Java 20 years on: Kalashnikov simplicity & power

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This week sees the developer community celebrate 20-years of the Java programming language, platform and tools.

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Oracle's Java platform group chief architect has said that the success of Java comes down to, "The core values of the language and the platform [which] are readability and simplicity."

The firm has provided a slickly produced web timeline to walk readers through the history of Java.

As the current steward of the Java ecosystem Oracle insists that Java serves as the 'critical backbone' of software that touches both our work and personal lives.

Java with everything

From innovations in enterprise big data, cloud, social, mobile and the Internet of Things, to connected cars, smartphones and video games, Java continues to help developers push the boundaries in technology innovation... says the firm.

VP for development at the Java Platform Group at Oracle is Georges Saab.

Saab says that the Java ecosystem offers outstanding libraries, frameworks and resources to help programmers from novice to expert alike.

"The development of Java itself occurs in the transparent OpenJDK community. With the considerable investment from Oracle and others in the community, we look forward to the next 20 years of Java's evolution and growth," said Saab.

Writing on InfoWorld Joab Jackson reminds us that developers often like Java because of its readability compared to what he calls the "thickets of dense code" often produced using languages such as C++ or Perl.

Helwa! It's Hilwa

"Java provided a machine abstraction when it came out giving it two key advantages over C/C++ programming at the time: it made it portable, and it allowed quality code to be written more quickly and efficiently," said Al Hilwa, IDC programme director for Software Development Research.

"It was helped enormously at the time by strong ecosystem support, especially from major players IBM and Oracle (before acquisition) because it was seen as a portable tool at the time against the rising dominance of Microsoft's Windows platform with its VB language. A variety of innovations like Java EE made the technology the de facto standard for enterprise systems. I think Java's secret to success today is its maturity and scalability and its steady evolution in a community governance model," said Hilwa.

Enterprise developers can choose from an ecosystem of 30 Java EE 6 and Java EE 7 compatible implementations from 12 vendors.

Additionally, more than 125 million Java-based media devices have been deployed and over 10 billion Java Cards have been shipped since Java's introduction.

Viewster's best-in-class anime binge-watching

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Online streaming service Viewster has released a new mobile app for Android.

It works on iOS too -- and it's available now... and it's free.

Unapologetic about its product positioning, the firm calls this a "best-in-class binge-watching experience" for users.

The app lets viewers scroll episodes of their favourite shows on tablets and smartphones.

Viewster is free and fully-licensed and enables fans to watch a library of more than ten thousand titles in film and TV, especially anime, fantasy, sci-fi and virtual worlds.

Viewster also has a catalogue of simulcasts where anime shows are available immediately after airing on Japanese TV.

The new mobile app includes:

· Vertical thumb-scrolling to find all episodes of hit simulcasts
· A new 'follow' function so viewers get notified when new episodes are available
· Instant push notification when a new episode becomes live
· Ad-free viewing for the first two minutes

Viewster recently hit five million overall app installs on Android since the first version.

Viewster's new mobile product manager, Harry Fuecks, led the redesign.

Fuecks has experience in online product development--including building the mobile apps for local.ch, the Swiss telephone book.

Fuecks said, "Anime fans want the latest, high-quality content the moment it's published. And they deserve a best-in-class user experience that we are dedicated to deliver. The data shows we are on the right track with our latest version, but this is just the beginning."

Viewster is free, supported by advertising and available to stream on desktop, mobile and smart TV apps.

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AppScale FastStart for Google Compute Engine & AWS

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AppScale Systems makes AppScale, it's a logical enough thing - but what is it?

AppScale itself is an open source implementation of Google App Engine

Google App Engine is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) to run applications on Google's infrastructure so that they are easy to scale as traffic and data storage needs change.

So what's new?

AppScale (the company we started with) has introduced FastStart - but what is it?

Well it's called FastStart because it's fast at starting.

In what is said to be less than 10 minutes, FastStart users can deploy and start their App Engine applications on top of AppScale using Google Compute Engine or Amazon Web Services.

FastStart for GCE and AWS are the latest deployment options for App Engine applications on AppScale.

Here come old flattop

This news follows Canonical's recent announcement that AppScale can now be deployed via JuJu, Canonical's open source orchestration management tool.

These introductions go some way to illustrating AppScale's simplicity and scalability for creating web and mobile applications and highlight the portability and flexibility of the platform, says the firm.

According to a press statement, "With over six million active apps running globally, Google App Engine is the most popular PaaS on the market for creating web and mobile applications. Open source AppScale brings additional deployment flexibility to App Engine and provides fine-grained control overOps, which is a requirement of the enterprise."

