GNU Guile 3.0.0 now available

GNU Guile, a programming and extension language for the GNU Project, is now available as version 3.0.0. According to the team, this is the first release in the stable 3.0 release series. 

The major new feature in this version is just-in-time (JIT) native code generation, which helps speed up performance. In this release, microbenchmark performance is twice as good as the 2.2 release, and some individual benchmarks have seen improvements up to 32 times as fast, according to the project maintainers.

Other new features include support for interleaved definitions and expressions in lexical contexts, native support for structured exceptions, and improved support for R6RS and R7RS Scheme standards. 

In addition, the team noted that all releases in the 3.0.x series will be parallel-installable with other stable release series, such as 2.2. 

More information is available here

 

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SD Times news digest: GitLab.com transitions CDN to Cloudflare, LaunchDarkly raises $53 million, and Datadog launches partner network

GitLab.com has announced that it is changing its content delivery network to Cloudflare. Currently, they are using Fastly to serve content, but switching to Cloudflare will allow them to have a single vendor for CDN, WAF, and DDoS protection.  

According to GitLab, this will only affect some GitLab.com users, not GitLab self-managed users. Affected users will need to reconfigure their firewalls to new IP ranges. Custom runner images or private runners that cache DNS or SSL certificates may also be affected.

GitLab will start exploring other Cloudflare features like WAF once they have confirmed that traffic is flowing properly. 

LaunchDarkly raises $54 million in funding
The feature management platform just completed a $54 million funding round, bringing its total funding to $130 million. This round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Threshold Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Uncork Capital, Vertex Ventures, and Bloomberg Beta also participated.

The company will use this funding to address the increased demand for their platform. According to the company, last year, they served over 1 trillion feature flags per day for 1,000 of their customers. This was an increase of 500% from 2018. LaunchDarkly believes the increased demand was due to increasing pressure for companies to innovate faster and “deliver exceptional user experiences.”

Datadog announces new partner network
The monitoring and analytics provider will be using this new program to expand its existing support for channel partners. Members of the Partner Network will receive benefits such as go-to-market collateral, self-service training for implementation, opportunity registration in the Partner Portal, and a Partner Locator Listing. 

Managed service providers, system integrators, resellers, referral partners, and technology partners building on the Datadog platform are eligible to join. 

“Partners have been an important part of Datadog’s success, bringing our cloud monitoring platform to customers through a wide variety of channels,” said Deniz Tortop, VP of worldwide channels & alliances at Datadog. “The Datadog Partner Network will strengthen these commitments and increase our support for alliances, benefitting our partners, our customers, and the industry.”

Synopsys joins new Autonomous Vehicle Computing Consortium
The Consortium brings automotive, automotive supply, semiconductor, and computing experts together to accelerate the delivery of safer, more affordable vehicles. Synopsys will actively contribute to the development of recommendations for architectures and computing platforms that can be used to address the challenges of deploying self-driving vehicles at scale. 

“The Autonomous Vehicle Computing Consortium is focused on tackling the complexities and obstacles associated with the deployment of autonomous vehicles,” said Pereira, Armando, president of the Autonomous Vehicle Computing Consortium. “We look forward to Synopsys’ active contribution to the consortium, helping to define a reference architecture and platform that address the design requirements for autonomous driving and move today’s prototype systems to reality.”

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SD Times Open Source Project of the Week: Khronos Vulkan

Khronos Vulkan, which just released its 1.2 update, is a low-overhead, cross-platform 3D graphics and computing API. 

Vulkan targets high-performance realtime 3D graphics applications such as video games and interactive media across all platforms.

The new version includes improved performance, enhanced visual quality and easier development.

Last year, Google’s Stadia launched with a host of AAA titles that use HLSL on Vulkan: Destiny 2, Red Dead Redemption II, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and the Tomb Raider games

“It’s quite amazing to see some of the biggest AAA titles, ones that were previously only console or DirectX, using Vulkan to render their content. It speaks volumes to how much progress the Vulkan ecosystem has made,” Vulkan wrote in a post.

