Are you lacking basic programming skills?

Justin Meiners, a software engineer for the blockchain software development company Pyrofex, took his own experiences to come up with three fundamental skills he finds programmers are too often missing.

“How can a programmer work for 10 or 20 years and never learn to write good code? So often they need close supervision to ensure they go down the right path, and they can never be trusted to take technical leadership on larger tasks. It seems they are just good enough to get by in their job, but they never become effective,” wrote Meiners.

According to Meiners, these skills are not trends or frameworks for getting a job, instead they should be looked at as prerequisites for your path to becoming a successful programmer.

  1. Understand how the language works: It seems obvious, but according to Meiners, developers generally don’t fully understand the programming language they are working with. Developers who don’t take the time to familiarize themselves with the language end up not addressing problems directly and littering code. In addition to understanding the language, developers need to understand what is going on inside the computer and how the code will react in the real world. “A muddy understanding of how things work is typical of beginners, but it is all too often a problem with experienced programmers if they are not curious and do not take time to learn how things work beyond their immediate job’s needs,” Meiners wrote.
  2. Anticipate problems: “To write reliable code, you must be able to anticipate problems, not just patch individual use cases. I am shocked by the number of times I see code that puts the program in a broken state when a very likely error happens,” Meiners wrote. You want to write working software, but you should also be thinking about what will happen if the software fails or the ways in which the software can fail so you can put safeguards in from the beginning. You can fix as many individual bugs as possible, but that won’t fix the overall system.
  3. Organize and design systems: The first two skills alone are not enough to be effective. Programmers need to be able to organize code in a way that makes sense. Programmers have different ways of designing software, but a well-organized system provides concise concepts and clear responsibilities, according to Meiners. “Mathematicians and philosophers spend a lot of time discussing definitions because a good definition allows them to capture and understand some truth about the world. Programmers should think similarly and spend a comparable amount of effort grappling with ideas before writing code,” he wrote.

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Altia-ABM’s investigative software embedded with dtSearch is now deployed across UK police forces and other enforcement and intelligence agencies

Headquartered in the UK, Altia-ABM develops innovative software to facilitate investigations and manage covert operations. U.S.-based dtSearch Corp. provides document filters to parse a wide variety of data formats and text retrieval to instantly search terabytes of data.

Altia-ABM products embedding the dtSearch Engine span UK police forces, local and central government agencies. Altia-ABM is now looking to further expand its software footprint globally, including to police and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies across the U.S.

Altia-ABM offers a wide portfolio of products. Insight is an end-to-end investigation management system. Investigation Toolkit assists with information gathering for financial investigations. Financial Analysis Toolbar works with the Investigation Toolkit, offering a range of additional financial analysis applications. Digital Manager enables investigators to digitise any kind of information or evidence up to 80% faster than through manual processes. Caselight is a cloud-based incident management system. And Pegasus lets law enforcement manage all aspects of covert operations in a secure, discreet and efficient way.

“We’ve been told by more than one government agency that they would not have been able to complete certain complex investigations without our software,” says Rob Sinclair, COO with Altia-ABM. For example, according to one senior financial crimes investigator with the UK’s tax collection agency: “We would struggle to prosecute some serious offenders if we didn’t have access to Altia-ABM. We use it constantly to rationalise and sort complex financial information into a format that makes sense to investigators and we also generate new lines of enquiry from the use of Altia-ABM software.”

For data searching, Altia-ABM employs the dtSearch Engine. “A key benefit of our investigation support products is the embedded dtSearch Engine’s ability to instantly search terabytes of investigative and other data,” says Rodney Orr, Altia-ABM’s CTO. dtSearch’s core developer component, the dtSearch Engine works across multiple platforms and operating systems to instantly search terabytes of data with over 25 full-text and metadata-driven search options. dtSearch’s proprietary document filters support a wide range of online and offline data covering numerous document types, emails plus nested attachments, website data and other databases.

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Developers get new top-level to build communities and showcase their work

Google is dedicating a new top-level domain (TLD) to the people who helped build the web: developers. With .dev, developers will be able to build communities, learn new technology and showcase their projects.

“Developers, designers, writers and architects: you built the web. You make it possible for the billions of people online today to do what they do. Have you ever tried to register your preferred domain name, only to find out it’s not available?” Ben Fried, CIO at Google, wrote in a post.

