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This is a curated resource for programmers and software architects. It is regularly updated with Articles, Hacks, How Tos, Examples and Code.
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Programmers Without TDD Will be Unemployable by 2022

Programmers Without TDD Will be Unemployable by 2022 | Code it |

I’m not making any predictions about the quality of the TDD undertaken. Like programming in general I expect the best will be truly excellent, while the bulk will be at best medicare.

What I am claiming is: 

  • It will not be acceptable to question TDD in an interview. It will be so accepted that anyone doesn’t know what TDD is, who can’t use TDD in an exercise or who claims “I don’t do TDD because its a waste of time” or “TDD is unproven” will not get the job. (I already know companies where this is the case, I expect it to be universal by 2022.)
  • Programmers will once again be expected to write unit tests for their work. (Before the home computer revolution I believe most professional programmers actually did this. My generation didn’t.)
  • Unit testing will be overwhelmingly automated. Manual testing is a sin. Manual unit testing doubly so.

And I believe, in general, software will be better (fewer bugs, more maintainable) as a result of these changes, and as a result programmer productivity will be generally higher (even if they write less code they will have fewer bugs to fix.)

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Bot traffic is up to 61.5% of all website traffic

Bot traffic is up to 61.5% of all website traffic | Code it |
Bot traffic is up to 61.5% of all website traffic. Is Google winning the war on spam?

Report HighlightsBot Traffic is up by 21%

Compared to the previous report from 2012, we see a 21% growth in total bot traffic, which now represents 61.5% of website visitors. The bulk of that growth is attributed to increased visits by good bots (i.e., certified agents of legitimate software, such as search engines) whose presence increased from 20% to 31% in 2013. Looking at user-agent data we can provide two plausible explanations of this growth:

  • Evolution of Web Based Services: Emergence of new online services introduces new bot types into the pool. For instance, we see newly established SEO oriented services that crawl a site at a rate of 30-50 daily visits or more.
  • Increased activity of existing bots: Visitation patterns of some good bots (e.g., search engine type crawlers) consist of re-occurring cycles. In some cases we see that these cycles are getting shorter and shorter to allow higher sampling rates, which also results in additional bot traffic.
31% of Bots Are Still Malicious, but with Much Fewer Spammers

While the relative percentage of malicious bots remains unchanged, there is a noticeable reduction in Spam Bot activity, which decreased from 2% in 2012 to 0.5% in 2013. The most plausible explanation for this steep decrease is Google’s anti-spam campaign, which includes the recent Penguin 2.0 and 2.1 updates.

SEO link building was always a major motivation for automated link spamming. With its latest Penguin updates Google managed to increase the perceivable risk for comment spamming SEO techniques, while also driving down their actual effectiveness.

Based on our figures, it looks like Google was able to discourage link spamming practices, causing a 75% decrease in automated link spamming activity.

Evidence of More Sophisticated Hacker Activity

Another point of interest is the 8% increase in the activity of “Other Impersonators” - a group which consists of unclassified bots with hostile intentions.

The common denominator for this group is that all of its members are trying to assume someone else’s identity. For example, some of these bots use browser user-agents while others try to pass themselves as search engine bots or agents of other legitimate services. The goal is always the same - to infiltrate their way through the website’s security measures.

The generalized definition of such non-human agents also reflects on these bots’ origins. Where other malicious bots are agents of known malware with a dedicated developer, GUI, “brand” name and patch history, these “Impersonators” are custom-made bots, usually crafted for a very specific malicious activity.

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Are your programmers working hard, or are they lazy?

Are your programmers working hard, or are they lazy? | Code it |

When people are doing a physical task, it’s easy to assess how hard they are working. You can see the physical movement, the sweat. You also see the result of their work: the brick wall rising, the hole in the ground getting bigger. Recognizing and rewarding hard work is a pretty fundamental human instinct, it is one of the reasons we find endurance sports so fascinating. This instinctive appreciation of physical hard work is a problem when it comes to managing creative-technical employees. Effective knowledge workers often don’t look like they are working very hard.

