Blogs

Aptana PHP Development Environment Released

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You may have used Aptana's IDE for Ajax development. The IDE is a very good one and it just got better for us PHP developers. Aptana has announced the release of a PHP plugin for their IDE.

Below is an excerpt from the announcement.

PHP development and deployment just got way easier. Today, we're pleased to announce the 1.0 availability of the Aptana PHP development environment. It's got all the things you'd expect from a PHP IDE, plus all the Ajax tooling and other power tools from Aptana Studio. Combine that with the integrated PHP app hosting, staging and management features in Aptana Cloud and you've got an end-to-end PHP development and deployment environment with unprecedented ease of use.

You can read the full post here.

It's always good to see one of my favorite languages get more support in tools that many of us already use. Thanks Aptana, you gave me something to play with this weekend.

Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 Available

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The Mozilla team announced on Monday the availability of Firefox 3.1 Beta 2. New and notable:

  • A new Private Browsing mode (a la Google Chrome)
  • Increased language support (54, count 'em).
  • TraceMonkey, the incredibly fast new JavaScript engine, is now enabled by default.
  • Support for web worker threads.
  • Improvements to the Gecko layout engine, including speculative parsing for fast content rendering.
  • Support for <audio> and <video> from HTML 5.
  • Support for the W3C Geolocation API.
  • Numerous other improvement, including JavaScript query selectors, additional CSS 2.1 and 3 properties, SVG transforms, and offline applications.

All in all, Firefox 3.1 is shaping up to be another big home run for Mozilla. You can download the beta here.

TIBCO GI 3.6.2 and GI 3.7.0 M1 Technology Preview Release

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Now available for download is TIBCO's General Interface 3.6.2 service pack release.

Here's a summary of what's new in 3.6.2 from the release notes:

General Interface Template Language
The new template language enables you to create custom, re-usable components by building on your knowledge of HTML and JavaScript. Using the template language, you can convert a single snippet of HTML—a widget—into a re-usable component. This means that if you’ve developed user interface components that combine HTML and JavaScript code, you can convert the functional user interface HTML elements into a General Interface template for custom usage.

CDF Form Mapping
General Interface 3.6.2 introduces a new CDF class that enables developers to map a CDF document in the local cache to on-screen form fields—without the need to author additional JavaScript code. The new class, jsx3.gui.CDF, is a container that knows how to bind the form fields it contains to values in a CDF document.

JSON Mapping
The General Interface Mapping utility now supports mapping to JSON-based services. Similar to mapping to WSDL and XML, the new JSON mapping feature provides a visual tree to which the developer can assign mapping rules. JSONP is supported by default, which gets around cross-domain security problems when accessing data from other sites.

Read the full release notes for more information

Also available is the General Interface 3.7.0 Milestone 1, technology preview release. Go to the TIBCO Developer Network site http://www.tibco.com/devnet/gi for downloads and more info.

New in 3.7

  • Asynchronous Modular Platform (AMP), the Eclipse inspired plug-in architecture for building advanced modular and high-performing enterprise AJAX application.
  • Extensible GI Builder IDE based on AMP
  • Syntax highlighting script editor
  • and More ...

Eclipse Plug-In for JavaFX

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Sun has released an early version of an Eclipse plug-in for JavaFX. It's still a bit buggy, but it's an opportunity for developers to kick the tires. The functionality is roughly equivalent to that of the Netbeans plugin.

Instructions on how to use the plug-in are here. You should use the download page here, though, to get the actual plug-in itself.

Ext GWT 1.2 Released

Ext GWT, a library for integrating Ext JS with Google Web Toolkit, has released version 1.2. New features include Drag and Drop (with support for Grids, Trees, and Lists), Form Data Binding, and File Upload.

It can be downloaded here.

Google's Native Client: Faster RIA?

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Hot on the heels of the JavaFX release, Google has released a beta version (of course, what else?) of its own browser plug-in for--get this--running native x86 code inside your browser. It's called, appropriately enough, Native Client. If your security alarm bells are going off, take some comfort: the code is sandboxed in order to prevent untrusted code from freely accessing your computer. How effective the "static analysis" that the sandbox performs is an open question, but Google for its part seems to have thought through the problem: code is disassembled and run through a rigorous analysis to detect unwanted interactions, e.g. file I/O. Nevertheless, it is unlikely to ever be as secure as running code inside a VM.