According to Google, the .dev TLD is secured by HTTPS by default, protecting site visitors from malware, being tracked by internet service providers, and being spied on when using open WiFi networks. “With every .dev website that’s launched, you help move the web to an HTTPS-everywhere future,”Fried wrote.

Developers can begin registering domains now through February 28 for an additional fee as part of Google’s Early Access Program. The fee will decrease daily, and on February 28, domains will be available for an annual fee through many different domain registrars.

Examples of some companies using the .dev TLD already include accessibility.dev for digital accessibility solutions, slack.dev for learning about Slack’s resources and libraries, Women Who Code’s women.dev, and workers.dev for building and deploying serverless applications.

Additionally, Google is using .dev for its own projects like web.dev for helping web developers and opensource.dev for how Google uses and supports the open-source community.

“.dev is a secure domain for developers and technology. From tools to platforms, programming languages to blogs, .dev is a home for all the interesting things that you build,” Google wrote in its website.

More information is available here.

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Express Logic’s GUIX graphical user interface run-time solutions achieves SIL 4, ASIL D, and Medical Class C safety certifications

Express Logic, provider of the comprehensive X-Ware IoT Platform powered by the popular ThreadX real-time operating system (RTOS), today announced that its deeply embedded GUIX graphical user interface run-time solution has achieved the highest level of safety certification for the rigorous International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61508 SIL 4, IEC 62304 Class C, ISO 26262 ASIL D, and EN 50128 SW-SIL 4 safety standards. This new certification performed by SGS-TÜV Saar is unique to the embedded industry, making GUIX the only choice for safety-oriented applications that have a user interface and require certification.

SGS-TÜV Saar, formed through a joint venture of Germany’s SGS Group and TÜV Saarland, is the leading accredited, independent company for testing, auditing, verifying, and certifying embedded software for safety-related systems worldwide. The industrial safety standard IEC 61508 and all standards that are derived from it, including IEC 62304, ISO 26262, and EN 50128, are used to ensure the functional safety of electrical, electronic, and programmable electronic safety-related medical devices, process control systems, industrial machinery, and railway control systems.

SGS-TÜV Saar has evaluated the relevant parts of Express Logic’s modified waterfall development process for GUIX, with phase overlap and phase blending, to ensure that best development practices have been followed at these phases:

  • Requirements management
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Verification
  • Maintenance

To make this assessment, SGS-TUV Saar based its evaluation on a rigorous test suite for GUIX. The GUIX test suite is composed of a large number of application simulations and effectively performs functional “black box” testing over the entire GUIX software product. The testing exercises 100 percent of the generic GUIX C code — including 100 percent branch decision coverage. Express Logic’s GUIX Safety Manual documents these quality assurance measures, which enable developers to use GUIX in safety-critical software development that is required to meet even the most exacting Safety Integrity Level (SIL 4) and Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL D), according to IEC 61508, IEC 62304, ISO 26262, and EN 50128, without further qualification.

“We are fully committed to providing the best quality products – saving our customers time and money and helping them reduce risk,” said William E. Lamie, CEO of Express Logic. “The new certification of GUIX further enables customers with user interface needs to leverage the benefit of our safety- and security-certified best-of-class offerings.”

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SD Times news digest: Parasoft dotTEST 10.4.1, Baffle’s advanced data protection service, and updates to GitHub’s bug bounty program

Parasoft has announced the latest release of its .NET development testing solution. Parasoft dotTEST 10.4.1 expands support for security coding standards and adds a new Security Compliance Pack for compliance reporting for OWASP, CWE, and UL-2900.

“Many of today’s enterprise applications rely on the .NET platform,” said Mark Lambert, VP of Products at Parasoft. “This release is focused on putting comprehensive security analysis into the hands of development teams building those applications — and doing so in a seamless way that integrates effortlessly into their existing quality process.”

Baffle launches data protection solution for AWS Lambda
Data protection company Baffle has announced a new data protection solution for AWS Lambda. Baffle Advanced Data Protection Service provides enterprises with a data security model for their infrastructure and supports the move to serverless computing services like AWS Lambda.

“Serverless and ephemeral computing is taking the enterprise by storm,” said Ameesh Divatia, CEO and co-founder of Baffle. “Developers simply want to write code and not have to worry about back-end server provisioning and security requirements. Baffle’s data-centric security gives customers the confidence to run code anywhere without dedicated hardware and utilize the latest Amazon AWS innovations to scale their businesses. Legacy encryption and hardware-based approaches cannot provide this peace of mind to enterprises, and today’s announcement is Baffle’s latest milestone in advancing the security of this new infrastructure.”