It’s very hard to tell if that guy sweating away, working late nights and weekends, constantly fire-fighting, is showing great commitment to making a really really complex system work, or is just failing.

Unless you can afford to have two or more competing teams solving the same problem, and c’mon, who would do that, you will never know. Conversely, what about the guy sitting in the corner who works 9 to 5, and seems to spend a lot of time reading the internet? Is he just very proficient at writing stable reliable code, or is his job just easier than everyone else’s? To the casual observer, the first chap is working really hard, the second one isn’t. Hard work is good, laziness is bad, surely?

I would submit that the appearance of hard work is often an indication of failure. Software development often isn’t done well in a pressurised, interrupt driven, environment. It’s often not a good idea to work long hours. Sometimes the best way of solving a difficult problem is to stop thinking about it, go for a walk, or even better, get a good night’s sleep and let your subconscious solve it. One of my favourite books is A Mathematician’s Apology by G. H. Hardy, one of the leading British mathematicians of the 20th century. In it he describes his daily routine: four hours work in the morning followed by an afternoon of watching cricket. He says that it’s pointless and unproductive to do hard mental work for more than four hours a day.

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Why Google Cloud Platform may give Amazon fits

Why Google Cloud Platform may give Amazon fits | Code it |

Amazon Web Services remains king of cloud but from all appearances, Google Compute Platform plans to dispute that title.

It looks like GCP is not only here to stay but it’s giving Amazon Web Services a run for its money in a few key respects including per minute pricing(yay!), pre-warmed load balancinglive migration of virtual machines between regions and improved block storage. Gigaom Research analyst Janakiram MSV called the last of these a real game-changer in a post touting ten advantages of GCP over AWS.

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Facebook's latest open source effort: a flash-powered database called RocksDB

Facebook's latest open source effort: a flash-powered database called RocksDB | Code it |

Facebook has open sourced a new embedded database called RocksDB that’s meant to take advantage of all the performance flash has to offer, from right on the application server. It might be a sign of best practices to come.

Facebook is on an open source roll lately, and on Thursday announced its latest open source project — an embedded key-value store called RocksDB. The company uses it to power certain user-facing applications that would suffer too much from having to access an external database over the network and to eliminate the certain problems relating to non-fully utilized IO performance on flash storage devices.

RocksDB was designed with these new hardware realities in mind, so it can take full advantage of the IOPS potential of flash memory as well as the computing power of many-core servers, Borthakur explains. Facebook has posted the results of a benchmark test running on a Fusion-io-powered server on the RocksDB GitHub page, and claims it’s significantly faster than Google’s LevelDB embedded key-value store.

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Pebble To Developers: Get Ready To Rock With New Wearable Tech Tools

Pebble To Developers: Get Ready To Rock With New Wearable Tech Tools | Code it |

When the Pebble smartwatch hit the market earlier this year, it hewed to a "simple is best" philosophy, offering only a limited set of features. But the company also pledged to help others develop their own creative uses for the gadget, and it's now followed through with a more fully fledged set of developer tools and better iOS 7 integration.

The latter should interest iPhone users who want Twitter, Facebook, Skype or other alerts on their Pebble watches with a minimum of fuss. But the new software development kit, or SDK, should pique the interest of Pebble developers, particularly those itching to explore niches such as health monitoring, remote home security, automation and a variety of other futuristic features.

Sensors lie at the heart of "cool tech" innovations these days. Want to know what your heart rate is during that run? Flip the lights and TV on as soon as you come through the door? That's the work of sensors. And soon you may be able to monitor or control gadgets around you easily and conveniently from a watch strapped to your arm.

Pebble's Kit And Kaboodle

Pebble launched with little more than a basic—dare I say charming?—e-paper display and a handful of features. The device handled alarms, music controls, some watch faces and alerts for email, call and texts from iPhones and Android handsets. Likewise, Pebble's first SDK was also rather minimal, allowing developers to customize watch faces or to nix backlighting or vibrations and not much else.

