Is Java at a crossroads?

The big question is, is Java at a crossroads?

The Tiobe programming language popularity index for October 2015 shows increasing popularity for Java — although we note that programming purists at the now mothballed Dr Dobb’s Journal were never convinced by the validity of the Tiobe index.

Cup 'o Joe anyone? While it's still hot, that is.

Cup ‘o Joe anyone? While it’s still hot, that is.

InfoWorld slammer

But as InfoWorld’s Paul Krill is not convinced, he writes below from this link.

“Oracle is not interested in empowering its competitors and doesn’t want to share innovation, the email further alleges. The company is slimming down Java EE (Enterprise Edition), but it also doesn’t want anyone else to work on Java or Java EE and is sidelining the JCP (Java Community Process). ‘They have a winner-take-all mentality and they are not interested in collaborating,’ said the email. ‘Proprietary product work will be done on WebLogic, and there’ll be a proprietary microservices platform.’”

On the up?

At the same, we read news on Developer.com stating that Java’s rating increased to 20.403 percent; it was the first time it reached above the 20 percent mark since July 2009.

“The Java language is changing nowadays, after having been at the same level for many years,” Tiobe Managing Director Paul Jansen said. “It’s closing the gap with functional programming languages — e.g. with Java Streams — thus making life much easier.”

Oracle meanwhile continues to extol the virtues of Java, it’s own Java Magazine home page reads as below.

Staunch stewardship

Although there are other publications that bring you news from the world of Java, there are no other examples that combine the voice of the Java “steward” (Oracle) with the voices of the rest of the community (developers, ISVs, device manufacturers, users, and students) in an innovative, all-digital package.

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SmartBear Improves Continuous Delivery of High-Performance APIs

SmartBear Software has updated Ready! API to include new options for one-click deployment of cloud-based load tests in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), improving continuous delivery of high performance APIs for developers and testers.

Agile software teams are increasingly being required to perform more complex testing earlier on in the delivery lifecycle.

While API performance is paramount to a seamless consumer experience, it is often overlooked due to the skills and time traditionally required to perform pre-production load testing.

As organizations build out their API strategy, they need simple and fast ways to resolve speed and scalability issues in the APIs they develop, and they need tools that fit within their budgetary and time constraints.

“Load testing in Ready! API is by far the easiest way to know how well your API scales in response to large volumes of traffic,” said Paul Bruce, API Product Manager at SmartBear. “Pulling in the power of Amazon EC2 cloud resources into a load test is a fast and inexpensive way for anyone on a software team, developers or testers, to be confident that their API will handle high demand situations gracefully.”

Ready! API 1.5 includes updates to LoadUI NG Pro to make it easy for developers and testers to tap into the power of cloud computing to execute large-scale, distributed performance tests from a single interface.

With minimal configuration, software teams can load test their APIs from a variety of locations around the world, managing cost and complexity with the freedom to choose what types of cloud-based resources to use for different testing scenarios.

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QASymphony launches JIRA plugin on Atlassian Marketplace

Industry developments at the Atlassian Summit last month saw QASymphony launche qTest Scenario.

Developers can use Use qTest's interface to set up projects and manage requirements.

Developers can use Use qTest’s interface to set up projects and manage requirements.

This is a new JIRA plugin for development shops to manage lifecycles using the most popular ‘test-first’ methods.

What this means is that qTest Scenario  manages everything from test creation, execution and results through to defect resolution, all within Atlassian’s JIRA software.

NOTE: qTest Scenario is currently in controlled release and will be available for general release in the Atlassian Marketplace in December 2015.

x3 key TEST-FIRST methodologies for developers:

Press materials released in line with this product launch would have us believe that Agile organizations are increasingly leveraging test-first methodologies including:

  • # Behaviour Driven Development,
  • Test Driven Development and,
  • Acceptance Test Driven Development,

These practices exist (so says QASymphony) in an effort to move testing further up in the development process and deliver software more rapidly.

The major roadblock (so says QASymphony) to widespread adoption of these techniques is the lack of enterprise-grade solutions to track progress, as well as flexible solutions to combine results with more traditionally managed projects.