GitHub celebrates the fifth year of its bug bounty program with new changes
GitHub is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its bug bounty program. Last year, it awarded $165,000 to researchers in its public bug bounty program, and $250,000 overall.

The company has announced that it will be introducing full legal protection for researchers, through legal safe harbor terms, more ways to earn rewards, and increased reward amounts this year. The legal safe harbor terms covers three sources of legal risk: research activity will remain protected and authorized, GitHub will try to protect researchers from third parties, and site terms won’t be violated if it is specifically for bounty research. More information is available here.

TIBCO Cloud Mashery announced
TIBCO has announced the launch of TIBCO Cloud Mashery, which is an API management solution for platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments. According to the company, this solution provides key API management features for DevOps, containerization, and microservices development.

“Enterprises now require their API platforms to be deployable anywhere, and able to manage APIs from everywhere through a single pane of glass. Many industries, including financial services, healthcare, travel, and more, require enterprise-managed, cloud-native API management,” said Rajeev Kozhikkattuthodi, vice president, product management and strategy of TIBCO. “TIBCO’s approach provides all the benefits of the cloud with additional customer control, plus seamless alignment with cloud-native development tooling and practices. We are proud to continue leading the market in API management through innovation, this time by providing first-of-a-kind capabilities in cloud-native API management.”

 

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InterVision expands digital transformation practice

InterVision today announced new services, personnel and tools to enhance its Digital Transformation (DX) practice. Backed by an expert team of innovation consultants, technical architects, and business analysts, InterVision’s DX practice provides business leaders with a holistic roadmap incorporating business vision, IT infrastructure, change management and ongoing architectural guidance to help enable and sustain a competitive advantage.

“Digital Transformation isn’t a one and done process; it’s an evolution, which is why our clients value having expert resources to help with their journey,” said Victor Tingler, Vice President of Digital Transformation, InterVision. “To meet our clients’ evolving business needs, our DX practice must evolve as well. InterVision has made significant investments in resources and methodologies to leverage our acquisitions over the past year. Early results are showing the DX practice accelerating the transformation journey and it’s translating quickly into clients improving their business outcomes.”

According to Forrester, organizations believe that by 2020 nearly half their revenue will be impacted by digital in some way. According to MIT, “In a rapidly expanding digital marketplace, legacy companies without a clear digital transformation strategy are being left behind.”

Since the launch of the digital transformation practice last February, InterVision’s team of experts has conducted workshops and engagements with global organizations in industries including manufacturing, healthcare, government, and financial management. Today’s enhancements cover four key areas:

  • Cloud Services: Cloud is a fundamental component of digital transformation. With the acquisition of Infiniti Consulting Group last year, InterVision engages at an operational level with its clients to design and deliver cloud migrations and datacenter transformations, ensuring clients have the best resources for an impactful and results-driven DX strategy.
  • DRaaS: Disaster Recovery is a critical component of modern digital environments. With the acquisition of Bluelock, InterVision can now offer turnkey Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solutions from a recognized industry leader, thereby taking this operational burden off IT staff.
  • Expert Personnel: InterVision added two industry veterans to the roster, bringing decades of experience with complex transformation projects. David Gaffney, Digital Solutions Director, is an architect who builds large scale cloud and datacenter solutions. Mark Dickinson, Engagement Manager, has worked directly with global corporate clients on digital transformation initiatives. With decades of experience with complex transformation projects, these veterans expertly guide new clients on their DX journeys.
  • DX Resources: InterVision published digital resources to help clients understand the challenges organizations face in today’s digital market and the benefits gained from transformation initiatives including “The Technology Leader’s Guide to Digital Transformation” and a white paper, “5 Business Drivers of Digital Transformation.”

“Our growing DX practice is the centerpiece of our broad IT portfolio and demonstrates our innovation as the industry’s leading strategic services provider,” said Bob Hollander, Senior Vice President, Services & Business Development. “It’s gratifying to see the impact DX is making on our clients. I’m excited about the progress we’ve made and the opportunities ahead.”

InterVision recently released a 2019 Predictions eBook, which aims to help IT leaders navigate market changes throughout the new year. For more information on InterVision and its services, please visit www.intervision.com.