Subsequent updates, along with a snazzy new sports API, made things a bit more interesting, offering support for two-way Bluetooth communication between the smartwatch and the paired smartphone. And apps like Runkeeper and FreeCaddie joined the party, essentially turning the device into a wearable fitness gadget.

Acc to Pebble's CEO, It’s an open platform, which means anyone and everyone can hack on top of Pebble.

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Google Play now drives 25% more downloads than iOS app store, has 50% the revenue

Google Play now drives 25% more downloads than iOS app store, has 50% the revenue | Code it |

Google Play is continuing its inexorable overtaking of the App Store, with downloads now 25 percent higher, and app revenue that is slowly overtaking Apple’s sales.

The reason is exactly the same one that impacts iOS market share: international markets.

This is a huge change, as just in July of this year Google Play had a significant lead in app downloads, but only had 20 percent of Apple’s app store revenue.

Essentially, the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India, and China — are starting to flex their muscle, and it’s almost all Android-powered. Brazil has the world’s fifth-largest population, a reasonable level of wealth, and a massively growing middle class, App Annie says, all of which is driving Brazil up the charts, joining the U.S., Korea, India, and Russia in the top five markets for Android apps.

In contrast, the top five countries on the iOS app store are the U.S., China, Japan, the U.K., and Russia.

Games continues to be the top category in both Google Play and the app store, accounting for 40 percent of all app downloads. Games drive about 80 percent of Google Play’s revenue, but only 70 percent of the app store’s, as Navigation and Social Networking took increased share this past quarter.


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Runnable | Code it |

Discover Libraries/APIs/Services/Frameworks/Modules though code

Full-stack code anyone can run from their browse

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BigML turns its cloud prediction engine toward text

BigML turns its cloud prediction engine toward text | Code it |

Machine learning startup BigML now supports text data in its cloud-based prediction service. It has always analyzed numerical fields in complex datasets to determine the relationship between them and any given outcome, and how it will consider the importance of words, too.

BigML, a machine-learning-based cloud service that lets users generate statistical predictions from their complex data, has revamped the service to include textual analysis. No, it won’t analyze the sentiment of your tweets or translate your documents into Spanish, but it will use words as variables when getting to the bottom of how your data is connected.

There are a handful of options for customizing the text field, too, such as the ability to pare words down to their stems (e.g., “greatness” becomes “great). If you’re into accuracy, BigML also now lets users run ensemble models (or forests) and test the accuracy of their models. Users building models across very large datasets or who have built BigML predictions into their applications via API can use a new feature called PredictServer that runs predictions tens of times faster on a dedicated server.

As BigML keeps maturing and adding new features, its toughest task might be figuring out its target users and tailoring the experience around them. I like the service, but the more features it adds, the more I can see how a formal grounding in statistics and data analysis would help me make better use of it. Then again, if I had those skills, I might prefer any number of advanced software packages that let me do a whole lot more.

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DukePad | Code it |

The DukePad is a Do-It-Yourself, make-at-home tablet computer based on the Raspberry PI and JavaSE Embedded 8. The plans and instructions for building the DukePad are available here, and we're working with suppliers to make available pre-made kits that can be more easily assembled.

The software on the DukePad uses Raspbian Linux as the operating system, and an OSGi-based JavaFX environment. Within this DukePad environment, apps are simple JavaFX OSGi Modules.

The DukePad is not a product, it is an open source, freely available set of plans and software for assembling your own tablet using off the shelf components. As such, the quality of the DukePad software environment is demo-quality (although we did strive to write as much real functionality as we could, the realities of demo presentations requires sacrificing time on parts of the applications that are not going to be shown, in favor of smoothing out those parts that will be shown).

The code is hosted in the OpenJFX repositories under apps/experiments/DukePad. We hope to see forks of this code (GitHub, BitBucket, whatever you like best) and lots of experimentation and improvement that can be shared.

