Software Development

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How I Changed My WordPress Hosting & Why – Part 1

So Why Change?

I’ve been using my blog all wrong. Now please don’t misunderstand me, the intention at the very start of this website was two fold. Learn more about WordPress and give myself more of a presence on the net. But I will explain the bit that I got wrong and how I should change it later. For now I will tell you the story of what I’ve been doing with my site recently by starting at the beginning.

Start of My Adventures With WordPress

The beginning of this site started off fairly easily using the free and simple wordpress.com hosting service. Which very soon proved too good to be true as its limitation was apparent almost as soon as I started. The main benefits of WordPress can be seen when you get past all the nice things, like how easy it is to post articles and change how it looks. Then you want to change how it runs and see what else WP can do. This is achieved with the use of plugins. Something the free service at wordpress.com doesn’t provide by design. They want you to pay for that. But there are many providers wanting to offer you this as well. Eventually I decided that the offer of a free domain and monthly charges of £6 from GoDaddy was enticing enough to go for. Indeed I’ve stuck with them for a few years now.

My site as it used to look with the GoDaddy theme

Simple succeeds: Visual Studio Code at 1.0

I have found myself using Microsoft’s new code editor Visual Studio Code more and more these days. It’s a simple and quick alternative to the does everything Visual Studio 2015. Its layout, file handling and keystrokes keep drawing me back to it from VS2015 and even from Notepad++. This is my editor of choice now. Below is an article from InfoWorld on it, with links to Visual Studio Code.

Visual Studio Code, Microsoft’s open source, cross-platform development environment powered by Node.js and the Blink layout engine has been upgraded to a full 1.0 release after approximately a year of open beta testing.

According to a blog post on the Visual Studio site, Code became a 1.0-grade product because its API has been stabilized. Code was originally created for JavaScript and TypeScript development, but it now supports common languages like C++, Python, Go, and React Native.

The runup to 1.0 has been about enhancing Code’s performance and making it into “a great editor for every developer,” including those using non-Western languages — nine languages total are currently supported — and those with visual impairments.

Much of the other work has been dedicated to producing a stable API for the application, so third-party language support going forward will be easier to maintain. Around 1,000 extensions are available for Code, providing themes, support for different languages, and enhancements for libraries in those languages.

The add-ons available for Visual Studio Code 1.0 include support for a plethora of languages, including Go, Python, and many flavors of JavaScript.

A large part of Visual Studio Code’s appeal is that it presents a lightweight, unobtrusive environment, where a developer installs only the items needed for a given job. It’s in sharp contrast to the product’s namesake, Visual Studio, which comes with most everything a developer might need, but is sprawling, complex, and not open source.

The contrasts between the two products are playing out like long-term experiments to see which approach will hold up best over time. Visual Studio is emblematic of Microsoft’s old school and is designed to serve Microsoft users first — though Microsoft has been working to heighten its appeal to newer generations of developers by slimming it down and even offering a functional for-free version. Visual Studio Code is powered as much by open source contributors as it is Microsoft, and it was built for the cross-platform, cross-environment development that Microsoft has admitted it must be part of.

Source: Simple succeeds: Visual Studio Code at 1.0 | InfoWorld

Microsoft Desktop App Converter Now Available For Download – MSPoweruser

Desktop App Converter tool (Project Centennial) is now available for download from Microsoft. This new tool allows developers to convert their desktop app to a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app. It converts a desktop Windows installer such as MSI or exe to an AppX package that can be deployed to a Windows 10 desktop.

Some of the benefits of converting your classic desktop app.

  • Your app’s installation experience is much smoother for your customers. You can deploy it to computers using sideloading (see Sideload LOB apps in Windows 10), and it leaves no trace behind after being uninstalled. Longer term, you’ll also be able to publish your app to the Windows Store.
  • Because your converted app has package identity, you can call more UWP APIs, even from the full-trust partition, than you could before.
  • At your own pace, you can add UWP features to your app’s package, like a XAML user-interface, live tile updates, UWP background tasks, app services, and many more. All of the functionality available to any other UWP app is available to your app.
  • If you choose to move all of your app’s functionality out of the full-trust partition of the app and into the app container partition, then your app will be able to run on any Windows 10 device.
  • As a UWP app, your app is able to do the things it could do as a classic desktop app. It interacts with a virtualized view of the registry and file system that’s indistinguishable from the actual registry and file system.
  • Your app can participate in the Windows Store’s built-in licensing and automatic update facilities. Automatic update is a highly reliable and efficient mechanism, because only the changed parts of files are downloaded.
  • Download it here from Microsoft. Read the MSDN documentation about this tool here.

Source: Microsoft Desktop App Converter Now Available For Download – MSPoweruser

Today’s Developer: Multilingual, Excited For The Future … And Worried About Keeping Up

A new study, the Developer Insights Report, reveals some fascinating characteristics about today’s developers: Apparently, they tend to be fluent in a variety of languages, excited about the rush of innovation sweeping the tech scene and, at the same time, overwhelmed by it all.

The inaugural report, produced by the Application Developers Alliance and IDC, surveyed more than 850 developers about topics including the use of coding languages, types of projects tackled, attitudes about work and ambitions for the future.

Another key finding: The representation of female developers also seems to be on the rise, suggesting that recent attention on women in technology is manifesting in some real-world results. Here’s more on what the report uncovered.

First, The Good News

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The study found that developers are a rather multilingual bunch these days: As many as 88% know more than one language, with the largest group (70%) using between two and four in the last year. Some 18% used more than five over that period.

The number of women in the industry is also growing: While they only make up 25% of developers overall, the figure jumps to 42% when looking at those in their first year on the job.

Eighty-seven percent of the participants come from the mobile development sector, with Java the most highly cited programming skill (68% are at a moderate or advanced level). Most devs—at 71%—work on both business and consumer apps.

The Downsides

The report also explores some of the downsides of software and web development.

When looking at the question of why projects fail, the top three reasons were changing or poorly documented requirements (48%), under-funding or under-resourcing (40%) and poor team or organizational management (37%).

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Then there are the challenges of the future: The participants reported that their biggest concern is staying current with modern technology and tools. (The major of programmers turn to search engines and online forums for help with a problem.) Maintaining the ability to produce quality code and keeping a work/life balance came in at second and third place, respectively.

This suggests that the people responsible for the exciting new technologies and features place much more importance on work than their own personal lives—which also should make employers more deeply consider the consequences of escalating burnout among their ranks.

What Gets Developers Excited

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Let’s end on a high note: What gets devs excited about the future. Forty-four percent said wearables was the growing technology that excited them most—Apple Watch and all—while 39% named robotics and 35% pegged the consumer Internet of Things movement.

At the bottom of the list was drones, with 19%. (Apparently, they’re not as exciting for devs as they are for gadget lovers.)

The whole 39-page report is worth picking through, as it covers open-source software, developer experience, the use of particular tools and reliance on cloud computing.

“The Alliance Global Developer Insights survey shows an increasingly diverse developer universe that is dealing with the increasingly stressful and complex demands of modern business,” the report concludes. “The survey provides a broad view of the nature of modern application development, highlighting the increased focus on front-end development, the rise of the consumer app developer and continued adoption of agile methodologies as organizations focus on smaller software development teams.”

Lead photo by Phil Whitehouse; all other images courtesy of the Application Developers Alliance

Source: http://readwrite.com/2015/09/02/ada-idc-devs-report