Analysis / Digest / Technology / Top Stories

This Week in Programming: The Bright Future of Not Dealing with Servers

9 Dec 2017 6:00am, by

This week was KubeCon here in Austin, and I took a few minutes to stop by the exhibition floor, where I saw several examples of the wonderful abstraction of all that stuff I don’t want to really deal with. That is, easy-to-use Web-based interfaces that handle much of the nitty gritty — deploying containers, installing languages and compilers and dependencies, spinning up servers, and getting code quickly online and running — without so much as a single error code rabbit hole search or local installation. And it all comes with those added benefits of containers that you’ve heard so much about — scalability, code reuse and sharing, platform independence, easily-bundled dependencies, you name it.

I’d mentioned KubeCon and Kubernetes to a few programmer friends earlier in the week and their reaction was a mixture of “that’s too new to be useful” and “who uses that?” And I understand that, especially for the developer who works for a company and has a team of people handling the operations side of things, but I can’t tell you how many times now I’ve gone to learn something new programming-wise and run into the same obstacles — days and days of dealing with obtuse OS errors during installation, missing dependencies, and so on. Often, these obstacles were so great that by the time I finished dealing with them, I’d lost the zeal to continue on with my original inspiration.

These days, however, I’m starting to see the light on the horizon, and it looks a lot like Kubernetes (and other container platforms) and the various systems built on top — from OpenShift to Glitch to CodeAnywhere. I mean, for many of you, it’s already blinding daylight, but for me, the sun looks just about to rise — this whole cloud-native thing is looking better and better by the day for the individual developer. While I understand the excitement about much of this from the corporate, bottom-line, efficiency end of things, a lot of this gets me excited for people who just want to make things and don’t want to get bogged down in days of other complications to get there.

If any of that sounds enticing, you may want to check out our coverage of everything that happened at KubeCon this past week, which we’ll continue to update in the days ahead. For now, let’s take a look at what else has happened in the past week in the world of programming languages and everything developer-related.

This Week in Programming News

  • Android Things Developer Preview 6: Okay, we’ll admit, this one slipped past us last week right at the end, but we’re including it this week because it seems worthy of a mention – Google released its Android Things developer preview 6. Android Things, if you’re unfamiliar, is Google’s IOT platform for Android developers that brings capabilities like onboard machine learning using TensorFlow or video and audio processing. The latest updates are detailed in the release notes, but highlights include “a new IoT launcher to provide visibility into the state of devices and change settings, a new command-line flashing tool for flashing device images as well as a peripheral command-line tool to access the Peripheral API, and Android Things Console updates.”
  • Speaking of TensorFlow…: Google also announced Core ML support in TensorFlow Lite, its lightweight ML solution for mobile and embedded devices. CoreML is a machine learning framework for iOS, and with this announcement ” iOS developers can leverage the strengths of Core ML for deploying TensorFlow models.”
  • Visual Studio Updates: The latest Visual Studio release is said to cut download times for large C# and VB projects by half and brings a slew of other features with it, from step-back debugging to features to help identify and manage secrets like database connection strings and web service keys. In addition, a new Visual Studio for Mac came out with automatic iOS app signing, VTest support, among other new features. Check out the blog post for the lengthy list of updates with Visual Studio 2017 version 15.5.
  • PHP 7.2: For those of you not too busy hating PHP, you’ll be interested to know that the language has seen its first updates since 2015, which include multiple security improvements and several new and enhanced programming capabilities, according to InfoWorld. Also, see the official announcement.
  • C++17 Gets Official: The final standard of C++17 has been published on ISO.org and Fossbytes notes that “C++17 has become a major standard, just like C++11 and C++98”.  It would appear that Wikipedia and this Reddit comment may have the best list of features highlighted with this new standard.
  • Angular 5.1: It would appear this is a big week for small dot releases, and Angular is getting in on the game with Angular 5.1, which it calls “a minor release containing several smaller features and bugfixes.” Features include Angular Material and CDK stable release, service worker support in the CLI, improved universal and AppShell support in the CLI, improved decorator error messages, and TypeScript 2.5 support.
  • Django 2.0: And finally, to round out the dot releases, Django 2.0, the self-dubbed “web framework for perfectionists with a deadline,” has hit the mean streets of the web with some new features, some deprecated features, and some backwards incompatible changes. Most notably, the project has dropped support for Python 2 and introduces a simplified URL routing syntax, changing “url(r’^articles/(?P<year>[0-9]{4})/$’, views.year_archive),” to “path(‘articles/<int:year>/’, views.year_archive),”. Now, doesn’t that like nice?
  • Atlassian Developer Roadmap: Atlassian released a full roadmap on Trello that it says shows everything from past releases to future considerations. The company notes that the new roadmap allows developers to vote on future features, giving them some say in what matters most. Neat.
  • Catch up with Kotlin: We went full blown Kotlin for KotlinConf last month and now the company has released a full set of KotlinConf 2017 Session Recordings and Photos, so go check that out if you feel like you missed something. Beyond that, the JetBrains team also hit Reddit this past week for an AMA, where they talked about considering plans for bringing Kotlin/Native to IntelliJ IDEA or Android Studio and holding a KotlinConf in Europe.

This Week in Programming Numbers and Thoughts

  • 2018 According to GitHub: It’s that time of year folks — let the onslaught of predictions begin! We’ll start you off this week with one from GitHub offering technology predictions for 2018. My personal favorite is that “infrastructure will have its Ruby on Rails moment” — that whole thing I wrote about in the intro — ” taking some of the infrastructure burden off developers, they’ll be free to focus on the stuff they care about most — building, growing, and evolving their projects and products.” Other predictions, such as data being important and security in the spotlight seem, well… worn out.
  • Who’s All This Learning Benefitting, Really? According to a piece this week in The Conversation, not the students. The article takes a second look at the learn-to-code craze, examining how “their primary beneficiaries aren’t necessarily students or workers, but rather the influential tech companies that promote the programs in the first place.” And this is nothing new, the piece notes, tracing back initiatives to the early ’80s and the “Reagan-era concerns that Americans were ‘falling behind‘ global competitors in the ‘new economy.'” What’s the real result, they argue? Cheap labor for big companies. Huzzah!

Google and Microsoft are sponsors of The New Stack.


A digest of the week’s most important stories & analyses.

View / Add Comments

Please stay on topic and be respectful of others. Review our Terms of Use.