This guide assumes that your Raspberry PI has "dukepad" as the host name, although of course you can use anything (including the raw IP address). The real work starts with step 3, building the DukePad software. One thing to keep in mind, is that although the Raspberry PI can run X11, we will not normally use it, since JavaFX is going to take over the entire screen. When downloading software to the PI, you can choose either to start up X (startx), or you can choose to download onto your desktop system and sftp / scp the files over the PI. This guide assumes you know how to get files onto the PI (and if not, a quick lesson on sftp / scp should do the trick).

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Hands-on with Google Glass: The developer perspective

Hands-on with Google Glass: The developer perspective | Code it |

Glass works two ways, either by issuing verbal commands or touching and swiping on the right side of the headset.

Glass’s voice recognition was very good — much better than Siri. Quiet environments better suit the verbal commands than do crowded areas, though. In the right conditions, using voice commands and texting are great. If not, using the swipe navigation provides a solid alternative.

Imagine if you’re running late for a meeting – the Glass user can simply dictate the command “OK Glass, send a message to [recipient]. I’m running late, see you soon.” As soon as they respond, you receive their response complete with their Google Plus profile image.

This feature makes inbound messages more personal, while not distracting from the task at hand. Of course, this is never something to try while driving.

Glass’ amazing responsiveness allows you to send text messages verbally, answer phone calls, navigate a new city, and even learn basic phrases in a foreign language without having to pull out your smart phone and engage an application. The images and text appear before your eyes without interrupting conversation or walking. Perhaps my favorite feature is the projected maps in unfamiliar territory — without local knowledge of a neighborhood, you can instantly find your way.

For activities such as composing longer messages or emails, playing immersive games, or composing documents, a smartphone or tablet will still be the best solution. In this way, Glass is to your smart device what a mobile gadget has become to a laptop — it doesn’t replace the device, but rather enhances the experience it provides and makes technology fit even more seamlessly with day-to-day life.

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Connect to Amazon EC2 with a private key using PuTTY and Pageant

Connect to Amazon EC2 with a private key using PuTTY and Pageant | Code it |

Nick Hardiman shows you how to set up a secure connection to an Amazon EC2 machine using PuTTY and Pageant to handle your private key.


Install PuTTY

Copy from the PEM file to a PPK file using PuTTYgen.

Load the PPK file into Pageant, the SSH authentication agent

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Sublime Text 2 for Ruby

Sublime Text 2 for Ruby | Code it |

Why Sublime Text 2?

Speed. It’s got the responsiveness of Vim/Emacs but in a full GUI environment. It doesn’t freeze/beachball. No need to install a special plugin just to have a workable “Find In Project” solution.

Polish. Some examples: Quit with one keystroke and windows and unsaved buffers are retained when you restart. Searching for files by name includes fuzzy matching and directory names. Whitespace is trimmed and newlines are added at the end of files. Configuration changes are applied instantly.

Split screen. I never felt like I missed this that much with TextMate, but I really appreciate it now. It’s ideal for having a class and unit test side-by-side on a 27-inch monitor.

Extensibility. The Python API is great for easily building your own extensions. There’s lots of example code in the wild to learn from. (More about this later.) ST2 support TextMate snippets and themes out-of-the-box.

Great for pair programming. TextMate people feel right at home. Vim users can use Vintage mode. When pairing with Vim users, they use command mode when they are driving. I just switch out of command mode and everything “just works”. (It also works on Linux, if that’s your thing.)

Updates. This is mainly just a knock on TextMate, but it’s comforting to see new dev builds pushed every couple weeks. The author also seems to be quite responsive in the user community. A build already shipped with support for retina displays, which I believe is scheduled for a TextMate release in 2014.

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Is Good Code Impossible?

When you hit your teenage years you decide you want to be a software developer. During your high school years, you learn how to write software using object-oriented principles. When you graduate to college, you apply all the principles you’ve learned to areas such as Artificial Intelligence or 3D graphics.