Here’s your ease-of-use part

“For the first time, developers can build features and scenarios directly in the JIRA plugin and then query them through out-of-the-box integrations and APIs,” says Kevin Dunne, vice president of strategy and business development at QASymphony. “Developers can use their existing set-ups to easily import and export feature files. Meanwhile, powerful, easy-to-use reports allow users to share testing progress within each sprint or release with the entire organization. User stories, tests, results and defects are automatically connected, resulting in better traceability, real-time problem solving and increased productivity, at all times.”

qTest Scenario is the first solution  on the Atlassian Marketplace to address this need (so says QASymphony), allowing development teams to optimize and scale a test-first approach across their organizations. qTest Scenario¹s primary features include:

  • Gherkin editor for feature and scenario development
  • Ability to import/export existing feature files
  • Robust reporting with end-to-end traceability (including execution results)
  • Option to manually track test results with multiple runs
  • Out-of-the box integration to Cucumber via Maven for automated test results
  • API for building custom integrations for automated test result submission

“We received feedback from hundreds of customers who use qTest and JIRA together, about the challenges scaling BDD, TDD and ATDD,” says Dave Keil, CEO at QASymphony. “As a result, we see a huge gap in the market that qTest Scenario fills. We believe qTest Scenario will elevate testing inside devops organizations, allowing them to work faster and focus more on the end user. We¹re very excited to share this technology with the JIRA community.”

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Docker 1.9 Unveils Integrated Toolset to Run Stateful and Stateless Distributed Applications

Docker’s 1.9 release is said to empowers developers and IT Operations to create and manage stateful distributed applications in a multi-host container environment across the entire application lifecycle.

An ephemeral container world

Turtles in containers? Well it is an ephemeral container world, after all

Turtles in containers? Well it is an ephemeral container world, after all

With this update we can see that Docker delivers networking with a new container network model (CNM), infrastructure clustering at vast scale and a new volume management system for managing persistent storage in an ephemeral container world.

Multi-host networking was announced as part of Docker’s experimental release during DockerCon in June of this year. Docker multi-host networking was made available as native platform functionality to ensure that multi-container distributed applications can seamlessly communicate across IP networks, while being portable across any network infrastructure.

As of 1.9, Docker’s networking capabilities are now production-ready and generally available. Both Dev and IT Ops can create virtual networks and attach containers to them to create the network topology that is right for any given application. The networked containers can even span multiple hosts. No  matter what host a container lands on, they can seamlessly communicate with each other wherever they are, enabling truly distributed applications.

Because networking is pluggable, organizations can choose any third-party networking driver to power its networks without modifying the applications. The first set of networking plugins available with 1.9 includes Cisco, Microsoft, Midokura, Nuage, Project Calico, VMware and Weave.

Benefits to Developers

· Dev can create and test distributed applications while maintaining a familiar and consistent Docker experience by choosing their own tooling/environment

· Developers can define the network topologies for their  distributed applications and pass them on to IT Ops, who can choose their networking environment

Benefits to IT Operations

· Docker 1.9 is portable across environments, enabling IT Ops to move applications between the data center and any cloud

· Plugin support from the Docker ecosystem enables IT Ops to apply sophisticated networking policies to ensure availability and security.

Stateful applications through a new volume management system in Docker Engine for flexible, persistent storage across distributed hosts…

As of 1.9, Developers and IT Operations have a new volume management system, making it easier to enable persistent storage for distributed container-based applications. In the past, it has been challenging to manage persistent storage for ephemeral containers. Organizations can now use the Docker CLI to create, manage and attach volumes to containers distributed across hosts and plug into ecosystem tools to store data.

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Red Hat Developer Toolset 4 Beta Now Available

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux team has been busy — the group has this quarter announced the beta availability of Red Hat Software Collections 2.1, Red Hat’s newest instalment of open source web development tools, dynamic languages and databases.

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It’s important to realise that this product line is delivered on a separate lifecycle from Red Hat Enterprise Linux with a more frequent release cadence.

Developer Toolset 4 Beta

Also now available is the Red Hat Developer Toolset 4 Beta, to streamline application development on Red Hat’s enterprise Linux platform by giving developers access to the latest, stable open source C and C++ compilers and complementary development and performance profiling tools.

Accessible through the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Program and related subscriptions, Red Hat Developer Toolset enables developers to compile applications once and deploy across multiple versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Red Hat Software Collections 2.1 Beta helps to accelerate the development and deployment of modern applications by making available some of the latest, stable dynamic open source languages and databases.

  • New additions in Red Hat Software Collections 2.1 Beta include Varnish Cache 4.0.3, a caching HTTP reverse proxy that is able to accelerate web applications, and nginx 1.8, an updated version of the popular HTTP and reverse proxy server.
  • Updated collections include node.js 0.10.40, and Maven 3.0.5. As with past instalments of Red Hat Software Collections, Red Hat Developer Toolset also continues to be available as a software collection.

