT, GTK3, and PDE improvements available in the Mars release. Ericsson is a large user of Eclipse and they see the value of investing in ongoing improvements. We hope other large corporate users of Eclipse will follow Ericsson’s lead.” Mars was the name of this year’s release train of Eclipse technologies, which occurred in late June.

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PHP 7 drops first release candidate

Faster PHP is approaching. PHP 7.0.0, which has been promoted as a much quicker upgrade to the server-side scripting language, has just gone into a release candidate stage, bringing its general availability even closer to fruition.

Available today, the release candidate is the sixth pre-release of the PHP 7 major series, according to PHP.net.  Once again, PHP proponents are advising that this latest release is not to be used in production, as it’s just a development preview.

“PHP 7.0.0 RC 1 contains fixes for 27 reported bugs and altogether over 200 commits with various stability improvements for database, array, assert, streams, and other functionality,” PHP.net said in its bulletin. 

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Netflix builds JavaScript library to fetch data

With its Falcor project, Netflix is offering a JavaScript library for efficient data-fetching, with developers able to represent remote data sources as a single domain model via the JSON Graph convention.

Netflix, which uses Falcor for the company’s mobile, desktop, and TV applications, has just released a developer preview of the technology, which can be accessed on GitHub.

“You retrieve your data using familiar JavaScript operations like get, set, and call,” said Netflix’s Jafar Husain, Paul Taylor and Michael Paulson, in a blog post. “If you know your data, you know your API.” JSON Graph, meanwhile, serves as a convention for modeling graph information as a JSON object.

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Python-only no more, IPython becomes Jupyter

IPython, a Python-centric tool for data visualization and analysis, has been split into several packages as part of the transition to the language-agnostic Jupyter project. IPython 4.0, unveiled last week, completes this transition.

“People were getting confused by the need to install a project called IPython to provide a UI for writing code in Julia or R,” said Min Ragan-Kelley, core developer of both IPython and Jupyter. “[So] now, they install Jupyter, which is a name less tied to any particular language.”

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React JavaScript library gets new tools

React, a JavaScript library co-developed by Facebook and Instagram for building user interfaces, is getting “entirely new” developer tools.

The tools, which are in a beta release stage, feature such capabilities as a tree view, for richer views of props; component searching; and a side pane, for showing context of a component.

“Perhaps the biggest reason [for new tools] was to create a defined API for dealing with internals, so that other tools could benefit as well and not have to depend on implementation details,” said project participant Jared Forsyth, in the React blog, this week. ” This gives us more freedom to refactor things internally without worrying about breaking tooling.” The tools are much less coupled to the Chrome browser, according to Forsyth.

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Employment engine keeps humming for IT job seekers

Momentum keeps building in tech industry hiring, with unemployment dropping even lower than before. But it’s not all good news, as Web developers and others saw increases in joblessness.

IT jobs site Dice.com’s second quarter tech employment “snapshot,” released Tuesday, saw unemployment drop to 2.1 percent — the lowest recorded since 2008 — based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. It had been 2.3 percent in the previous quarter and 2.5 percent late last year. The overall U.S. unemployment rate, meanwhile, stands at 5.5 percent.

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Java 9 plays catch-up, adds REPL for faster feedback

Java developers are slated to get REPL (Read-Eval-Print-Loop) capability via jshell with next year’s planned Java 9 release.

In a recent blog post,  Oracle’s Jim Connors cited the ease of use enabled by REPL and Java’s setback with the lack of this capability. “Instead of having to construct and compile complete syntactically correct programs before feedback can be achieved, REPLs allow much more interactivity, enabling the student/programmer to enter small snippets of code and receive immediate feedback.”

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JRuby upgrade promises better performance

JRuby, a veteran among languages other than Java riding atop the JVM, will be upgraded Wednesday with the release of JRuby 9000.

Available for download at the JRuby website, JRuby 9000, “is going to [have] a lot of potential to increase the performance of Ruby,” said project co-lead Charles Oliver Nutter. “JRuby in general brings true threading, true parallelism to Ruby and everything the JVM has to offer for the Ruby world.”

Better performance in the new version is achieved by a rewritten compiler that serves as more of a classic, optimizing compiler. “Before, it was more of a direct translation from Ruby byte code into JVM byte code without a lot of optimization,” said Nutter. Subsystems like IO and process management now use the same native functionality as the C-based version of Ruby, improving compatibility with standard Posix and Unix behavior, according to a GitHub page detailing the upgrade.

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Microsoft’s TypeScript 1.5 falls in line with ECMAScript

TypeScript, Microsoft’s variant of JavaScript, will be upgraded to version 1.5 this week.

Like TypeScript 1.4, the new version emphasizes conformance with the ECMAScript 6 specification, which serves as the basis for JavaScript. Version 1.5 simplifies the use of modules and supports the experimental Decorators function in ES7, for attaching metadata to classes and functions.

TypeScript “provides strong typing so that you get the same productivity that you get from C# in terms of Intellisense, statement completion, and navigation, but with core JavaScript” said Microsoft’s Amanda Silver, partner director of program management, during a webcast introducing the Visual Studio 2015 software development platform on Monday. Version 1.5 also can function with Visual Studio 2013 via a separate download.

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Microsoft’s TypeScript 1.5 aligns with ECMAScript

TypeScript, Microsoft’s variant of JavaScript, will be upgraded to version 1.5 this week.

Like TypeScript 1.4, the new version emphasizes conformance with the ECMAScript 6 specification, which serves as the basis for JavaScript. Version 1.5 simplifies the use of modules and supports the experimental Decorators function in ES7, for attaching metadata to classes and functions.

TypeScript “provides strong typing so that you get the same productivity that you get from C# in terms of Intellisense, statement completion, and navigation, but with core JavaScript” said Microsoft’s Amanda Silver, partner director of program management, during a webcast introducing the Visual Studio 2015 software development platform on Monday. Version 1.5 also can function with Visual Studio 2013 via a separate download.

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