Notable features include support for SPIR-V 1.4/1.5, more flexible buffer layouts, Vulkan memory model, and subgroup operation support for narrower data types.

According to Vulkan, the technology advances have been achieved because of the achievement of HLSL in Vulkan through integrating aSPIR-V backend into DXC, Microsoft’s open source HLSL compiler.

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New Microsoft Edge built on Chromium is out of preview

Microsoft took its new Edge browser out of preview and made it available for download. The company originally unveiled the new browser at Ignite last year. 

The new browser is supported on all supported versions of Windows and macOS in more than 90 languages. It’s also available on iOS and Android.

“A little over a year ago, we announced our intention to rebuild Microsoft Edge on the Chromium open source project with the goals of delivering better compatibility for everyone, less fragmentation for web developers, and a partnership with the Chromium community to improve the Chromium engine itself,” Microsoft wrote in a blog post.

It comes with new features such as tracking prevention, which is on by default, and provides three levels of control while browsing.

The revamped browser also lets users customize their online experience through new layouts or designs and includes new capabilities such as AAD support, Internet Explorer mode, 4K streaming, Dolby audio, inking in PDF, Microsoft Search in Bing integration, support for Chrome-based extensions, and more.

“People have downloaded the preview channels of the new Microsoft Edge millions of times to their devices, and we’ve seen many organizations begin to pilot these channels for their users. Enterprises and schools who have mission critical legacy applications and websites – but also want modern web and security – have turned to our new Internet Explorer mode as a “best of both worlds” solution,” Microsoft wrote.

The new browser is also more integrated with Microsoft 365, allowing customers to find files, people and office floor plans by just typing in the Microsoft Edge address bar.

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Tricentis acquires behavior-driven development company SpecFlow

Continuous testing company Tricentis has announced that it is acquiring SpecFlow, a behavior-driven development solution for .NET developers. 

SpecFlow uses an approach to specification-by-example that has helped agile teams improve collaboration with stakeholders to deliver high quality software, Tricentis explained. It allows developers to define, manage, and execute human-readable tests. 

RELATED CONTENT: Overcoming the challenges of Behavior-Driven Development 

“BDD is becoming broadly relevant in enterprises for their digital transformation,” explained Tricentis Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Wolfgang Platz. “As business requirements change at DevOps speed, teams need a way to document how their applications should behave across highly integrated systems. Without built-in test automation to this shared understanding, software delivery leads to production bugs and poor user experiences. SpecFlow’s ability to create this shared business understanding, connected with automated tests, makes it the most trusted BDD platform for .NET development.”

According to Tricentis, SpecFlow will continue to remain an open-source offering. SpecFlow+, which is their commercial offering, and the Azure DevOps extension SpecMap will now be offered for free as well. 

This announcement comes on the heels of another big acquisition by Tricentis: TestProject. TestProject is a cloud-based test automation platform that leverages Selenium and Appium. 

“Working with enterprises, we’ve witnessed a distinct need to scale open source testing frameworks across the enterprise. TestProject, with its cloud-based, community-driven technology, delivers a scalable and collaborative solution,” said Sandeep Johri, CEO of Tricentis, at the time of the acquisition. 

 

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SD Times news digest: Quantum Machines joins IBM Q network, Next.js 9.2, Splice Machine 3.0 now available

Quantum Machines announced that it would join IBM’s Q Network, which will result in a compiler between IBM’s quantum computing programming languages and those of QM. 

The IBM Q Network brings together startups, universities, research labs,

Quantum Machines announced that it would join IBM’s Q Network, which will result in a compiler between IBM’s quantum computing programming languages and those of QM. 

 

The IBM Q Network brings together startups, universities, research labs and Fortune 500 companies to explore the viability of quantum solutions to real-world problems. 

 

Meanwhile, QM’s full-stack Quantum Orchestration Platform optimizes the use of all quantum processors, right out-of-the-box from an intuitive and convenient interface.