Red Hat Developer Toolset 4 Beta helps to streamline application development on Red Hat 19s enterprise Linux platform, enabling developers to compile applications once and deploy to multiple versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux across the open hybrid cloud. Updated components include the latest versions of: the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) 5.2, the GNU Project Debugger (GDB) 7.10, Eclipse Mars (4.5), and a number of updates to toolchain components and performance tools, like binutils (2.25) and SystemTap (2.8).

“Applications built with Red Hat Software Collections can be deployed into production with greater confidence, as most software collections and components are supported for three years. In addition to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7, applications built with Red Hat Software Collections can also be deployed to Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host and OpenShift, Red Hat’ s Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering, giving more choice and flexibility for application portfolios,” said the company, in a press statement.

 Finally, for developers looking to take advantage of the rapid development and deployment cycles inherent to Linux containers, many of the most popular Red Hat Software Collections have been made available as Dockerfiles. In addition, many of the most popular Red Hat Software Collections are also now available as docker-formatted container images via the Red Hat Customer Portal.

Red Hat Software Collections 2.1 Beta and Red Hat Developer Toolset 4 Beta are now available to customers and partners with select active Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions.

For more information on installation or to view the complete release notes, please visit the Red Hat Customer Portal.

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Xamarin RoboVM: A path to mobile for 13 million C# & Java developers

Xamarin has announced that it has acquired RoboVM.

For those that need a reminder, Xamarin an enterprise mobility solution and the only mobile application development platform that enables native iOS and Android development in C#.

RoboVM enables native iOS and Android development in Java.

The acquisition brings together the top two languages in enterprise development and a path to mobile for nearly every enterprise developer.

Identical, in approach

The two companies have taken nearly identical approaches to enabling enterprise mobility — Xamarin and RoboVM apps are fully native iOS and Android apps—native UI, native performance, and complete access all of APIs for each device platform—built from a shared code base across device platforms.

Xamarin is the only company with this approach for C# developers, and RoboVM is the only company with this approach for Java developers. The acquisition means that Xamarin now controls the cross-platform mobile development market for the most widely adopted languages capable of native, client-to-server, cloud-to-mobile development.

 “If Xamarin were to build a Java solution from scratch, it would look like RoboVM because they took the same native-first approach in their design,” says Nat Friedman, CEO and Xamarin cofounder. “If you love Java, you are going to love RoboVM for iOS and Android development.”

NOTE: IDC estimates that between five and seven million developers work in Java, making it one of the largest developer ecosystems in the industry (source).

The language for enterprise applications and data center operations, as well as for Android app development, Java is used in a broad array of devices beyond smartphones and tablets, including: wearables, cars, drones, TVs, refrigerators, and many other IoT devices.

While enterprises have largely skilled internal development teams, they struggle to fully staff the capabilities needed for iOS and Android development; Forrester reports that 50% of organizations have fewer than five developers in-house, barely enough to field a single mobile team, especially if app is built for both iOS and Android.

RoboVM allows enterprises to achieve broach reach and easily extend native, Java-based Android apps to iOS – or to develop iOS apps from scratch – all while leveraging their Java skills, resources, and code.

“Our mission is to enable Java developers to create beautiful native mobile apps quickly,” says Henric Müller, CEO at RoboVM. “Xamarin’s market-leading position in enterprise mobility means that we will be able to scale our reach and enable mobile success for millions of developers.”

Xamarin hyper-growth model 

Key to Xamarin’s success is the large, global C# developer community that has transitioned to mobile development via the Xamarin Platform. Unique developer downloads have more than doubled in the last year, now at over 1.2 million, and sales have grown at an even faster rate.

According to Al Hilwa, program director for IDC’s Application Development Software research, “Using a cross-platform application development approach has emerged as one of the most popular approaches for building enterprise mobile apps, especially when coupled with generation of native platform code. Xamarin is able to address the two largest ecosystems for native mobile application development today with its support for C# and Java.”

 Xamarin and RoboVM will operate independently to ensure each team stays focused on their C# and Java user bases respectively. RoboVM will leverage Xamarin’s growth models in developer marketing, sales, and customer success to scale their business; and RoboVM customers will benefit from Xamarin’s enterprise-grade mobile expertise and full mobile lifecycle offerings.

 

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SmartBear’s Code Review Tool Adds Archiving

You have to applaud SmartBear Software, when the company’s code review tool adds archiving functions… the firm’s comms dept. issues a simple ‘Ronseal‘ statement saying: SmartBear’s Code Review Tool Adds Archiving.

The company, which works as a specialist in software quality tools, has released Collaborator 9.3 with an “Archive to Zip” feature that is meant to ease the burden of audits for regulated industries.