Woody Rollins, CEO of AppScale says that his customers love that they can use AppScale to standardise application development -- taking advantage of the rapid development, scalability and efficiency of the AppScale development model while gaining the confidence that their apps are portable across all infrastructures.

Pentaho ignites Apache Spark orchestration

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Orlando-based open source analytics company Pentaho is 'in the process of being acquired' by Hitachi Data Systems, but the brand appears strong enough to be retained 100% intact inside of the new parent company.

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So it came to pass then that Pentaho has continued to deliver on what it perceives to be the future of analytics.

The firm has this week announced the native integration of its Pentaho Data Integration (PDI) software with Apache Spark to enable orchestration of Spark jobs.

NOTE: Apache Spark is an open source processing engine engineered around core attributes of machine learning, speed, ease of use and analytics

This integration is hoped to lower the skill set requirements required as Spark is incorporated into big data projects.

Spark works with big data to store, blend and govern data and said to still be an 'emerging' big data technology.

"For two years, we experimented with possible use cases based on our big data blueprints and sizing the enterprise market opportunity for Spark. Our customers now benefit from that work with simplified, real-time analytic capabilities, " said James Dixon, CTO at Pentaho.

"Our open-source heritage allows us to quickly evolve our capabilities keeping our customers' big data technology options open, reducing risk and saving considerable development time while taking advantage of the latest innovations in popular big data stores."

This integration with Spark follows other labs efforts that have led to support for YARN and the Adaptive Big Data Layer. Following the native support of YARN alone, enterprise customers like RichRelevance, edo Interactive and MultiPlan have been able to innovate and drive greater value from Hadoop.

Nutanix Community Edition: democratic datacentre hyperconvergence, for free

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Nutanix wants us to know it as the 'web-scale converged infrastructure' company.

What this means is... the firm has developed a hyperconverged solution intended to simplify the creation of enterprise datacenter infrastructures by integrating server and storage resources into a turnkey platform.

Basically, it makes building clouds and datacentre resources a whole lot easier.

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Better than VMware?

Easier than anything VMware is offering says the firm.

The new public beta of its the company's Community Edition software is meant to enable broader access to this hyperconverged technology without the need for incremental hardware investment.

You want software-defined storage? Nutanix wrote the book.

NOTE: This software is a limited-scale version of the firm's full software stack.

This technology is currently being used to power the datacentres of enterprises in more than 70 countries.

It's free, come and try

Available at no cost, Nutanix Community Edition is hoped to break down both economic and organisational barriers to adopting this enterprise computing platform for greater simplicity to IT operations.

This kind of open access eliminates cost and hardware procurement and compatibility barriers says Nutanix...

... this, in turn, enables rapid deployment into existing development/test and staging environments so users can directly experience the benefits of web-scale technologies.

Users can also tap into the NEXT online community for operational guidance and management best practices.

The free software is said to be capable of a complete hyperconverged infrastructure deployment in just 60 minutes or less.

Who uses this stuff?

· Enterprise IT Professionals and Application Developers -- who can evaluate this hyperconverged technology with no licensing costs or new hardware investment.

· Technology Enthusiasts and Partners -- who can now participate directly in the vibrant ecosystem for next generation of enterprise computing solutions, including the development of complementary applications, services and utilities

· Students and Academic Researchers -- who will get unfettered access to distributed systems technology, and can gain a real-world understanding of how IT infrastructure can support cloud, mobile and big data applications

"From our very first software release in 2012, Nutanix has been dedicated to open architectures and technologies, offering unprecedented customer choice and flexibility," said Dheeraj Pandey, Nutanix co-founder and CEO.

"Only by eliminating the requirement for proprietary hardware and embracing off-the-shelf platforms can the next revolution of datacenter technologies be fully realised."

As a 100% software-based solution, Community Edition runs on standard x86-based servers from nearly any vendor, including Dell, HP, Cisco, Lenovo, Supermicro and others.







Zulu Java flavour Internet of Things: Azul goes Eclipse

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Java runtime solution firm Azul Systems has joined the Eclipse Foundation.

The firm insists that it brings over a decade of Java knowledge and expertise in multiple open source community projects to the party.

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Azul will provide developers with access into Zulu and Zulu Embedded, Azul's fully commercialised (but still 100% open source) builds of OpenJDK.

The firm will be a "solution-level" member of the Eclipse Foundation -- this means it will be actively participating in the Eclipse Foundation's IoT working group.

Its Zulu Embedded provides developers in the embedded, mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) markets with an open source alternative to traditional embedded Java implementations.

Zulu Embedded is relevant to development shops that require customisable multi-platform, reduced-footprint and standards compliant Java SE runtimes and development solutions.

Launched in March 2015, Zulu Embedded is already installed in over two million devices worldwide according to Azul.