And when you hit the professional circuit, you begin your never-ending quest to write commercial-quality, maintainable, and “perfect” code that will stand the test of time.

Commercial-quality. Huh. That’s pretty funny.

I consider myself lucky, I *love* design patterns. I like studying the theory of coding perfection. I have no problem starting up an hour-long discussion about why my XP partner’s choice of inheritance hierarchy is wrong — that HAS-A is better than IS-A in so many cases. But something has been bugging me lately and I am wondering something…

…is good code impossible in modern software development?

The Typical Project Proposal

As a full-time contract developer (and part-time), I spend my days (and nights) developing mobile applications for clients. And what I’ve learned over the many years I’ve been doing this is that the demands of client work preclude me from writing the real quality apps that I’d like to be.

Before I begin, let me just say it’s not for a lack of trying. I love the topic of clean code. I don’t know anyone who pursues that perfect software design like I do. It’s the execution that I find more elusive, and not for the reason you think.

Here, let me tell you a story.

Towards the end of last year, a pretty well-known company put out an RFP (Request for Proposol) to have an app built for them. They’re a huge retailer, but for the sake of anonymity let’s call them Gorilla Mart. They say they need to create an iPhone presence and would like an app produced for them by Black Friday. The catch? It’s already November 1st. That leaves just under 4 weeks to create the app. Oh, and at this time Apple is still taking two weeks to approve apps. (Ah, the good old days.) So, wait, this app has to be written in…TWO WEEKS?!?!

Yes. We have two weeks to write this app. And unfortunately, we’ve won the bid. (In business, client importance matters.) This is going to happen.

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This is one of my favorite blog posts of the past few years. I have re read it to get a laugh so many times, I cant remember. 

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Motion Contol in Mobile Technology

Motion Contol in Mobile Technology | Code it |

When the Samsung Galaxy S4 debuted, there was a lot of hoopla over its Air Gesture and Eye Scroll features. With Air Gesture, users can simply wave a hand over the phone and it will respond accordingly, by answering a call or skipping to the next track. Eye Scroll uses eye movement to move up or down a page.

Many users ultimately found the features underwhelming, but it doesn’t really matter. These new features — still in their infant stages — mark another milestone for mobile.

The problem with “smart” devices

When we took computers and crammed them into tiny phones, we brought with us the way we had always done things. The problem — as any smartphone user knows — is that it’s hard to control an application’s interface when it’s centered on tiny buttons. There’s no tactile feedback, and visual feedback is often insufficient. Victims of autocorrect know what I’m talking about.

If users get frustrated with these devices, they might give them up altogether. It’s imperative that user interface design becomes the core focus.

The future in motion

Some user interface interactions are slowly being taken over by voice. But with 85 percent of iOS7 users saying they haven’t used Siri, it’s clear that “silent interaction” is still an important factor in how people use smart devices.

Some companies are already implementing gestures in their interface:

  • Dolphin browser: Dolphin is a Web browser that allows you to map gestures to specific websites. For instance, you can set it to go to Google when you draw a “G” or to your wife’s blog when you draw a heart. It’s much more efficient than typing full URLs.
  • Keyboard innovation: These keyboards replace buttons, like the space bar and backspace, with gestures. Want to delete that last word? Swipe once to the left. Need to type a name? A swipe up will temporarily disable autocorrect.
  • Aviate desktop: Aviate organizes my apps based on where I am and what time of day it is. When I wake up in the morning, one flick brings up my morning routine apps. Considering that U.S. smartphone users average 41 apps per phone, this makes navigating those apps extremely simple.

Motion is everywhere

It’s not just our smartphones that will soon be controlled by motion. Three years ago, Microsoft launched the Kinect gaming system, which uses an RGB camera, depth sensor, and microphone to allow users to control a video game without a controller. The Leap Motion device takes accuracy further — it plugs into a computer and lets users control the system using air gestures.

