Culture / Development / DevOps

This Week in Programming: Python Creator Guido Van Rossum Joins Microsoft

14 Nov 2020 6:00am, by

On Thursday, Guido Van Rossum, the creator of the Python programming language has come out of his rather brief retirement to join Microsoft’s developer division.

The news brought a flurry of congratulations and feature requests, though a few of the suggested features indeed, already exist. Others still were met with informative responses that make the resulting threads worth a perusal, especially if you’re looking for a quick “who’s who” on Twitter for the world of programming languages. Microsoft’s Miguel de Icaza pointed out that this addition adds to the company’s now growing list of language designers and contributors.

So, what can we expect from all of this? Is it a corporate takeover of open source, as some further down in the long list of replies always seem to suggest? Or is Microsoft planning the Frankenstein of all languages, with a little bit of this, a little bit of that?

In all likelihood, you Python developers using Microsoft products probably have some good features to look forward to in the near future, and that’s that, but there’s always lingering fears…especially when it comes to Microsoft. As van Rossum suggests, stay tuned.

This Week in Programming

  • Visual Studio Code Intros a Jupyter Extension For Non-Python Users: While the Visual Studio Code had already delivered Jupyter Notebook support with the Python extension last year, the rest of you non-Python developers looking to use Jupyter Notebooks can now do so with the new Jupyter extension for Visual Studio Code, which it introduced this week alongside the November 2020 release of VS Code. The new extension will give users of languages such as R, Julia, and Scala “the same rich Jupyter Notebook experience,” they write, and will make it “much easier to build new Jupyter experiences for languages beyond Python.” The new extension provides basic notebook support for any language kernel that is supported in Jupyter Notebooks today and is available under the MIT license on GitHub. To get started, install the VS Code Insiders build, the Jupyter extension, and the Jupyter kernel of your language of choice.
  • .NET 5.0 Brings C# 9, F# 5 & More: With the .NET Conf 2020 this last week, Microsoft also announced .NET 5.0, which included C# 9, F# 5, ASP.NET Core, and EF Core. Currently available for download, .NET 5.0 is the first release in Microsoft’s “.NET unification journey” in which the company is “unifying .NET into a single product experience, while enabling you to pick just the parts of the .NET platform that you want to use.” While they say that they had intended to deliver the entirety of the unification vision with .NET 5.0, the pandemic put a bit of a hitch into that plan, and so now it will be spread across .NET 5.0 and .NET 6.0. There’s lots here to read about, including a slew of new features for each language version released, so make sure to click through for more. But before you move on to the next bit, also note that AWS has offered its own blog post regarding .NET 5 on AWS and the various services and tools in support of the release.

  • GitHub to Require Token-Based Authentication: Another point of Microsoft news, the company has said that, as of Nov. 13, both GitHub and Visual Studio will “no longer accept account passwords when authenticating with the REST API and will instead require using token-based authentication (e.g., personal access or OAuth), for all authenticated operations for GitHub.com.”
  • Visual Studio 2019 Gets “Git Experience”: Before we move away from Microsoft, there’s one more big release to mention, that of Visual Studio 2019 v16.8, which brings with it improvements around IntelliCode, .NET, XAML, and Web Tools, as well as the Release of the “Git Experience” and C++20 conformance. With this release, Git is now on by default and you can clone, create, or open repositories all from the Git menu, as well as use the integrated Git tool windows to commit and push changes to your code, manage branches, stay up to date with your remote repositories, and resolve merge conflicts. For full details, as always check out the release notes and documentation. Improved C++20 support, meanwhile, adds major C++20 features across the compiler, standard library, and IDE.

  • GoLang Celebrates Eleven Years: The time has come again to recap the last year in Go with the language’s eleventh birthday. Although the number is less round than last year and, as the team notes in its post, “it’s been a tough year,” there is still plenty to highlight, including the Go 1.14 release, the Go 1.15 release, and the launch of go.dev and pkg.go.dev. Recently, the Go team sent out its annual Go user survey, which has results forthcoming, and they give us a peek at what’s soon to come, such as Go 1.16 in February and 1.17 next August. Go 1.16 will include the new file system interfaces and build-time file embedding, and support for the new Apple Silicon Macs, while Go 1.17 will likely include “a new register-based calling convention for x86-64 (without breaking existing assembly!)” and support for fuzzing in the go test command. Go 1.16, they write, can also expect the “smoothest Go modules experience yet,” and, since no discussion of Go can forego mention of this, the latest design draft for generics is being worked on, with the goal of “having something for people to try out by the end of the year, perhaps a part of the Go 1.18 betas.”
  • DigitalOcean Offers Deploy Button: You open source maintainers can now offer your users a “Deploy to DigitalOcean” button that the company says will allow them to easily deploy open source apps to its recently announced DigitalOcean App Platform. All you need to do is embed the button in your README.md files and DigitalOcean will “handle the app deployment process” from there, rather than worrying “about the mundane, time-consuming writing of tasks and updating of instructions.” The button is free to you, but will cost the users accordingly, starting at $5 a month.
  • Google Addresses Open Source Lingo: There are some computer terms that, given the year, are a bit cringeworthy and in need of changing, as we’ve previously discussed here. Well, Google has started an initiative for more inclusive language in open source projects at its Google Open Source Programs Office to address such language. New Google-run projects, starting last month, were made to remove the terms “slave,” “whitelist,” and “blacklist,” and replace them with more inclusive alternatives, such as “replica,” “allowlist,” and “blocklist,” while more complex, established projects will begin the process of doing so in 2021. Why, you might ask? Check out Google Developer Documentation Style Guide for answers. “Regardless of the phrases used, it is necessary to understand that certain terms reinforce biases and that replacing them is a positive step, both in creating a more welcoming atmosphere for everyone and in being more technically accurate. In short, words matter,” they write.

Feature image by SilviaP_Design via Pixabay.

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