 

Next.js 9.2 is now available

Next.js 9.2 is now available with built-in CSS support for global stylesheets and built-in module support for component-level styles.

 

The Google Chrome team heavily optimized Next.js’ code-splitting strategy which resulted in smaller client-side bundles. 

 

In addition, Next.js’ Dynamic Routes now support catch-all routes, supporting a variety of new use-cases such as for CMS-powered websites.

 

Splice Machine 3.0 now available

Splice Machine announced the next major release of its platform, Splice Machine 3.0, available in early Q1 2020. 

 

It offers exhaustive SQL support, high performance for all workloads, native machine learning AI capabilities, and unified deployment on-premise and on the cloud. 

 

“The Splice Machine platform offers a lower risk, lower-cost approach to moving off of platforms like Oracle and IBM DB2 because enterprises can get scale-out, data type flexibility, and in-database machine learning and AI – without abandoning SQL,” said Monte Zweben, the co-founder and CEO of Splice Machine.

and Fortune 500 companies to explore the viability of quantum solutions to real-world problems. 

Meanwhile, QM’s full-stack Quantum Orchestration Platform optimizes the use of all quantum processors, right out-of-the-box from an intuitive and convenient interface.

Next.js 9.2 is now available

Next.js 9.2 is now available with built-in CSS support for global stylesheets and built-in module support for component-level styles.

The Google Chrome team heavily optimized Next.js’ code-splitting strategy which resulted in smaller client-side bundles. 

In addition, Next.js’ Dynamic Routes now support catch-all routes, supporting a variety of new use-cases such as for CMS-powered websites.

Splice Machine 3.0 now available

Splice Machine announced the next major release of its platform, Splice Machine 3.0, available in early Q1 2020. 

It offers exhaustive SQL support, high performance for all workloads, native machine learning AI capabilities, and unified deployment on-premise and on the cloud. 

“The Splice Machine platform offers a lower risk, lower-cost approach to moving off of platforms like Oracle and IBM DB2 because enterprises can get scale-out, data type flexibility, and in-database machine learning and AI – without abandoning SQL,” said Monte Zweben, the co-founder and CEO of Splice Machine.

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CNCF introduces a Kubernetes bug bounty program

The Cloud Native Computing Platform is funding a new Kubernetes bug bounty program to reward the researchers who find security vulnerabilities in Kubernetes’ codebase as well as build and release processes. 

The program was launched by the Kubernetes Product Security Committee together with bug bounty program vendor HackerOne. 

“As a CNCF graduated project, it is imperative that Kubernetes adhere to the highest levels of security best practices,” CNCF wrote in a post.

A CNCF security audit conducted for four months last year gathered a number of Kubernetes-wide findings, including:

  1. Policies may not be applied, leading to a false sense of security.
  2. Insecure TLS is in use by default.
  3. Credentials are exposed in environment variables and command-line arguments. 
  4. Names of secrets are leaked in logs.
  5. No certificate revocation.
  6. seccomp is not enabled by default.

To ameliorate these issues, CNCF recommended that Kubernetes developers:

  1. Avoid hardcoding paths to dependencies
  2. File permissions checking
  3. Monitoring processes on Linux
  4. Moving processes to a cgroup
  5. Future group considerations for Kubernetes
  6. Future process handling considerations for Kubernetes

Last year, CNCF also performed and open sourced third-party security audits for its projects to improve the overall security of its ecosystem. Among the first projects tested were CoreDNS, Envoy, and Prometheus, and the audits revealed how to address the identified vulnerabilities.

“The main takeaway from these initial audits is that a public security audit is a great way to test the quality of an open source project along with its vulnerability management process and more importantly, how resilient the open source project’s security practices are,” CNCF wrote. “With CNCF graduated projects especially, which are used widely in production by some of the largest companies in the world, it is imperative that they adhere to the highest levels of security best practices.”

Details of the bug bounty program is available here.