In case you are anal, about data retention

Code review contents can now be saved in a non-proprietary format into a zip file, ensuring long term data retention. Collaborator is the only tool available that allows teams to peer review code, user stories and test plans in a transparent, collaborative framework – instantly keeping the entire team up to speed on changes made to the code.

“The ‘Archive to Zip’ feature has been requested by several of our customers who need to adhere with regulatory compliance,” said Justin Collier, product owner, Collaborator at SmartBear. “Companies like GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin and HP, need a way to save all of their review conversations, information and materials to a zip file that can be referenced years down the road. This latest version of Collaborator provides this capability, so customers can move forward with confidence that review contents can be easily accessed at any time that an audit may occur.”

Proof of peer

Many companies find that it is difficult to provide clear proof that peer code reviews are happening or have happened within their teams. Often times, organizations that are preparing for an audit don’t have easy access to the data that they need to provide the auditors, whether they are internal or external to the organization. Many auditors time how long it takes the company to pull together all of the necessary files for the audit. With Collaborator 9.3, that changes.

The new “Archive to Zip” feature ensures that teams can quickly gather the appropriate review documentation and quickly send it to the auditor. This speedy turn around shows the auditing team that review processes and procedures are taken seriously.

Regulation situations 

In addition to providing data for immediate auditing needs, many companies are required by government regulations to keep records of peer reviews for as long as their equipment is in service. The “Archive to Zip” feature allows development, testing and management teams to save code review contents in a zip file for long term data retention.

Code review contents can be saved into a non-proprietary format, helping customers in regulated industries meet government regulations and internal policy requirements.

To download a trial version, visit: http://smartbear.com/product/collaborator/free-trial/

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JIRA Service Desk 3: ITIL-Ready Functionality For Service Teams

Atlassian has released JIRA Service Desk 3, one of three standalone JIRA products that run on a common JIRA platform to provide the  tools to help teams plan, track and organize their work.

The new version of Atlassian’s service management software is built for IT service and support teams.

At start up, customers can choose an IT Service Desk for ITIL-focused IT teams, or a Basic Service Desk for either IT teams that don’t need ITIL processes, or non-technical teams such as HR, Facilities, Legal, Sales, Marketing or Finance operations.

What is ITIL?

ITIL, formerly an acronym for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is a set of practices for IT Service Management that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of a business.

“We are at the dawn of a new generation of IT service management software,” said Didier Moretti, vice president and general manager of Atlassian’s Service Desk business unit. “If asking for help isn’t as simple as using Facebook, IT won’t adopt it. The same goes for setup and configuration. The days of six to nine-month implementation cycles and brittle software that can never be changed or upgraded are over.”

For IT service teams, Atlassian has added a host of ITIL-ready capabilities. JIRA Service Desk now includes integrated functionality for incident, problem, and change management, that improves visibility into issues as they arise, helps agents identify and fix root cause problems, and easily track actions across the IT landscape to minimize risk and downtime.

“How we help IT teams be more productive, minimize risk and create a better user experience is truly distinct,” said Moretti. “Unlike traditional and legacy vendors with siloed, heavy, complex models that are hard to implement, we’ve created lightweight, flexible, easy-to-use software that can be quickly adapted to how you do things, and help IT teams see value.”

Change management, for example, is commonly a painful, unpleasant experience in companies. Elaborate checks and balances, complex workflows and approval processes, and outdated rules are often difficult to modify as a company grows and evolves. The result is usually expensive consulting time and a patchwork of fixes to maintain the systems.

Like all Atlassian products, flexibility and adaptability are built in from the start. With JIRA Service Desk 3, IT teams can now get up and running quickly and tracking and recording work that can be rolled back if needed is now easy to do.

Today, with a single platform used by software developers and IT, Atlassian is the only service management software provider that truly streamlines end-to-end resolution workflows from IT incident, to resolution by a developer who maintains the internal systems and manages the team’s backlog in JIRA. 

While JIRA Service Desk has always been a customer favorite for the software’s no hassle setup and configuration, in the latest version Atlassian has streamlined and simplified configuration even further to make it easier to adapt and respond to ever changing corporate needs.

For non-technical teams that want a simpler service desk offering, JIRA Service Desk 3 now allows administrators to choose a Basic Service Desk at setup time to shield users from IT-centric screens, data, and workflows, and get to value quickly.

“The new architecture allows Atlassian and partners to create purpose-built service applications for non-technical service teams,” said Moretti. “It makes JIRA Service Desk an extremely attractive offering not just for today’s needs, but for a company’s future growth as their service management needs mature, and they adopt Service Management best practices across the organization.”

For example, a partner could package a template for an HR Service Desk and provide common requests such as Employee Transfer Request, or Onboard New Employee workflows.

