CI/CD / Culture / Development

This Week in Programming: Dear Tech Giants, Save Your Moral Platitudes

6 Jun 2020 6:00am, by

Here we are at the end of another week with protests continuing not only across the U.S. but around the world, with one simple message: Black Lives Matter. Not to be left out of anything seen as a ripe marketing opportunity, this last week has also seen its share of tech companies joining in on the conversation with blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts and emails, professing their support and “solidarity with the Black community.” Meanwhile, those selfsame companies sell their technologies to the perpetrators of those same offenses. To whit:

Not only has Amazon actively worked against its workers during the pandemic by firing union organizers who fought for better protection, the company also posted its statement of solidarity, according to an article in Vice, while continuing to sell to police “the widely criticized facial recognition product, Rekognition.” They write, “The tool misidentifies darker-skinned people more often than lighter-skinned people, according to a report from AI researcher Joy Buolamwini. In 2018, the ACLU found the tool misidentified members of Congress as criminals, misidentifying black officials more often than white ones.”

Right up there with Amazon, this week, was GitHub CEO Nat Friedman, coming out to tweet about “the centuries-long pattern of systemic racism in the US” and how “GitHub stands with the Black community and will not be silent on violence and injustice” out of one side of his mouth, seemingly forgetting the defences of GitHub’s contracts with ICE that not to distantly came out of the other side.

Just like that basic writerly advice you get in grade school: show, don’t tell. And don’t just put your money where your mouth is, put your actions there with it.

Speaking of money and action, for those of you in tech who want to take some positive steps, The New Stack contributor Jennifer Riggins has authored an extensive guide on how the tech community can provide support, and we suggest you head on over and give that a read before moving on with your day.

This Week in Programming

  • Atlassian Automates Collaboration with 12 New Features: Context switching and superfluous meetings were among the topics cited with this week’s release of 12 New DevOps features by Atlassian, the company behind code repository BitBucket and issue tracker Jira, among others. “Instead of coding and building innovative solutions, developers can end up spending a big chunk of their day integrating multiple tools, updating work status, and sharing it with other teams,” the company wrote in introduction, citing findings in a recent DevOps Trends Survey. The 12 new features include “automations and integrations to help developers take their time back and ship better code, faster,” such as “deep integrations between Jira Software Cloud and Bitbucket Cloud, GitHub, and GitLab so that issue tracking and project updates happen right where you code, automatically.” Check out the post for the full list, but one we thought might strike your fancy is the Atlassian Visual Studio Code integration, which “brings your entire dev pipeline into your editor, with your task list from Jira Software Cloud, a complete code review experience, and CI/CD tracking from Bitbucket Pipelines.”
  • Visual Studio 2019 Preview Adds C++ Updates, Git: With Microsoft Build 2020 in the rearview, the company has released Visual Studio 2019 v16.7 Preview 2, which comes with a few new features, including C++ updates and Git productivity enhancements. For C++, the IDE offers enhanced IntelliSense support for Clang on Windows (clang-cl), while also allowing you to change or add SSH connections in the connection manager. For Git, they have “revamped the Visual Studio merge editor by decoupling it from TFVC and focusing it on Git.” Then, there’s also…
  • Visual Studio 2019 Adds Local Kubernetes: Alongside the aforementioned additions, Visual Studio 2019 has  introduced local process with Kubernetes, which “allows you to write, test and debug your .NET microservice code on your development workstation while connected to your Kubernetes cluster with the rest of your application or services.” Typically, this process would be lengthy and involve modifying code, building a container image and deploying that image to a Kubernetes cluster, but this feature “extends the Kubernetes perimeter to your development workstation, allowing you to sidestep the operational complexities of building and syncing your code into the cluster to test, debug and rapidly iterate.” Check out the docs for more info.

  • DefinitelyTyped Gets Communal Management: While Definitely Typed, the repository that holds type declaration files (*.d.ts files) for thousands of JavaScript projects, started out as an entirely community-driven effort, Microsoft writes, it “became so critical to the TypeScript ecosystem that the TypeScript team committed to helping maintain Definitely Typed,” with team members taking turns merging pull requests and the like. Until last week, the team handled around 250 pull requests a week, but now they have made some changes to how they manage DefinitelyTyped with definition owners now able to help merge PRs to their modules themselves. “When thinking about how we maintain such a busy repo, it’s a combination of careful application of automation and a lot of human effort,” they write. “Definitely Typed is a massive community project with over 10,000 contributors, and we’re really proud of how far it has come, here’s to making the life easier for the next 10k contributors.”
  • GitHub Intros Summer of Making: GitHub has partnered with Hack Club to introducing Hack Club’s Summer of Making, a remote summer program meant to step in place of all those canceled internships and close hackerspaces. The Summer of Making is open for teens from ages 13 to 18 and is free, even with access to hardware as needed. So, if you know a technology-oriented teen, registration opens June 18th, with pre-registration open now. The program comes with access to the Student Developer Pack, as well as hardware, prototyping tools, and mentorship. Speaking of which, you can apply to be a mentor, too!

  • Swift Gets a Lambda Runtime: Swift, the general-purpose programming language built using a modern approach to safety, performance, and software design patterns, has introduced the Swift AWS Lambda Runtime, a new open source project distributed as a Swift package and designed to help Swift developers build serverless functions for the Amazon Web Services Lambda platform. The Swift team writes that the language’s “low memory footprint, deterministic performance, and quick start time” make it “a fantastic match for the serverless functions architecture.” The library is an implementation of the AWS Lambda Runtime API and provides a multitier API that allows building a range of Lambda functions. For full details, check out the readme.
  • Rust Hits Top 20: Lastly this week, we look at the monthly results of the TIOBE Index, a ranking of programming language popularity according to “the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third-party vendors,” as well as search results. This time around, we find that Rust has entered the top 20 for the first time ever, which tracks well with its place atop the list of most beloved languages according to StackOverflow. TIOBE offers its own reasoning as for Rust finally entering the list: “the main reason for this is that Rust is a system programming language that is done right. All the verbose programming and sharp edges of other languages are solved by Rust while being statically strongly typed.”

Amazon Web Services is a sponsor of The New Stack.

Feature image: Gunye Ge face mask, Yakouba carver, 19th–20th century, New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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