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Considering CX is the key to unlocking value from Agile

The benefits of Agile development have long been touted: faster development cycles, increased innovation, and improved productivity. But Agile isn’t just about developing faster. Taking into account customer experience (CX) is a key part of it, too.

As Agile has gained traction across the industry, software has morphed into a living thing that grows and changes, quickly. According to Appian’s director of software development Carlos Aguayo, a rapid release cycle is one in which development teams can “deliver incremental or complete value to your customers in terms of days, week, or a couple of months.” In longer release cycles — which had for so long been the norm — a customer might have to wait a year or more for a new release.

But faster releases are only a piece of the Agile puzzle. It’s not enough to shorten release cycles — you must be utilizing these shorter release cycles to deliver value to your users. Only then can you unlock the full value of Agile.

RELATED CONTENT:
Mapping customer journeys: The path to better UX
Differentiating CX from traditional software user experience
How to successfully apply DevOps in your CX development

“Every professional software developer or engineer understands that software are living, breathing systems that have to continually evolve, grow and adapt to changes in user demands and requirements as well as other external factors that could impact how the software is designed and built,” said Bryan Osima, software engineer and CEO of Uvietech Software Solutions. “The expectation is never — or should never be — that you build it once and then you’re done.”

Software isn’t built for the sake of being built. It’s built to be consumed, Osima explained. “If the vast majority of your users are clamoring for specific functionality and it makes sense to build it, then you should,” he said.

Progress’ principal developer advocate TJ VanToll explained that developers are obsessed with trends. “Our collective obsession is the reason the Gartner Magic Quadrants and Forrester Waves of the world exist—we want to use technologies on the rise, and abandon technologies that have fallen out of favor. And for good reason. Popular technologies have more learning resources, more support options, and look more attractive on a resume.”

But getting too swept up in trends can create a gap between what developers want to build and what users actually want from an application.

In the 2019 CX Industry Report, UserTesting claimed that customers are the most important trend to watch — not VR, AI, IoT, or whatever other technology buzzword that companies cling to. “No matter what some market research may indicate, the only thing that really matters is what matters to your customers. If you already include human insight as part of your product development lifecycle, then you’re in a great position. You can quickly leverage that insight to make informed decisions about what to build and when—and stay on top of trends in consumer behavior,” the CX report states.

According to Aguayo, a benefit of sticking to a rapid release schedule is that developers can get their code into production faster, rather than having to wait months or years to see the impact on the customer. This means that they will be able to see how users respond to an application’s new features and take that into consideration for the next release cycle.

“If you’re spending a lot of time working on something before a customer really gets to look at it and give feedback, it’s easy to get bogged down in details,” said Alex Nied, senior software engineer at SPR. Development teams might spend an excessive amount of time on a new feature that users might not even want.

By implementing a development loop in which user feedback influences development, teams can cut down on unnecessary development time and focus on the features that users actually want.

Osima added that it’s not possible to meet the needs of every single user with a single application. “The reality is not every user will be pleased and satisfied. The goal should be to ensure that the majority of users have a great experience and level of satisfaction with the software,” he said.

He recommends prioritizing what the most important requirements are for the majority of the user base, and then making sure that the update you’re shipping caters to that. On subsequent releases, you can begin introducing other features or changes.

Best practices for rapid release 
According to Osima, there are some best practices that teams should follow when building rapid release software. These include planning for extensibility, adopting agile and producing rapid iterations, and embracing modularity with code.

Planning for extensibility involves building software that you can either add things to or remove things from without destroying the entire foundation, said Osima.

Adapting agile and rapid iterations allows developers to get new versions to users as soon as possible, enabling teams to see what features are working and what isn’t, and then refactoring appropriately, he said.

Finally, modularity involves breaking features into units that can exist independently. This allows developers to develop, test, and iterate upon certain features without having to work on the entire system at once, Osima explained.

“Developers working in rapid release cycles need to strike this difficult balance between spending time architecting a system that will adapt to changing requirements (focusing on the software’s benefit) and minimizing the time to deliver valuable features to their customers (focusing on the user benefit),” said Asa Schachar, lead developer advocate at Optimizely.