Additional new features in JIRA Service Desk 3 include:

  • Improved drag and drop attachment support for customers and agents.
  • Simplified notification for customers who need to take action on a ticket.
  • Guided onboarding to speed feature discovery and get teams up and running faster.
  • Role and team specific user Interfaces for more efficient and effective product use.

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DreamFactory REST API Backend for the Intel IoT Gateway

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RESTful web services that simplify the connection of IoT sensors, devices and gateways to backend services

 

DreamFactory Software has announced news of its open source REST API backend now pairing with the Intel IoT Gateway to power a emerging IoT applications.

DreamFactory eliminates a time-consuming hurdle that confronts developers: building APIs to store, process and access IoT data collected by a wide array of device types, platforms and interface methods.

In combination with the Intel IoT Gateway, DreamFactory, a general member of the Intel Internet of Things Solutions Alliance, provides RESTful web services that simplify the connection of IoT sensors, devices and gateways to backend services — and accelerate the development of applications and services that leverage IoT data.

“The combination of DreamFactory and Intel can play a significant role in enabling IoT for commercial, consumer and industrial applications. We share a vision for relieving developers of time spent on building custom interfaces, so they can more rapidly build applications that put IoT data to work for both businesses and end users,” said Bill Appleton, co-founder and CEO of DreamFactory.

RESTful openings

Because Intel and DreamFactory support popular open standards such as RESTful web services, developers can now tackle a wide range of IoT applications that, until now, have been dominated by large companies that market closed, proprietary software.

“Data-driven Internet of Things applications depend on trusting the data source. The Intel IoT Gateway provides the security and manageability required for maintaining a quality data pipeline from the edge,” said Geetha Dabir, vice president and general manager of the Application-Ready Platforms Division with the Intel Internet of Things Group. “Combined with our rich set of connectivity and runtime capabilities, it’s easy to build connected solutions starting with Intel IOT Gateways at the edge, and intelligently directing the right data to DreamFactory’s API services. Together it just makes for a solution that’s readily tailored for unique applications and a faster time to market.”

FramTack, a development firm that specializes in embedded and industrial automation technology, is using DreamFactory, FramTack’s Solution Family software and Intel IoT Gateway hardware to connect IP-based smart devices that monitor industrial equipment to sophisticated cloud-based services and applications.

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Accellion flies free kiteworks for cloud developers

Accellion is a provider of private cloud solutions for secure file sharing and collaboration, yes – a lot like Box and Dropbox.

Custom applications and workflows to securely access and share enterprise content across on-premise and cloud content stores.

Custom applications and workflows to securely access and share enterprise content — risk and danger from virtual kite cartoons is unlikely to cause user injury .

The firm has this month introduced a free cloud-based kiteworks developer package. The intention is to accelerate development of custom applications and workflows based on the kiteworks secure content platform.

What is kiteworks?

The kiteworks platform itself offers secure unified access to enterprise and cloud content stores and secure file sharing and collaboration for laptop, desktop, tablet and smartphone.

As Ben Kepes explained on Forbes last year, “Kiteworks has a three-tier architecture with separate web, application and data layers. The separate layers offer new deployment options such as putting the web layer in the DMZ for external users, while keeping the other layers behind the firewall for enhanced security.”

Accellion’s new kiteworks Cloud Developer package claims to enable developers to begin development immediately on a private cloud instance of kiteworks.Using the kiteworks REST APIs and mobile SDKs, developers can create custom applications and workflows to securely access and share enterprise content across on-premise and cloud content stores.

Features and capabilities include options to develop secure content centric enterprise applications — it offers developers access to enterprise-grade capabilities for developing applications that can securely access, edit and share enterprise content.

NOTE: The mobile SDKs include a secure mobile container with built-in editor, encryption, auditing and logging, and remote wipe capabilities.

It also provides easy integration with existing enterprise IT infrastructure, and secure access to enterprise content across on-premise content systems such as SharePoint, Windows File Shares, Documentum and content stored in the cloud in OneDrive, Box, Dropbox, and GoogleDrive.

Developers can utilise the kiteworks SDKs to easily access content from all of these systems through a single pane of glass, says the company.

“By introducing a free cloud version of the kiteworks developer package, we now provide developers with an instantly available development platform,” said Hormazd Romer, senior director of product marketing at Accellion. “The end result is faster development of custom applications and workflows with the confidence that your content is secure – both key differentiators.”

The new kiteworks Cloud Developer package is currently available. Users can initiate cloud development from the kiteworks developer portal at http://www.info.accellion.com/mlp-trl-developer-package-cloud.html.

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