With more device manufacturers including gesture controls in operating systems, users are becoming more accustomed to using them daily. Startups that want to build the best apps will have to include motion controls in their interfaces to compete.

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Setting up Sublime Text for Ruby development

Setting up Sublime Text for Ruby development | Code it |

Sublime Text 3 (ST3) is a lightweight, cross platform, blazing fast text editor with Chrome-like tabs and split window layouts. There is a relatively huge amount of support for it, because there are many who have fallen in love with it. At last count there were over 1,300 “packages” available for it to enhance its functionality, appearance, and general usability. Once you have a few settings tweaked and packages installed, which is a very simple process, you’ll really come to like Sublime Text. And you will need to set up some preferences, because out of the box it’s pretty standard. It’s so easy, I’ll just tell you quickly how to do that now.

Getting Started

Here are the steps I usually follow to take a new ST3 install from good to awesome:

  1. Install the subl command line tool. Assuming ~/bin is in your path:
    ln -s "/Applications/Sublime" ~/bin/subl

    On Ubuntu, I recommend installing ST3 from PPA, it will spare you from symlinking.

    Optionally, you can now make Sublime Text the default editor for git:
    git config --global core.editor "subl --new-window --wait"

  2. Install Package Control. Package Control makes it easy to install/remove/upgrade ST3 packages.

    Follow these instructions and reboot ST3 when done. (You only need to do this once. From now on you’ll use Package Control to manage ST3 packages.)

  3. Install the Soda theme and RailsCasts color scheme. This dramatically improves the look and feel of the editor.

    Use Package Control to install Soda:

    • Press ⌘⇧P to open the Command Palette.
    • Select “Package Control: Install Package” and hit Enter.
    • Type “Theme - Soda” and hit Enter to install the Soda package.

    Do the same for the package called “RailsCasts Colour Scheme”.

  4. Start with a basic Settings file. You can use mine, which will activate the Soda Light theme and RailsCasts color scheme. Reboot Sublime Text 3 so the Soda theme applies correctly. You can browse the default settings that ship with ST3 by choosing Sublime Text > Preferences > Settings - Default to learn what you can configure.

  5. Install more packages. My essentials are All AutocompleteBeautifyRubyChangeQuotesCoffeeScript,SideBarEnhancements and GitGutter. GitGutter shows whether each line has been added, modified, and where lines have been removed.

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The power of location and IFTTT recipes combined: Say hello to LIFTTT

The power of location and IFTTT recipes combined: Say hello to LIFTTT | Code it |

Location + IFTTT = Some mighty addicting ways to harness the power of your favorite web apps.

The online service IFTTT (if this, then that) has built up a loyal fanbase of people who enjoy mixing together their favorite web apps.

For example, using IFTTT’s recipes you can have all of your photos uploaded to Facebook or Instagram saved on a private Dropbox folder. IFTTT allows you to “put the internet to work for you,” as its slogan says.

Now LIFTTT, a new iPhone and Android app launching today from developerVisual Candy, is adding location to the mix. In short, the app lets you add location data to any IFTTT recipe — for example, you can send yourself an email reminder when you arrive at work, or turn on devices connected to a home automation gadget like the Belkin Wemo when you get home.

LIFTTT lets you trigger recipes whenever you leave or enter a location, and you can also specify the time and distance from the location to enable the trigger. It’s all powered by Visual Candy’s experience with low-powered location API’s, which means LIFTTT shouldn’t hurt your battery life too much. The developer previously created Uber Checkin, an app that lets you automatically check-in to locations on Foursquare.

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If you could change one fundamental thing about PHP, what would it be?

If you could change one fundamental thing about PHP, what would it be? | Code it |

PHP‘s creator Rasmus Lerdorf did not intend to create an entirely new programming language.

Over 20 years ago, the Danish software engineer was looking for a better way to fix what he described as a “young problem.” The PHP project kicked off in 1995 and would eventually become a server-side scripting language and general-purpose programming language used by tech giants like Facebook, Yahoo, and Etsy.