Mike Milinkovich, executive director at the Eclipse Foundation said, "Azul Systems is 100% focussed on Java and Java runtime technology which supports our objective of establishing a Java platform for IoT, targeted at connecting and managing devices. The expertise it brings to the community will encourage developers to harvest the productivity benefits of Java and accelerate the widespread adoption of the language throughout the IoT."

Scott Sellers, president and CEO of Azul Systems said, "By working closely with the Eclipse community, together we can broaden the use of Java and open source solutions and help accelerate cost-effective innovation across the IoT."

Telerik: developer tools with Bulgarian bootstrapping

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Bulgarian software tools company Telerik held its first global user conference this month.

The firm is known for its .NET user interface controls and also has Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) technology.

Newly acquired by Progress, the TelerikNEXT event saw news of support for Microsoft development tooling and new contributions to open source.

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"When Progress acquired Telerik, we knew we were getting a transformative player in the application development space. Everything we knew prior to the acquisition has not only held true, but has exceeded all expectations," said Karen Tegan Padir, president of application development and deployment, Progress.

The firm's Kendo UI user interface framework is now shipped to be 'fully equipped' with Microsoft Office 365.

Open source news was focused on NativeScript and Telerik JustDecompile -- the firm is also known for its Telerik Screen Builder product.

Bootstrapping

ScreenBuilder works to "bootstrap" applications by starting with "prewired" screens that can then be easily code edited in the AppBuilder too later to match exact requirements.

The firm insists that it has made its commitment to open source known with the release of Telerik Kendo UI Core framework.

In the same open source vein, the company now announces the availability of NativeScript, a JavaScript framework for developing native apps with JavaScript and CSS.

According to the PR machine, this release "fully rounds out" the company's cross-platform solutions for any development approach -- responsive web, hybrid or native.

In addition, the Telerik NativeScript framework team is collaborating with Google on early stage integrations around AngularJS 2.0.

Telerik also announced that it will open source the JustDecompile engine, its .NET assembly browsing and decompiling tool.

This software enables developers to take an existing compiled assembly (.dll or.exe) and browse the symbols it contains to decompile the assembly language back to readable C#, VB and IL.

Microsoft love

As a self confessed Microsoft development tooling supporter, Telerik supports all new Microsoft releases, often before they're made available to the general public -- so here we find ASP.NET 5, MVC 6, Visual Studio 2015, C# 6, Roslyn, the Edge browser, Office 365 (and more) all being supported by the complete Telerik DevCraft toolset.

"Office and SharePoint Add-ins can now be built using standard web technologies like HTML and JavaScript that work in Office on the desktop, Office Online and Office for iPad. We want to ensure we're giving developers great tools." said, Chris Johnson, group product manager for Office 365, Microsoft.

"The fantastic Telerik Kendo UI framework enables developers to build fantastic looking web based Office add-ins. That is why we've opted to give members of our Office 365 Developer Program access to Kendo UI to better enable their development efforts, across the board," he added.

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Microsoft Build 2015: developers, developers, developers (and this time we mean it)

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It was developers, developers, developers this week for Microsoft.

Of course it was, this was Microsoft Build 2015, the firm's annual programmer toolfest.

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But this week it was developers, developers, developers without the bouncing large man with the bald head.

This week it was developers, developers, developers with a more technical CEO who understands code and is fully conversant with what his company's programmers are doing - plus he also has a bald head too, just for continuity if nothing else.

NOTE: I don't usually blog with "I" in the first person, just for this story --- don't get me wrong, I've taken swipes at Microsoft before, but I have to report the following 'overheard' in the Build press room - I can't name the analysts in question as I don't know them, so you know I'm not doing this as a favour for anyone despite one so-called Linux advocate (who shall also remain nameless) labelling me as a "Microsoft apologist" recently, very amusing - keep it up.

Analyst #1: So, like, what did you think of Nadella in the keynote?

Analyst #2: Okay so like the guy before, he stopped for the code listing demos during keynotes and then screamed "hey man, our customers are gonna love that!"... but Nadella actually works with this stuff and knows what it all means.

NOTE: As I mentioned previously, Microsoft is not doing everything right, how could it? The firm is being openly criticised on the windowscentral.com/microsoft-build-2015 blog and is leaving all the negative detestation and vitriol up there. The haters even refer to the CEO with a joke name. Microsoft, it seems, can take it.

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So down to open code (what we were supposed to be talking about in the first place), Microsoft used this event to release two new open source tools, ManifoldJS and VorlonJS.

ManifoldJS helps developers package their 'web experiences' into native apps for Android, iOS and Windows stores.

VorlonJS.com is a new, open source, extensible, browser-agnostic tool for remotely debugging JavaScript.

