Paul Krill

About the Author Paul Krill


What’s next for Microsoft’s .Net CLR

Microsoft’s Common Language Runtime, the virtual machine that anchors the .Net Framework, is due for a makeover, with the company announcing plans to make the CLR more efficient and scalable.

Key to this modernization will be improvements to the intermediate language underlying the CLR, called IL, which has not been upgraded in ten years, said Mads Torgersen, lead designer for C# at Microsoft. The company wants to improve the IL and make the CLR a richer target for programming languages. 

The goal of the CLR is to run .Net programs efficiently. Currently the biggest problem with .Net is the inherent limits of scalability of the runtime itself, said Ben Watson, Microsoft principal software engineer. The CLR is being pushed beyond its original intention and design. Watson explained that when multiple gigabytes of code are being loaded, algorithms built into the CLR start breaking down. 

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Microsoft brings Apache Spark, Cassandra, MariaDB to its Azure cloud

Microsoft has brought several third-party popular platforms to its Azure cloud aimed at developers and data analysts.

The new Azure capabilities include:

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Microsoft debuts beta Visual Studio Tools for AI

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Microsoft’s Mono .Net runtime brings back interpreter

Mono, Microsoft’s open source, cross-platform runtime for .Net-based development, has regained its .Net interpreter, about a decade after it was removed to keep Mono’s development effort manageable.

Mono’s developers are now turning their attention to using the interpreter in mixed-mode code execution, which combines interpreted code and statically compiled code.

What mixed-mode exdcution will bring to Mono

When mixed-mode execution becomes available, developers will benefit from having core libraries optimized with the LLVM compiler platform but still have flexibility of running some dynamic code, said Miguel de Icaza, a longtime leader of the Mono project.

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Scripting languages slip in popularity

Prominent scripting languages, once viewed as the future of programming by offering ease of use, have slipped in the monthly Tiobe index of language popularity. Only Python and JavaScript still have some momentum.

Languages that have seen their fortunes decline include Perl, PHP, and Ruby. Software quality services company Tiobe’s suspected cause is a desire among developers for higher quality than is afforded in scripting languages: “Because quality demands are getting higher and higher, hardly anybody dares to write a critical and large software system in a scripting language nowadays.”

With scripting languages, most errors show up in runtime. And this is a problem, Tiobe says. Developers can write unit tests to compensate for this but it still is “quite dangerous” because these errors can happen while the application is in production. Statically typed languages, meanwhile, have responded to the threat of scripting languages by reducing type verbosity.

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What’s new in Microsoft Visual Studio Code

Microsoft’s open source development tool is an important piece of the developer’s toolkit. Built using GitHub’s cross-platform Electron framework, Visual Studio Code is a full-featured development editor that supports a wide selection of languages and platforms, from the familiar C and C# to modern environments and languages like Go and Node.js, with parity between Windows, MacOS, and Linux releases.

Microsoft regularly updates Visual Studio Code. Keep track of the updates’ key features in this changelog.

Where to download Visual Studio Code

To download the editor for Windows, MacOS, and Linux, go to Microsoft’s Visual Code Studio website

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Beta JetBrains IDE moves Kotlin apps out of the JVM

JetBrains has made available the Kotlin/Native technology, which creates native binaries for Kotlin code so they can run without a Java virtual machine. A beta version of the CLion IDE allows Kotlin programs to be compiled directly to an executable machine-code format.

Kotlin is a statically typed JavaScript language alternative that began on the JVM. But many platforms can’t run JVMs, restricting the use of Kotlin to JVM-friendly platforms like Android. The Kotlin/Native preview’s supported target platforms include MacOS, iOS, Ubuntu Linux, and Raspberry Pi.

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Visual Studio Code roadmap: The new features you can expect

Microsoft’s 2018 roadmap for its open source Visual Studio Code code editor includes better performance, reduced memory consumption, and more support for JavaScript and TypeScript.