If you could change one fundamental thing about PHP, what would it be? 

Lerdoff: Case sensitivity in PHP —  the question of whether it should be lower case or upper case. Back then [when I started PHP] there were huge arguments, and I didn’t want to take sides in this religious argument. It’s more painful to make changes now, as much as people criticize pieces of PHP. There were semi-intelligent reasons for doing this at the time though.

What’s your favorite programming language? 

Lerdoff: C. I’m more of a C developer than PHP.

Why has Facebook so heavily invested in PHP? 

Lerdoff: PHP was supposed to be a thin layer on top of a bunch of C++ code, which is what I did at Yahoo. Facebook rolled everything out in PHP instead of translating that to C++. They just write faster Gits for PHP — I wonder what will be the next engine? Google has done some work along these lines. Maybe we’ll have some Git competition in a few years.

I’m new to PHP — but can code in Python. Will it be a challenge to learn? 

Lerdoff: Just dive in and download some code. Start solving problems using PHP. I often joke that I can teach a moderately intelligent monkey to write PHP in a day. The learning curve is really shallow, so you’ll get up and running really fast.

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How to Become a Computer Programmer

How to Become a Computer Programmer | Code it |

Today, computer programmers are responsible for creating everything from web platforms which support online schools to the little computer in the coffee maker that brews the morning cup of Joe. Here's a brief history of computer programming, as well as what modern day programmers can expect from this rewarding work.


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Where the world's top 100,000 websites are hosted (infographic)

Where the world's top 100,000 websites are hosted (infographic) | Code it |

The U.S. hosts nearly half of the world's 100,000 most-visited websites

IBM SoftLayer powers the most top sites — more than 5,000 — beating out rival hosting service Amazon Web Services, which hosts just over 4,000.

That doesn’t represent overall traffic or data processed, of course; the top 1,000 sites undoubtedly receive more visitors than the next 99,000 combined. 

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Newest Chrome beta integrates web apps as near-native on Android

Newest Chrome beta integrates web apps as near-native on Android | Code it |
Web apps get a little more special in the newest Chrome beta for Android: They can be installed directly to the home screen, open up on full-screen mode and appear alongside native apps in the multitasking app switcher...

Web apps that look and behave much like native mobile apps are coming to Android. Starting with version 31 of the Chrome beta for Android, web apps can appear full-screen without users seeing the traditional browser. They can also be installed directly to the Android home screen on a smartphone or tablet and will appear in Android’s task switching view, just like traditional Android software.

Technically, the function is called “Install to Homescreen,” but clearly it does much more than that. By treating the web apps as unique entities, they’re integrated into Android as any other mobile app for the platform. And that’s what brings more of a native experience to them: You can switch to them just like any running native app and they appear to be running outside of the Chrome browser.

This approach is similar to the desktop version of Chrome and Google’s Chrome OS: Both of these can run web-based apps independently of and outside of the browser. But they maintain the sandboxing security feature found in Chrome. So too do the web apps in the new Chrome beta for Android: Google says these apps “follow the same sandboxed security policies and have access to the same API’s” as they would if running directly in the browser.

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The changing script of the web developer

The changing script of the web developer | Code it |

As depicted in the press, the impact of HTML5 seems to be a battle between whether to develop native or for the Web, with the reality being that these days, HTML5 and CSS3 (along with the suite of java script solutions that come with CSS3) are actually changing the span of control enjoyed by developers.

In particular, many large enterprises emphasize two things: the server and the capability to deliver performance on the backend. Java and C have been the sought skill set. Meanwhile, the backend side of the system – including hardware – has been IT decision makers’ dominating concern. This led to the scoping out by enterprise architects of a standard desktop or laptop strategy, which would assure a common user experience and, in doing so, become acceptable to IT. To this end, the impact of the iPhone cannot be overstated.