Looking for closely at VorlonJS, there's a big "multi device promise here" - Microsoft says it can be used to remotely connect up to 50 devices simultaneously and code can be run on each (or all) of them with a single click.

Digging deeper, Vorlon.JS helps remotely load inspect, test and debug JavaScript code running on any device with a web browser: whether it's a games console, mobile device or fridge.

According to official documentation, "Vorlon.JS itself is a small web server you can run from your local machine, or install on a server for your team to access, that serves the Vorlon.JS dashboard and communicates with your remote devices."

"Installing the Vorlon.JS client in your web site or application is as easy as adding a single script tag."

Vorlon.JS can be extended with plugins which may add features to both the client and the dashboard, for example: feature detection, logging and exception tracking.

Yes obviously Microsoft meant it (developers, developers, developers) first time round, but things are changing in Redmond - despite this, it won't shut the Microsoft haters up anytime soon.

Didn't Ghandi say something inspirational about the need to just keep plugging away at what you believe?

Peace and love and good karma everybody.

Microsoft welcomes Android & iOS apps to Windows 10

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Looking at the official feeds from Microsoft Corp. during its Build 2015 conference and exhibition, headline items include news of a set of software development kits (SDKs) designed to help developers bring the code that they write for web, .NET, Win32, Android and iOS...

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... all to Windows 10.

Initially then, let us focus on Android.

So once again, to be clear, that will mean Android apps on the Windows Store.

To be clearer, this is not a question of Google Play apps simply working on Windows with full compatibility.

To be absolutely crystal clear, Microsoft is in effect (and in actuality) encouraging software developers to reuse, repurpose and repackage Java and C++ code from previously created (but new ones are even more important - keep reading down) Android applications to get them onto the Windows Store.

... and, to therefore, effectively "do more" with these same applications as they get an additional lease of life in Windows.

How will this happen?

Windows phones will include an 'Android subsystem' that will support Android APIs to make this possible - the development for this technology is known as Project Astoria at the moment.

Windows, the 'universal' factor

Project Astoria (also referred to as "Project A") is a Universal Windows Platform 'bridge toolkit' that enables developers to build Windows apps for phones by reusing their Android code.

To be clear, Android developers will be able to build apps using Android code to target Windows 10 phones without having to leave their Android IDE.

To be even clearer, Project Astoria will include a Windows phone emulator and interop capabilities (focused on areas like UI and services) that will help the app to run and look "better" (says Microsoft) on the Windows platform.

According to Microsoft, "With "Project Astoria" developers are able to: build Windows apps for phones with few code changes, use a Microsoft interoperability library to integrate Microsoft services into their app with very little effort, test and debug their app from their preferred IDE and publish their app (and get paid) through the Windows Store."

Shaping new Windows-Android apps

Microsoft is inviting developers who want to get involved to submit Android APKs for testing and thereby help "shape the effort".

... and that shape word is actually important i.e. this is all about Microsoft wanting Android developers to develop new applications that take full advantage of Windows 10 for its overall user interface experience including its approach to touch and navigation.

This is all great news then, right?

Well yes, assuming Google doesn't do anything to try and jostle in and makes thing difficult for this openness to flourish. It couldn't, it shouldn't - would it?


Microsoft Visual Studio Code expands Redmond cross platform muscle

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Microsoft continues its journey towards becoming 'arguably more interesting than it used to be' this week at its Build 2015 developer-centric conference and exhibition in San Francisco.

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The firm's open source credentials will now see its Visual Studio software application development toolset expanded to embrace platforms outside of Windows.

Within the Visual Studio family we now find Visual Studio Code, this is essentially Visual Studio tools in a flavour that runs NOT ONLY on Windows BUT ALSO on Linux and Apple OS X.

"Microsoft has bold ambitions for platforms that empower developers across Windows, Azure and Office," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. "Together, we will create more personal and more intelligent experiences that empower billions of people to achieve more."

Microsoft says ... build and debug modern web and cloud applications. Code is free and available on your favourite platform - Linux, Mac OSX and Windows.

NOTE: Redmond even listed Windows last there, who'd a thunk it?

Microsoft's Scott Guthrie (exec VP of cloud and enterprise) has called the new Visual Studio Code product a lightweight code-optimised editor.

It is also known to be a lightweight, fast, keyboard-centric tool.

The official line is that it is code editing redefined and optimised for building and debugging modern web and cloud applications.

Also here developers will find support for building ASP.NET 5 and Node.js applications, support for all programming languages (30+ languages and counting says Microsoft), intelligent code authoring and navigation... plus integrated "in-editor" debugging and Git support.

What also comes to the party here with Visual Studio Code is full IntelliSense - this is essentially capability for code completion and formatting i.e. extremely useful.