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Infragistics announces Ignite UI for React

 Infragistics, a worldwide leader in providing tools and solutions to accelerate design, development and collaboration, announced the launch of Infragistics Ignite UI for React today. With this release, Infragistics continues to deliver on their roadmap and bring best-of-breed UX & UI tools to the market focusing on React developers building modern experiences for Web and Mobile apps. Trusted by more than two million developers worldwide, Ignite UI for React is a modern React library for developers that simplifies app building for line of business and mobile scenarios that require rendering interactive data grids, data charts, financial charts or Microsoft Excel reporting in React with zero dependencies on any 3rd party frameworks.

This release innovates in 3 areas – Fastest React Data Grid, High Performance Financial & Business Charts and a Complete Microsoft Excel Solution.

  • Fastest React Data Grid: Ignite UI for React, including the world’s fastest native React Data Grid, delivers on the most demanding needs for any application. Built for high-volume, real-time scenarios, our React data grid designed to be the back-bone of your mission critical apps.
  • High Performance Financial & Business Charts: Ignite UI for React includes a comprehensive native React charting library. With a full set of business charts and financial charting capabilities. Business charts include pie charts, gauges as well as line, bar, column and 60+ other chart types. You can build any type of line of business, dashboard or analytics app. Financial charting includes built in trend lines, financial indicators, volume indicators all with a built-in toolbar for date range filtering and chart configuration.
  • The Complete Microsoft Excel Solution: Ignite UI for React includes the most complete Microsoft Excel solution on the market. With zero dependencies, you can deliver a complete Excel experience in a native React application, including support for more than 300 formulas, import & export data from any source, rich reporting with charts, and more.

“Supporting the massive React / ReactJS developer community with feature rich UI controls makes this an exciting release. We are working hard to enable modern software teams to deliver beautiful, high-performance experiences on modern platforms like React and we are so pleased to get this release into our customers’ hands.” said Jason Beres, Senior Vice President of Developer Tools and Infragistics.

For a full list of what’s included in Ignite UI for React, visit our What’s New page. Developers can download a free 30-day trial and get started with hands-on tutorials, how-to guides, and sample code along with UI controls and more.

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How hardware design needs to change to match up with AI needs

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve and grow, so must the hardware we use to power AI. During his keynote address at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference this week, Facebook vice president and chief AI scientist Yann LeCun discussed the next step for reaching AI’s potential: shifting away from GPUs and moving more towards dedicated chips. 

LeCun said such chips might facilitate high compute power with low power consumption, emulating the action of human neurons, in collaboration with software “dynamic networks,” neural networks that can restructure themselves automatically to fit a variety of situations.

“There are several types of hardware for deep learning that the industry needs at the moment,” LeCun said in his address. “There is one type of hardware which is very high-powered and doesn’t need to be particularly low-cost, and that is for training very large machine learning systems. That is required for a sort-of systematic exploration of what we can do with deep learning and AI. A second need is for training models that have already been designed — so let’s say you’re Facebook and you want to train a new translation system because you have more data, or you want to train an image recognition system because there are more objects that need to be recognized. You need a system that uses, for example, low precision arithmetics and consumes less power, is less expensive. So the need for fast communication between nodes in a system like this is not as stringent as for research and development, where you want a quick response.”

Another need, LeCun explained, is the hardware required to run a neural net at a data center, commonly used to order search results, curate newsfeeds on Facebook, requiring low-power but high-speed.

And finally, LeCun said that embedded devices — IoT connected cars, lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners, cameras, phones and AR goggles, will require “neural net accelerators” at even lower power consumption and cost.

“This might require that we reinvent the way we do arithmetics in circuits,” Lecun said. “There is sort of a standard way of computing products and sums in computers which make the results accurate. But for running neural nets, you don’t actually need that accurate of a computation. So people are designing new ways of representing numbers that would be more efficient.”

While LeCun explained that hardware leads the design of software, the development of dynamic neural networks means that hardware designers need to begin taking into account the specifics of such a fluid model and design new, dedicated systems accordingly.

“In the brain, for example, your neurons, at any one time, are only about 2 percent active,” LeCun said. “We call this ‘sparse activations.’ And what we would like is to have neural networks that are also very sparse, and what we need is hardware systems to be able to take advantage of this sparsity because it might be good for power consumption.”