The multilanguage Visual Studio Code, which Microsoft has been updating monthly, is designed as a streamlined editor for debugging, running tasks, and version control. More complex workflows require the use of full-featured IDEs. Visual Studio Code 1.0 debuted in April 2016 and supports Node.js, JavaScript, and TypeScript.

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What’s next for Visual Studio Code

Microsoft’s 2018 roadmap for its open source Visual Studio Code code editor includes better performance, reduced memory consumption, and more support for JavaScript and TypeScript.

The multilanguage Visual Studio Code, which Microsoft has been updating monthly, is designed as a streamlined editor for debugging, running tasks, and version control. More complex workflows require the use of full-featured IDEs. Visual Studio Code 1.0 debuted in April 2016 and supports Node.js, JavaScript, and TypeScript.

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What’s new in Kotlin 1.2? Code reuse, for starters

Version 1.2 of the statically typed Kotlin language, a version of Java endorsed by Google for Android app development, will offer an experimental feature enabling reuse of code across platforms, as well as compatibility with the Java 9 module system.

Where to download Kotlin 1.2

The release candidate for Kotlin 1.2 is now available for download from GitHub.

The new features in Kotlin 1.2

Kotlin’s experimental multiplatform projects capability lets developers reuse code between supported target platforms: JVM and JavaScript initially, and later native. Code to be shared between platforms is placed in a common module; platform-dependent parts are put in platform-specific modules. During compilation, code is produced for both the common and platform-specific parts.

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What’s new in Node.js 8 and Node.js 9

Node.js 8 is graduating to Long Term Support (LTS) release status, which is intended to signify a level of stability for use in enterprise deployments. Accompanying this new designation for Node.js 8 is the debut of Node.js 9, with asynchronous resource tracking, as the “current” release line.

Node.js 8 features

With an LTS release of the popular server-side JavaScript runtime, the focus is on security and stability. The LTS release is actively maintained for 18 months. First introduced by the Node.js Foundation in late-May, the Node.js 8.x line features:

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ZGC large-heap Java garbage collector may go open source

An Oracle-developed, low-latency Java garbage collector geared to large heaps could move to the open source community, if a proposal to do so gets community approval. Votes are due by November 8.

Called the Z Garbage Collector (ZGC), the project is designed to support multiterabyte heaps, have pause times not exceeding 10 milliseconds, and offer no more than a 15 percent application reduction throughput compared to the G1 garbage collector.

But ZGC’s developers don’t see these goals as “hard requirements” for every workload, according to a proposal floated on an OpenJDK mailing list by Per Liden, a member of the HotSpot virtual machine team at Oracle. Liden’s proposal calls for creation of a ZGC project that he would lead, with the HotSpot group as sponsor. 

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ZGC large-heap Java garbage collector may go open source

An Oracle-developed, low-latency Java garbage collector geared to large heaps could move to the open source community, if a proposal to do so gets community approval. Votes are due by November 8.

Called the Z Garbage Collector (ZGC), the project is designed to support multiterabyte heaps, have pause times not exceeding 10 milliseconds, and offer no more than a 15 percent application reduction throughput compared to the G1 garbage collector.

But ZGC’s developers don’t see these goals as “hard requirements” for every workload, according to a proposal floated on an OpenJDK mailing list by Per Liden, a member of the HotSpot virtual machine team at Oracle. Liden’s proposal calls for creation of a ZGC project that he would lead, with the HotSpot group as sponsor. 

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What’s new in Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2017

The second beta of Microsoft’s upcoming Visual Studio 2017 version 15.5 IDE, released this week, improves capabilities for C++ and debugging and supports the Angular 2 JavaScript framework.

New features in Visual Studio 2017 15.5 beta

The Visual Studio 2017 15.5 beta’s compiler and standard library gained the following new support for the C++ 17 standard:

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What’s new in Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2017

The second beta of Microsoft’s upcoming Visual Studio 2017 version 15.5 IDE, released this week, improves capabilities for C++ and debugging and supports the Angular 2 JavaScript framework.

New features in Visual Studio 2017 15.5 beta

The Visual Studio 2017 15.5 beta’s compiler and standard library gained the following new support for the C++ 17 standard:

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