NOTE: IntelliSense is the general term for a number of features: List Members, Parameter Info, Quick Info, and Complete Word. These features help developers to learn more about the code you are using, keep track of the parameters you are typing, and add calls to properties and methods with only a few keystrokes.

The actual downloads of Visual Studio Code will be available here.







Finland's Internet-of- yhdistetty älykkäät laitteet Things

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Internet of Things and cloud mobile software application development software firm Kii (pron: key) has partnered with Finland-based Haltian (pron: Hal-tee-ah), a firm known for its development and 'productization' of wireless devices.

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Kii's developer community can now use Haltian's IoT development platform (called 'Thingsee'), a software development project which was successfully launched on Kickstarter.

This union will now direct its efforts towards producing devices targeting:

  • Kids Safety,
  • Smart Wearables and,
  • Smart Home devices.

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Connected intelligent devices (or, yhdistetty älykkäät laitteet to use the Finnish vernacular) that may result from this work could benefit from Haltian's Thingsee IoT device platform with over 12 different connectivity and sensor functions including:

  • GPS,
  • 3D accelerometer,
  • magnetometer,
  • gyroscope,
  • temperature, humidity & pressure

Its wireless connectivity, with cellular, WLAN and "future proof" Bluetooth LE 4.1, provides characteristics, including the delivery of ultra-long battery life up to one year and waterproof IP67 protection.

These combinations of features will provide the developer community an advanced, next-generation IoT development platform say the firms.

Thingsee will work in conjunction with Kii Cloud, marrying APIs and SDKs, with a scalable backend that simplifies the complexity of building out servers and infrastructure.

How to find good open source code libraries: Sourcegraph code browser

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The beauty of open source programming is that there are a lot of code libraries available to software application developers, obviously.

Some would call it a 'goldmine' of open source code.

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Some would call it a 'confusing mix' of poorly categorised and classified resources

Sourcegraph answer

Sourcegraph aims to answer the challenge here with a search engine and code browser designed to help developers find the code they need.

The product 'semantically indexes' all the open source code available on the web.

Sourcegraph is a code search engine that lets the user search across hundreds of thousands of libraries and browse code in the same way you can do in a good IDE.

Software application developers can can search for code by:

  • repository,
  • package,
  • function

They can then click on fully linked code to read docs, definitions and find usage examples.

All these actions can be performed in the web browser, without having to configure any editor plugin.

According to opensource.com, "If you're an author of an open source project or library, you should enable your repository on Sourcegraph. Enabling your repositories tells Sourcegraph to analyze and index your code so that contributors and users of your libraries can search and browse the code on Sourcegraph. These features can help your users save hours by letting them quickly find and understand pieces of code. A single good usage example can be worth a thousand words of documentation. Enabling repositories is free and always will be for open source."

Sign in

Sign in with a GitHub account. Signing in is optional, but it helps find all a developer's attributable open-source code.

(Out of respect for people's privacy, the team only shows an obfuscated email address when attributing code to people who have not yet signed in to Sourcegraph.)

Sourcegraph does not request any of your private data.

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HP Moonshot lands on planet DataStax: to boldly cluster & scale for data-driven apps

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DataStax is a firm that dedicates itself to providing a commercially-supported version of the open source Apache Cassandra database.

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For the uninitiated, Cassandra is a distributed storage system for managing very large amounts of structured data spread out across many commodity servers while providing highly available service with (say its makers) no single point of failure.

It's all about the scalability

In other words, it's all about scalability - and linear scalability, at that.

The company (DataStax) has this month announced DataStax Enterprise (DSE) on HP Moonshot as a joint database management solution.

HP Moonshot is a line of smaller servers that work well when condensed into clusters to execute specific computing tasks - some people call them microservers.

This DataStax and HP combo is aimed at extremely high-volume, high-velocity, dynamic and unstructured data.

... so for developers?

The software development angle here centres around how data-centric programmers may now look to scale applications.

Normally, data-driven developers (and their lovely DBA counterparts) would look at adding more servers to clusters and sharding databases if they wanted to scale within their own datacentre.

However this would necessitate a bigger power cost... and more internal space would be needed too.

Alternatively, these guys could look at NoSQL and public cloud services like AWS and Azure.

This partnership aims to provide a slightly different approach -- Cassandra is a distributed database and Moonshot servers can be scaled in a similar way so apps can be scaled quickly and predictably, while being managed internally.

The power take-up for those servers is lower too. Which is nice.

"The key to success in today's business environment is making data a central focus and organisations must rethink their hardware needs when deploying distributed databases like DataStax Enterprise," said Billy Bosworth, CEO, DataStax.

Bosworth insists that the 'bigger is better' approach to hardware technology is antiquated in today's radically connected world where a distributed database management system is critical to meeting the performance and availability demands of IOT, web and mobile applications.