Steve Jobs started a revolution of endpoints that led to the “Bring Your Own Device” [BYOD] movement as well as the end of the enterprise architect’s control. And the revolution did not stop there. Once the endpoint was freed from conformance, the performance requirements dramatically changed and, as a result, instead of designing to meet an internal network and endpoint, IT found itself with barbarians at the gateway.

The rise of JavaScript also revealed pertinent pain points that the BYOD world has yet to overcome, including node.js and other no SQL solutions point to the redesign of the backend, JQuery Mobile and a host of others on the network I/O problem, and solutions like angular.js on the graphics.

The meta-message of these systems? Pent-up innovation is finding an outlet in javascript to directly impact the BYOD experience.

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How to get your app noticed before it dies

How to get your app noticed before it dies | Code it |

“There are two kinds of people in this world: the workers and the hustlers. The hustlers never work and the workers never hustle.”

Yes, I just quoted a line from “Cocktail.” It’s a movie that aligns well with the world of tech as we know it today. Being an entrepreneur today involves getting noticed in a hyper competitive environment — if you are not backed by Andreessen Horowitz or partnered with a celebrity investor like Ashton Kutcher, you are going to have to hustle to get noticed.

Nobody knows you, and they don’t know about your product. Where do you go from here?

If you’re building apps, that initial obstacle may seem especially steep. There are more than 900,000 apps in the Apple App Store and more than 850,000 apps available for Android. You have to smartly promote your app, otherwise you’re a drop in the ocean.

When my co-founder and I built our own app, we knew we had to stand out. That’s why we took my 1973 Volkswagen bus, which happened to be orange, and drove 2,000 miles for six weeks, at an average of 55 miles per hour.

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Snapseed integration in Chrome shows the web future for Google's apps

Snapseed integration in Chrome shows the web future for Google's apps | Code it |

Snapseed integration in Google+ photo editing isn’t just some fancy web programming; the implementation takes advantage of Google Chrome technologies that will help the browser continue to mature as a platform with apps of its own.

If you’ve edited photos on Google+ lately, you might have noticed some handy new tools. And if they look familiar, that’s because they’re part of Snapseed: A mobile app for iOS and Android that Google bought in 2012. The new editing tools offer a glimpse into Google’s ongoing Chrome strategy: Finding ways for web apps to have the power of traditional software for mobile devices and computers.

The Snapseed tools work offline, even though you access them through the browser. How’s that work? Two of Google’s main Chrome technologies — Packaged Apps and Native Client — are the answer. These allow apps to be more robust than traditional web apps and can even be written in non-web programming languages such as C and C++. By doing this, Google is taking advantage of Chrome’s large user base to boost web engagement.

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What is the Amazon EC2 Instance Store

What is the Amazon EC2 Instance Store | Code it |

Each Amazon EC2 instance, unless it's a micro or M3 instance, can access storage from disks that are physically attached to the host computer. This disk storage is referred to asinstance store.

Instance Storage Concepts

An Amazon EC2 instance store provides temporary block-level storage for use with an Amazon EC2 instance. The size of an instance store ranges from 150 GiB to up to 48 TiB, and varies by instance type. Larger instance types have larger instance stores. For more information, see Instance Stores Available on Instance Types.

An instance store consists of one or more instance store volumes. Instance store volumes must be mounted before they can be used.

By default, instances launched from an Amazon EBS-backed instance have no mounted instance store volumes. Instances launched from an instance store-backed AMI have a mounted instance store volume for the virtual machine's root device volume, and can have other mounted instances store volumes, depending on the instance type. For more information about instance store-backed AMIs and Amazon EBS-backed AMIs, see Storage for the Root Device.

Instance store volumes are usable only from a single instance during its lifetime; they can't be detached and then attached to another instance. If you create an AMI from an instance, the data on its instance store volumes isn't preserved and isn't present on the instance store volumes for the instances that you launch from this AMI. While an instance store is dedicated to a particular instance, the disk subsystem is shared among instances on a host computer, as shown in the following figure.

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