Microservices have become appealing to those teams working on rapid release schedules, for those reasons. “Seasoned developers realize that the best solution right now may not be the best solution in a year or even months from now. Engineers spend a lot of time thinking about how to design a system that scales with new technology or methodologies,” said Schachar. “There are hundreds of different ways to build something, but which way will allow you to best adapt to changing requirements or new technologies in the near future? This is partly why design patterns like microservices have become so appealing because when it comes time to adapt an aspect of the system, it’s only ‘micro’ in size.”

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SD Times news digest: GitHub for Android beta now available, Windows Terminal preview 0.8, and WhiteSource announces support for GitLab Ultimate

The beta for GitHub on Android is out now, allowing developers to review code, merge changes and collaborate with others anywhere. GitHub for mobile can be run on any phone running Android 5.1 or later. 

“We’re making these tasks easier to complete while you’re on the go, with a fully-native experience. With GitHub for mobile, you have the flexibility to move work forward and stay in touch with your team, wherever you are,” GitHub wrote in a blog

This beta was already launched for iOS at GitHub Universe 2019. The full details are available here.

Windows Terminal preview 0.8
The release of the Windows Terminal preview v0.8 has arrived with new search functionality and CRT retro effects added to the Terminal as well as enhanced panes and tabs key bindings.

Users can now modify profiles.json to have their own default profile settings. The terminal also allows users to modify the behavior of tab widths. 

The full list of bug fixes is available here.

WhiteSource announces support for GitLab Ultimate
WhiteSource announced support for GitLab Ultimate, which adds to WhiteSource’s existing GitLab integration, giving developers alerts on open source components with known vulnerabilities earlier in the software development life cycle. 

“With this new integration, developers can more easily find and fix vulnerable code without leaving the GitLab CI/CD pipeline,” said David Habusha the VP of product management at WhiteSource. “While security professionals can leverage their WhiteSource investment to advance their shift left and further automate risk policies within the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC).” 

GitLab Ultimate includes the GitLab Security Dashboard, which gives security pros the ability to gain visibility into unresolved vulnerabilities earlier with additional insight from WhiteSource. 

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Google Cloud is acquiring no-code platform AppSheet

Google Cloud is looking to make it easier for business users to create and improve applications without needing coding knowledge. To do so, the company is acquiring no-code platform AppSheet. 

“The demand for faster processes and automation in today’s competitive landscape requires more business applications to be built with greater speed and efficiency. However, many companies lack the resources to address these challenges. This acquisition helps enterprises empower millions of citizen developers to more easily create and extend applications without the need for professional coding skills,” Amit Zavery, vice president of Business Application Platform at Google Cloud, wrote in a post

Google believes that AppSheet will complement its strategy to “reimagine the application development space.” Customers will now be able to create richer applications using Google technologies such as Sheets, Forms, Android, Maps, and Analytics. 

RELATED CONTENT: 
How no-code disrupts traditional mobile code-based app development
No-code mobile app development: Do more with less
Low-code/no-code development heats up

AppSheet customers can also continue integrating with cloud-hosted data sources such as Salesforce, Dropbox, AWS DynamoDB, and MySQL. According to AppSheet, their services will continue to exist, but will grow once integrated with Google Cloud. Also, their team will join Google Cloud, the platform will stay cross-platform, and their core mission of democratizing app development remains the same, AppSheet’s CEO Praveen Seshadri explained. 

“As we engaged with various leaders in the Google Cloud team, we found to our delight that Google Cloud shares our commitment to a no-code platform,” Seshadri said. “Like anyone who works in the technology industry, we admire the amazing, innovative technology that Google has created over the last two decades. There is great potential to leverage and integrate more deeply with many of Google’s amazing assets like G Suite and Android to improve the functionality, scale, and performance of AppSheet. Moving forward, we expect to combine AppSheet’s core strengths with Google Cloud’s deep industry expertise in verticals like financial services, retail, and media & entertainment.”

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