Quite exceptional, the performance that is

"Organizations trying to manage today's data deluge with legacy technology face many challenges - such as lagging response times, escalating IT costs and limited scale-out capabilities," said Susan Blocher, vice president, marketing and business development, HP Moonshot. "The predictability of DataStax Enterprise software and the scalability of HP Moonshot servers enables our joint customers to handle large amounts of data with exceptional performance and continuous availability."

The firms claim that DSE on HP Moonshot addresses the scalability needs for complex, large-scale deployments, while lowering the total cost of ownership by on average up to 66 percent.

DSE on HP Moonshot can support a growing user base with up to 1.7x more ops/second than traditional rack mount infrastructure to ensure fast response times.

How real time data supply has changed

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RethinkDB is an open-source scalable database for what its makers call "the real time web", but what does real time data supply mean in terms of the way web-centric applications function today?

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Version 2.0 will contain options for commercial support, no surprise there - all "production-ready" open source is pushing for commercial.

New database access model

What the firm is eluding to with its use of the term real time is that is software utilises a new database access model that continuously pushes data to applications in real time.

This release of the software is the culmination of 16 major releases and five years of development.

The firm claims to have a community of more than 400 contributors.

So how and why real time in this instance?

According to RethinkDB CEO Slava Akhmechet:

"Traditional databases use a query-response database access model.

While this system works well on the web, since it maps directly to HTTP's request-response, adapting database systems to real time needs still presents a huge engineering challenge.

Modern marketplaces, streaming analytics apps, multiplayer games and collaborative web and mobile apps require sending data directly to the client in real time

In the past, building real time apps was out of reach for many companies, which lacked the necessary resources. RethinkDB makes it possible for any company to build real time apps by providing a painless way to push that data to the apps."

The new release features capabilities to push JSON objects to apps in real time -- this open-source database pushes data through the `changes` command.

'Dozens' of languages supported

With RethinkDB 2.0, developers can use languages including Python, Ruby, Node.js.

It can also integrate with Angular.js, React or other frameworks via technologies like WebSockets or SignalR.

The database toolset here for developers means that users can express data relationships using distributed joins, build location-aware apps, store multimedia and time series data, do analytics with map/reduce and run sophisticated aggregation commands, along with being able to speed up apps using flexible indexing.

Kick boxing code monkey goes shopping: judo hits Xamarin

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Judo Payments claims to be "Europe's only mobile-first payments platform" - a somewhat overconfident and contentious assertion perhaps?

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Stripe, Apple Pay and even Pay Pal (and others) may not be quite be thought of as mobile-first (even if they are mobile compliant), so it will be interesting to see how long judo (lower case chic) tries to hold on to this proclamation.

The company has this month launched a mobile app payments Software Development Kit (SDK) for mobile development on Xamarin.

Why?

It (judo, still lower case) claims to have seen a "growing demand" for Xamarin components globally.

Xamarin is a 'offshoot sprout' of the Mono cross-platform software programming tools project, developers can use Xamarin to write native iOS, Android and Microsoft Windows apps with native user interfaces and share code across multiple platforms.

So Judo has independently built a payment SDK for the Xamarin platform. The SDK will initially be tailored for Android with the roll-out of SDKs for other platforms currently in development.

The SDK is designed for programmers (usually ones working for retailers) to offer secure in-app payment by debit and credit card that can be branded to match the overall user experience.

"With the new Judo SDK for Xamarin, companies can substantially accelerate native mobile development using one shared C# codebase and easily integrate conversion-boosting mobile first payments to increase sales," said the firm.

Is it safe?

The SDK includes "bank-grade security" to protect transaction data and can be configured to enable the firm's own fraud prevention solution, judoShield.

"We welcome judo's robust mobile-first payments SDK into the Xamarin Component Store, enabling our global developer community to easily integrate mobile payments into their native Xamarin apps - without leaving their development environment," said Joseph Hill, co-founder, Xamarin.

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The idea is that developers get judo's user interface and payments experience, coupled with Xamarin's high performance native apps across platforms.

Dennis Jones, CEO at judo, said, "We've seen an increased demand for Xamarin from large merchants looking to develop high-performance enterprise mobile apps without needing multiple development teams. Our platform allows large merchants to have a world class check out with the benefit of not complicating the tech stack. It's simpler for large businesses to offer their customers a consistent mobile-payment enabled app experience, whatever the operating system they're using, and reap the benefits of the rapid growth of mobile commerce."







Intel investing in women developers at 2015 droidcons

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Intel says it wants to help increase the number of female developers, globally -- this is good news.

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The company has announced a new programme to sponsor women developers to attend droidcon conferences.

What is droidcon?