While LeCun says that much of the hardware he describes is theoretical, he predicts a trend towards developing it over the next 5-10 years.

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Bootstrap 5 expected to completely replace jQuery

The Bootstrap team is nearing its mission to completely remove jQuery from its framework in favor of JavaScript. Bootstrap is an open-source framework for responsive mobile solutions on the web.

The team recently released version 4.3 of the framework with its plans to remove jQuery. “The cat is out of the bag—we’re dropping our largest client-side dependency for regular JavaScript,” the team wrote in a blog post. “We’ve been working on this for a long time and have a pull request in progress and near completion.”

According to the pull request, this has been in the works since 2017. Once Bootstrap is released without jQuery, developers will still be able to use the framework plugin if jQuery is detected, the team explained.

The move to remove jQuery has spurred a lot of controversy in the development community.

“This entire effort seems of dubious benefit to me,” one developer commented. “Whereas before it was ‘jQuery for EVERYTHING,’ now it seems to be the reverse: ‘remove jQuery from EVERYTHING,’ which is equally silly. jQuery does a lot of useful stuff, and all things considered remains a pretty neat project. It shouldn’t be used for everything, but spending loads of time in removing it just because it’s no longer the [cool framework] of the week just seems like a waste of effort.”

While others feel like jQuery was good for a lot of useful stuff, now it is unmaintained and has little interest or support.

“It is ‘slow’ compared to other frameworks that now use the Shadow Dom, and can be replaced with features that are native to JS — what’s there not to like about that?” another developer commented. “One less dependency, network request and more efficient code is always worth the effort.”

Other upcoming projects include improving the Bootstrap branches for development and moving to Hugo.

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SD Times news digest: GitHub’s draft pull requests, ARCore 1.7, and Rubrik Build

GitHub is improving collaboration between developers with the introduction of draft pull requests. According to GitHub, draft pull requests enable developers to create clear tags when working on a work in progress.

Draft pull requests are styled differently than normal ones, making it clear that a project is in a draft state. In addition, merging is blocked in draft pull requests.

“At GitHub, we’ve always felt that you should be able to open a pull request to start a conversation with your collaborators as soon as your brilliant idea or code is ready to take shape. Even if you end up closing the pull request for something else, or refactoring the code entirely, a good pull request is as much about collaboration as it is about code,” the GitHub wrote in a post.

Google adds new tools for making creative elements in ARCore
Google has introduced new creative elements in ARCore 1.7. It is introducing new ways to make AR selfies and the ability to animate characters in Sceneform AR apps.

In addition, it introduced new UI components to solve common AR UX challenges and added Shared Camera access to improve user experiences.

“For AR experiences to capture users’ imaginations they need to be both immersive and easily accessible. With tools for adding AR selfies, animation, and UI enhancements, ARCore version 1.7 can help with both these objectives,” Evan Hardesty Parker, software engineer at Google, wrote in a post.

Rubrik creates new open source community
Rubrik has announced the creation of a new open source community. Rubrik Build is a community where “contributors can create new applications, automation tooling and integrations, as well as consume or improve existing projects that simplify monitoring, testing, development, and automated workflows.”

Rubrik’s goal here is to create a community centered around its APIs. The program was designed with Rubrik’s customers in mind.

“Many of us in the tech community do not come from a traditional software engineering background. This can make contributing to open source seem daunting. I am a big believer in “small wins” to break large goals into manageable chunks. The excitement around Build has been palpable – everyone wanted their fingerprints on the project, but did not always know how to get started. Over the last few months, I have watched teammates, from Rubrik’s first employee to our content marketing manager, learn and master using Git and GitHub to contribute ideas, edits, and updates to project documentation,” Rebecca Fitzhugh of Rubrik wrote in a post.

Facebook launches updated version of ELF OpenGo
Facebook is launching new features and research findings about ELF OpenGo, the game-playing bot that has faced off against Go champions.

It has created a new model that was completely re-trained from the ground up. It also announced that is is releasing a Windows executable version of the bot to make it easier for Go players to use it as a training aid, Facebook explained.

“ELF OpenGo enables other AI researchers to get firsthand experience on how these systems work. This can help the community improve its theoretical understanding of the training procedure, discover new weaknesses in these algorithms, and eventually achieve better performance with less computational power,” the ELF OpenGo team wrote in a post.

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