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This Week in Programming: Looking Past the Quantum AI Buzz at Microsoft Ignite

Sep 29th, 2018 6:00am by
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While Build may certainly be the Microsoft conference to pay attention to when it comes to developer-centric announcements, this week’s Ignite conference had news aplenty as well.

As you might expect, AI and Quantum computing took center stage in terms of developer-related news, according to one article in Visual Studio Magazine. “While the show largely targets IT pros and users, it also features plenty of developer-related content, which this year is highlighted by cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing announcements,” they write. Included in these were new features for Azure Machine Learning, Azure Cognitive Services, Azure Bot Service, a new Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise, and an upcoming update to that Quantum Development Kit. But really, this piece does a fine job summarizing these buzzworthy announcements, so we figured we’d plow ahead and take a look at several developer-related updates that were far less flashy but may have equal impact on your day-to-day.

We’ll kick off this week looking into each of those bits of news before checking out what else has been going on in the world of programming news, but first, since we’ve been talking about generics in programming so much lately, a not-so-quick video of Bjarne Stroustrup, the designer and original implementer of C++, speaking on the topic for your enjoyment:

This Week in Microsoft Ignite Developer News

  • SQL Server 2019: First up, ProgrammableWeb offers us a brief look at the database-related news from Ignite of interest to developers, which included full support for the Azure Cosmos DB as well as the announcement of the public preview of SQL Server 2019. SQL Server 2019 is “a new database management system that should provide companies a single offering for managing their relational and non-relational databases,” that can run on-prem, in the cloud, or on Azure Stack. On a separate but related note, an article in ZDNet takes a look at “the underlying hybrid convergence,” as “hybrid on-premise/cloud strategy could become [Microsoft’s] prime differentiator,” with databases such as SQL Server 2019 and Azure SQL Database serving as “exhibit one.”
  • Azure Functions 2.0: Next up, Azure Functions 2.0 are here and Microsoft is calling it “a huge milestone packed with several capabilities, all focused around making it easier than ever for you to build highly scalable serverless applications.” For those of you unfamiliar with Azure Functions, Microsoft explains them as “capabilities to implement code triggered by events occurring in Azure or third party service as well as on-premises systems.” With 2.0, Functions can now run in more environments, including locally on Mac and Linux machines, and now integrates with VS Code. Looking ahead to the near future, Microsoft also says that it is “actively building support for Python 3.6 based on the Functions 2.0 runtime, the new language worker model, and the Linux hosting platform.”
  • Visual Studio Tools for Azure IoT Edge: Microsoft also announced a preview of Visual Studio Tools for Azure IoT Edge for Visual Studio 2017. The preview “offers the ability to create Azure IoT Edge project in Visual Studio, add C# custom modules, build and push them to IoT Edge devices. You can debug a single C# module or multiple modules at the same time in Visual Studio locally.” Make sure to check out the full post for details on how to use Visual Studio 2017 to build Azure IoT Edge solutions.
  • TypeScript 3.1 Arrives: And finally, for Microsoft news (though this may not have been an official Ignite announcement), TypeScript 3.1 was officially announced this week, after the 3.1 release candidate just a week or two prior. PaktPub offers a synopsis of the now final release, highlighting typesVersions redirects and mapped tuple types as the biggest new features, alongside a few breaking changes.

This Week in Non-Microsoft Programming News

  • The Ol’ JDK Bait and Switch? Overshadowing the simple fact that JDK 11 was released this week, Java developer Stephen Colebourne warns others not to “fall into Oracle’s Java 11 trap” by, well, downloading JDK 11. In all fairness, Oracle does offer a warning highlighted in a dim yellow box declaring that “with JDK 11 Oracle has updated the license terms on which we offer the Oracle JDK,” but who reads those things anyway? Even highlighted, they don’t mention the simple fact that, as Colebourne points out, the JDK is no longer free. Colebourne highlights the following line of the TOS as key: “You may not: use the Programs for any data processing or any commercial, production, or internal business purposes other than developing, testing, prototyping, and demonstrating your Application,” writing that “unless you read the text/warnings/legalese very carefully you might not even realize Oracle JDK is now commercial, and that you are therefore liable to pay Oracle for Java.” The solution, however, is simple, Colebourne says — just use an OpenJDK build instead!
  • GitLab 11.3 Adds Premium Features: Announcing version 11.3 this week, it looks like GitLab Premium users can look forward to Maven repositories and “Protected Environments”. Maven repositories expand GitLab’s support for Java projects with “a secure, standardized way to share version control in Maven libraries and save time by reusing these libraries across projects.”  Protected Environments, meanwhile, allow premium users to lock down who can push code to production. For you non-premium users, “GitLab Starter now supports the assignment of Code Owners to files to indicate the appropriate team members responsible for the code.” And finally, GitLab Ultimate will help you see into the future with a new feature that “can automatically forecast an epic’s start and end dates based on the milestone dates of its issues.”
  • Android Studio 3.2 Promises Smaller, More Efficient Apps: Google announced Android Studio 3.2, adding 20+ new features since it was first released at Google I/O ’18 and says that it is “the best way for app developers to cut into the latest Android 9 Pie release and build the new Android App bundle.” With this release, Google claims that developers are seeing “between 11 percent to 64 percent in app size savings with app bundles over the legacy APK app size” when using an Android App Bundle. Additionally, Android Studio 3.2 offers an “Energy Profiler” that “gives you a set of tools that will help you diagnose and improve the energy impact of your app.”
  • SQL — Neither Dead Nor Dinosaur: I’ll admit — I have a penchant for questioning altruisms. Especially when those altruisms tell you to simply reject the standard because it is standard. It became the standard for a reason, after all, right? Well, here’s an article that does just that — looks at why SQL has become a stand-by for the past 40 years and why that is simply not reason enough to discard it. SQL is neither dead nor a dinosaur, it argues, but rather “why SQL should be your preferred choice for your next web application or database learning path.”

Microsoft is a sponsor of The New Stack.

Feature image via Pixabay.

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