For those that don't know, droidcon is a global developer conference series and a network focusing on the best of Android.

This year droidcon will visit 20 cities, with major stops to include Berlin, June 3, Paris, in September, and London October 30-31.

"At these events, attendees will be able to learn more about the evolving Android platform, participate in Hackathons, and network with their peers. The programme will begin with the Turin droidcon, April 9-10 and female developers, programming students and key software influencers will be eligible," blogged Intel's Nick Fishleigh.

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Intel says it will be present at these major stops with speakers, workshops and other activities.

Female coders who wish to apply for sponsorship should visit: https://www.droidcon.de/femalesponsorship

The sponsorship includes reduced tickets and refund for travel and accommodations cost, up to a maximum of €330, payable after the event.

Your hashtag moments of zen are as follows: developers, women, android, women_in_tech, hackathon, droidcon, female_developers

Couchbase CEO: the real rationale for enterprise open source

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This is a guest post for the Computer Weekly Open Source Insider blog by Bob Wiederhold, CEO at Couchbase.

The new stack

Cloud computing, big data and mobile are driving enterprises to redefine their software stack.

Open source will be a huge part of that.

But why open source?

It is usually not any one single reason that drives open source adoption, but a combination of factors that lead to the open source decision.

Innovation speed

Open source software tends to innovate faster than proprietary counterparts. Successful open source projects draw contributions from large numbers of developers and users. Some contribute to the core product, while others work on periphery areas like SDKs or connectors to other technologies.

The accumulation of this community participation accelerates delivery of the key features and ecosystem that enterprises need. The result is that open source usually delivers better, faster moving products than competitive, proprietary alternatives.

Open source allows for a more natural adoption approach within the enterprise. It is free and generally easy to download, install, and get started with. This allows easy exploration of and experimentation with new technologies and allows enterprises to get comfortable with the software on smaller, non-mission-critical projects before any financial commitment is required.

This bottoms-up approach provides teams more control and is far less risky and more natural than the typical proprietary software approach that is slower, top-down and requires a big financial commitment much earlier in the process.

Community spirit

Additionally, the communities that arise around open source projects are inherently helpful, easy and free to engage. These communities include developers, administrative and operations experts, who want to solve problems and share experiences, code snippets, plugins and more.

Theoretically there is no reason proprietary user groups could not evolve to be more like open source communities, but the "open" ethos of the companies and communities behind open source projects almost always produce far more supportive communities than the "closed" ethos of the companies and user groups around proprietary software.

Another key advantage of open source is that it does not "lock-in" a user as much as proprietary software does. Customers using paid versions of open source take comfort in the option to revert to free versions if they don't feel they get sufficient value from their vendor.

Stabilisation tipping point

Many teams plan to use the paid version for only a few years, while they build in-house expertise and stabilise the technology deployments. While few companies actually do end up making the switch back to free versions, having that option is highly valued.

Cost, while almost never the only criteria, is always a contributing factor.

Open source is often dramatically less expensive than proprietary software. There are a variety of reasons for that, but the result is that open source delivers a significantly lower TCO. This reduces investment risk and generally makes it easier for enterprises to select.

Technology needed to support cloud computing, big data and mobile will continue to drive enterprises to adopt new infrastructure. More and more of that infrastructure will be open source as it is increasingly seen as a better, easier alternative to proprietary models.

What Couchbase is, does, are, etc...

Couchbase is an open-source, distributed NoSQL document-oriented database said to be optimised for "interactive applications" -- the company says that developers use the Couchbase platform to build enterprise web, mobile and IoT applications that support massive data volumes in real time.

The Couchbase product platform includes: Couchbase Server, Couchbase Lite - the first mobile NoSQL database... and Couchbase Sync Gateway.

OpenScholar: a Drupal-based content management system for universities

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OpenScholar is a Drupal-based content management system designed specifically for academic use, created by Harvard University and released under an open source license.

So what?

Well okay you so what types... this tool aims to solve the "Babel Tower" problem many academic institutions face.

What's that?

As the web began to make its way into academia, staff and departments often created their own sites, hiring students or external companies.

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Within a few years, many university IT departments found themselves having to maintain an assortment of different code bases written in various programming languages and environments - not only making it hard to update the websites' content, but posing a significant security risk as well.

There must be some kind of way out of here, right?

Increasingly, institutions chose to standardise on a single solution, with Drupal - the open source CMS also used at Whitehouse.gov to Economist.com.

Harvard University chose to take this approach a step further by creating a custom CMS on top of Drupal.

To achieve this goal, a Drupal distribution was created by bundling modules such as Organic Groups, which allows running multiple websites on the same database, Spaces and Context, which powers a friendly drag & drop UI and Feeds, which helps import content from diverse sources.

