Articles about development

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Stanford Uni's intro to CompSci course adopts JavaScript, bins Java

In early April, Stanford University began piloting a new version of its introductory computer science course, CS 106A. The variant, CS 106J, is taught in JavaScript rather than Java. "[CS 106J] covers the same material as CS 106A but does so using JavaScript, the most common language for implementing interactive web pages, …
Thomas Claburn, 24 Apr 2017
Doctor Who – The Girl Who Died. Pic credit: BBC

Doctor Who-inspired proxy transmogrifies politically sensitive web to avoid gov censorship

Computer boffins in Canada are working on anti-censorship software called Slitheen that disguises disallowed web content as government-sanctioned pablum. They intend for it to be used in countries where network connections get scrutinized for forbidden thought. Slitheen – named after Doctor Who aliens capable of mimicking …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Apr 2017
Broken cables, photo via Shutterstock

Have we got a new, hip compound IT phrase for you! Enter... UserDev

Users are those strange creatures who break the computer you put on their desks, and for whom software that has worked perfectly in the test lab suddenly decides to crash. I used to share an office with the most amazing user of all, who could slay the most stable code with just a flourish of the mouse: I'd never seen a …
Dave Cartwright, 20 Apr 2017

Please don't call them Facebook chatbots, says Facebook's bot boss

F8 2017 Facebook all but admitted the failure of chatbots last month – with the announcement that developers building Messenger bot can hide text input boxes and offer menu-driven conversations instead. Chatbots were billed by some as the new user interface for apps: rather than tap on icons and swipe through screens, you tell the …
Thomas Claburn, 19 Apr 2017
Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2017

Zuckerberg: Escape from the real world into my goofy make-believe science-fiction fantasy

F8 2017 Amid the fallout over the killing of an elderly man broadcast via Facebook on Sunday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared, "Our next focus is building community." Facebook's approach to this civic construction project involves superimposing graphic effects on real-world images through augmented reality (AR) tools. Speaking at the F8 …
Thomas Claburn, 18 Apr 2017
gamers playing games

Do not insert coin: Uni of Utah to dish out scholarships to ace video game players

The University of Utah on Wednesday said it will offer scholarships to students who excel at esports – meaning they can play, say, League of Legends for the US college to pay their way through an engineering degree. The uni's newly formed varsity esports program is the first such program for an institution participating in the …

It's not just Elon building bridges to the brain: The Internet of Things is coming to a head

Technical work demands tools. Software developers have integrated development environments and text editors. Genetic researchers have gene sequencing machines and CRISPR. Doctors have too many toys to name. Bryan Johnson, founder and CEO of Kernel, wants to build tools for interacting with the human brain. For all the fawning …
Man sloppily eats a hamburger... chips and pickle fall out. Photo by Shutterstock

Is your iOS app piling on weight? Blame Xcode 8.3: We shed light on Apple's bloat riddle

Apple's iOS 10.3 this week brought with it minor storage space gains, thanks to the debut of the iGiant's revised storage scheme, the Apple File System. But among app developers, such efficiency gains, a gigabyte or two of extra capacity, were undone by binary bloat brought on by Apple's development suite Xcode, specifically …
Thomas Claburn, 31 Mar 2017

BDSM sex rocks Drupal world: Top dev banished for sci-fi hanky-panky

A prominent contributor to the open source Drupal content management system has been asked to distance himself from project because "his belief system is inconsistent with [the] project's goals." The beliefs at issue involve participation in the BDSM and Gorean (NSFW) communities, the latter involving people interested in …
Thomas Claburn, 29 Mar 2017

Angular framework's grand ambition: Not breaking anything

Angular, the popular web application framework, reached version 4.0.0 last week, having skipped version 3 entirely. Known for its role in the MEAN stack – MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, and Node.js – Angular lost the "JS" suffix and some of its momentum when version 2 appeared last year, largely because it was incompatible …
Thomas Claburn, 27 Mar 2017

Blinking cursor devours CPU cycles in Visual Studio Code editor

Microsoft describes Visual Studio Code as a source code editor that's "optimized for building and debugging modern web and cloud applications." In fact, VSC turns out to be rather inefficient when it comes to CPU resources. Developer Jo Liss has found that the software, when in focus and idle, uses 13 per cent of CPU capacity …
Thomas Claburn, 23 Mar 2017
Javascript photo via Shutterstock

JS package catalog npm frees its team software for open source devs

npm Inc, the company behind the Node.js package manager and command-line utility known by the same three letters, on Wednesday plans to make its developer collaboration tool known as Orgs free for open source projects. Those using npm to manage private packages still have to pay. "This lets us decouple the paid features from …
Thomas Claburn, 22 Mar 2017
shutterstock_215940778

This week's top token gesture: Google Chrome chokes energy-hungry background tabs

With the recent arrival of a new version of its Chrome browser, Google is celebrating its software's energy saving potential, even as it overlooks its electricity addiction. "Starting in version 57, Chrome will throttle individual background tabs by limiting the timer fire rate for background tabs using excessive power," said …
Thomas Claburn, 16 Mar 2017
Sad iPhone

Apple urged to legalize code injection: Let apps do JavaScript hot-fixes

Faced with an existential threat to its hot patching service, Rollout.io is appealing to Apple to extend its app oversight into post-publication injections of JavaScript code. CTO and cofounder Eyal Keren has penned an open letter to Apple asking the i-obsessed device maker to develop and deploy a "Live Update Service …
Thomas Claburn, 14 Mar 2017
Javascript photo via Shutterstock

Today's WWW is built on pillars of sand: Buggy, exploitable JavaScript libs are everywhere

The web has a security problem: code libraries. Almost 88 per cent of the top 75,000 websites and 47 per cent of .com websites rely on at least one vulnerable JavaScript library. As described in a recently published paper, "Thou Shalt Not Depend on Me: Analysing the Use of Outdated JavaScript Libraries on the Web," researchers …
Thomas Claburn, 14 Mar 2017
PHP, image via Shutterstock

You're mulling GitHub Enterprise. Not keen on on-prem hosting. You don't totally hate cloud...

It's purely coincidental that GitHub is now offering a 99.95 per cent uptime guarantee after the downtime experienced by Amazon Web Services customers on Tuesday. GitHub's stability commitment applies to its new Business tier, priced at $21 per user per month, which includes SAML single sign-on, automated provisioning and …
Dropbox's securitybot

Your future boss? An employee-interrogating bot – it's an open-source gift from Dropbox

Dropbox has released the code for the chatbot it uses to question employees about interactions with corporate systems, in the hope that it can help other organizations automate security processes and improve employee awareness of security concerns. "One of the hardest, most time-consuming parts of security monitoring is …
Thomas Claburn, 24 Feb 2017
Paul Berg, at the Open Source Leadership Summit

Meet the chap open-sourcing US govt code – Paul, an ex-Microsoft anti-piracy engineer

Interview In the months ahead, Idaho National Laboratory aims to open-source software for analyzing the quality of cow manure. "It runs a whole bunch of scenarios and numbers and determines what is the most profitable use of the manure that comes out of cows," explained Paul Berg, senior research and development software licensing …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Feb 2017

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