While Java aficionados may scoff at the idea of running non-portable code inside the browser, one has to admit that x86 clients are nearly universal, at least on the desktop. In the mobile arena that's anything but the case so Native Client has a very specific target audience: desktops that need absolute performance. If this fits the requirements of your browser-based application, Native Client may just be the ticket.

Salesforce.com announces Force.com for App Engine

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Today Salesforce.com has announced Force.com. This makes it possible to create Web and business applications that go accross both Salesforce.com and Google's cloud computing platforms.

Below is an except from the post.

This morning Salesforce.com announced Force.com for Google App Engine, a Python library for apps running on App Engine that enables simple and robust access to the Force.com Web services API. Using this library, App Engine developers can now build and deploy scalable web apps that manipulate and display data stored on Force.com. App Engine developers interested in building enterprise-class applications can now build anything from browser-based tools for members of your organization to personalized, customer-focused apps that scale to meet demand.

You can read the full post here.

You can learn more about Force.com here.

Sizzle

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In August of 2008, John Resig started the Sizzle project, a new JavaScript CSS selector engine, with the goal of providing a small (about 4k) and fast core that could be leveraged by jQuery as well as other libraries (such as Dojo, MooTools, etc.). According to Resig, the new library is about 4 times faster than other selector engines in all major browsers. Resig has also been active in courting other framework designers, asking them to adopt Sizzle in their libraries.

While some have many have expressed great excitement at the idea of having a common selector engine, not all are enthusiastic about the idea. Valerio Proietti from the MooTools project has written a blog detailing why he won't be using Sizzle, and even going so far as to say it discourage competition in the JavaScript framework arena.

I’m not saying that John Resig seeks a monopoly over CSS selector engines, but that’s sure what it looks like. Competition and innovation will stop if everyone uses the same piece of code. Yes, competition and innovation[...]

So, if using one shared selector engine is ok, where do we draw the line? Is it ok to use a shared DOM manipulation library, or a shared event library? What makes our framework ours? If we start replacing core parts by outsourcing them to Dojo, our frameworks will just be a dull layer for code we didn’t even write, and we will lose credibility.

While one has to respect Valerio's decision to stick to his own code, I think that he misses some of the potential benefits of having a common selector core across multiple frameworks: elimination of code duplication, consistency of behavior, and robustness (if multiple libraries use a common core, bugs get squashed quicker). After over a decade, JavaScript is finally "growing up" as a language: frameworks like Dojo, Prototype, and jQuery have been a big part of this, allowing developers to get much more done in a much faster time frame than was possible before. It is only natural during this process that common pieces of infra-structure get built to allow framework designers to focus on other things.

If Resig does a great job with Sizzle, why should a new JavaScript library re-invent the wheel? Claiming Resig is somehow seeking a "monopoly" over JavaScript selector engines seems a bit silly and far-fetched. I think the real issue is an (understandable) pride is his own code, and a reluctance to throw it away in favor of someone else's...

RedHat releases JBoss AS 5.0

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JBoss has released version 5.0 of its popular Java application server, completing a 3 year odyssey to redesign its microkernel architecture (the JBoss Microcontainer). JBoss AS 5 is designed around the concept of a "Virtual Deployment Framework", an AOP-based design that analyzes deployments and produces metadata to be consumed by the container itself, which in turn instantiates and wires together the various pieces of a deployment, controlling their lifecycle and dependencies. The server also integrates other projects from the JBoss umbrella, including JBoss Cache and JBoss WS.

JBoss AS 5.0 is a fully JEE 5.0 compliant application server. It can be run on both Java 5 and 6. After this release, the JBoss team now moves on to JEE 6.0.

It can be downloaded here.

JavaFX 1.0 Released

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Sun has just released the JavaFX platform, consisting of 3 major pieces: the JavaFX SDK, the Netbeans 6.5 IDE with JavaFX, and the JavaFX Production Suite (formerly Project Nile), a set of tools to allow designers the ability to import digital assets from design tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

All are available for download on the JavaFX site, which was redesigned (thankfully) for the launch.

As noted in the Sun blogs, JavaFX Mobile is currently in beta and expected to be released in February.

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