Having a specific, well defined target audience lets OpenScholar make opinionated design choices regarding UI, features and administration workflow, customising it for a professor or department looking to create and manage their web presence.

Available under an open source license, OpenScholar can be hosted locally on a university's servers or with leading Drupal PaaS providers Acquia and Pantheon who support it out of the box.

Over 5,400 Harvard University websites have been created with OpenScholar so far, serving over a million page views a week -- plus it has good multilingual support.

OpenScholar was developed over the past three years by a team of developers at Harvard working with consultancy Gizra.

Facebook 'likes' (other firm's datacentre construction techniques)

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Facebook's outstanding international reputation for information ownership and privacy develops one stage further this month.

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The social networking behemoth is being sued by BladeRoom Group, a British engineering company that claims Facebook has stolen its datacentre construction techniques.

BladeRoom claims to have championed modular datacentre design plans that employ prefabricated component parts.

The firm says it communicated with Facebook on its energy-efficient practises as far back as 2011.

The lawsuit points to Facebook's subsequent construction of its facility in the icy northernmost Swedish city of Lulea and says that this location was built, in part at least, to design plans inspired by the BladeRoom template.

Multiple news sources point to Facebook's explanation of its so-called 'Rapid Deployment Data Center' concept, based upon a repeatable component design philosophy. It is this precept that BladeRoom appears to have taken particular umbrage with.

BladeRoom further contends that Facebook initiated the Open Compute Project as a means of propagating and sharing this design theory, but while also taking credit for the initial Intellectual Property innovation kudos and ensuing community philanthropy.

According to IDG News Service, lawsuit details include the note that, "Facebook's misdeeds might never have come to light had it decided that simply stealing BRG's (BladeRoom Group) intellectual property was enough. Instead, Facebook went further when it decided to encourage and induce others to use BRG's intellectual property though an initiative created by Facebook called the 'Open Compute Project'."

BladeRoom is now seeking financial damages and an injunction to stop Facebook building with modular techniques. The firm will need to prove that it owns the rights to the concept of 'adding rooms on and building extensions' if it is to win its case. Meanwhile, Microsoft along with HP, Google, Amazon and others have been known to also employ extensive use of modular data centre design techniques in a space that is becoming increasingly muddied.

If BladeRoom's claims hold any water (and if Facebook has any solid culpability to be called out upon) the crux may hinge around the finer smaller details.

BladeRoom specifies that its construction concepts started out in relation to the construction of hospital buildings - and, crucially, IDG reports that a Facebook engineer presenting at the OCP Summit last January said that, "Lean construction approaches [of this kind] are often used in hospital buildings."

Something fishy may be going on and it's not just the herring in Sweden.

Images courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/LuleaDataCenter

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Do SmartBears shhh (sponsor Swagger), in the woods?

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The world's most obvious questions are of course:

1. Does the Pope wear a pointy hat?
2. Does Lady Gaga wear a telephone on her head?
3. Do bears shhh in the woods?

Question 3 relating to the query: does open source API testing and development tools company SmartBear now assume sponsorship of Swagger API project in the tortuous woods and forests of the modern open source jungle, obviously.

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Mercifully, the answer is yes, SmartBear has acquired the Swagger API open source project from Reverb Technologies.

Swagger is the leading API description format used by developers in almost every modern programming language and deployment environment to design and deliver APIs that fuel IoT, microservices and mobile applications in the connected world.

SoapUI and Swagger

With this acquisition, SmartBear is now the company behind the two most widely adopted API open source initiatives, SoapUI and Swagger.

"Swagger has been the clear leader of the API description format discussion for several years - its ecosystem and passionate community is unsurpassed in the field," said Ole Lensmar, CTO at SmartBear.

"We look forward to working with Tony Tam, Swagger's creator, to give Swagger the dedicated backing and support it needs for growth, primarily to ensure the open source project's evolution but also to ease its adoption into enterprise scenarios."

Swagger is a representation of RESTful APIs - with it, API developers can deliver interactive documentation, client SDKs and discoverable APIs.

With its code generation capabilities and open source tools, Swagger makes it easier for developers to go from design to implementation.

The API committments

SmartBear says it is committed to keeping the Swagger specification and code open and driven by the community, and encourages contributions through evangelism, documentation and tooling.

The company is engaging industry leaders to create an open governance model that supports the evolution of the Swagger specification in a vendor-neutral and collaborative manner.

As part of its commitment to Swagger, SmartBear will be investing in development to evolve the specification and toolset, as well as providing commercial support offerings for enterprises using Swagger.

The company will also be developing and providing resources to help developers adopt and use Swagger and the Swagger tools.

Bear Grylls (Photo courtesy of Bear Grylls)

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