Tuesday, November 20, 2012

3Scale Launches Open Source API Proxy Providing Enterprises On-premises and in the Cloud API Traffic Management

3Scale, a leading Plug and Play SaaS API Management platform and services provider, has just announced the launch of a new Open Source API Proxy that provides Enterprises API traffic management on-premises and in the cloud.

3scale’s Open Source API Proxy is built on the NGINX Web Server, a popular, open-source, HTTP server and reverse proxy that currently powers a number of well known sites including Eventbrite, Facebook, GitHub, Heroku, Pinterest, TechCrunch, and WordPress.com.

The Open Source API Proxy when used in conjunction with the out-of-the box API Management solution 3scale provides, makes it possible for API providers to easily open and manage APIs without the need for programming skills and can take “less than 5 minutes” to get started. Additional benefits are described in the press release as follows:

Easily (and securely) open and manage APIs.
Launch APIs with the fastest time-to-market.
Keep control on their API architecture and.
Use proven technologies in the most demanding production environments.
The Open Source Proxy product site provides additional information about what is included with the 3scale/NGINX setup as well as detailed documentation.

The documentation explains how to setup the integration using “proxy mode.” Using proxy mode, integration with 3scale’s management platform can be done without having to make any modifications to the API source code or the need to re-deploy the API.

Source: Programmable Web

New Book Teaches Kids Open Source Programming

You know your programming language is a hit when it becomes the subject of a children’s book — or, at least, a book written for kids. Python, the popular open source programming platform, can now claim that title, with the recent release by No Starch Press of Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming. Will the book assure your kid’s success as the next prodigy of the computer world?

There’s no shortage of books and other guides — such as the extensive documentation and tutorials on the Python website itself — about Python, which enjoys enormous popularity among programmers, especially in the open source world. As a flexible, extensible language that also encourages users through its very design to follow good programming practices, it deserves that attention.

Book titles intended to introduce children to programming, however, are rarer. There are a few examples out there, but by and large, the market for published programming guides has yet to converge with children’s literature.
In a sign of change, however, No Starch Press — whose products are distributed in the United States by O’Reilly, a huge name in technology and science publishing — recently introduced a guide to Python for kids written by Jason R. Briggs. This is the first children’s title from Briggs, a developer who lives in either England or New Zealand, depending on which source you consult.
According to the publisher, Python for Kids tailors to a young audience with examples that “feature ravenous monsters, secret agents and thieving ravens,” as well as “wacky, colorful art by Miran Lipovańća.” Through this medium, the text communicates the fundamentals of working in Python, including dealing with data structures, using functions and modules, handling control structures and more.
To me, learning to program from a book feels ironically old fashioned in the age of the Internet. It’s kind of like using a horse and buggy to tow your car. But for those readers who feel more at home with ink on pages than pixels, Briggs’s book should fit the bill. (For now, the title is available only in print, not digitally.)
What’s more, Briggs and No Starch seem to be latching on to something pretty new. Unlike IT publishing in general, programming literature for kids is a nearly untapped market with plenty of potential consumers. It could be a productive new frontier in IT education, especially in an era when every parent wants her kid to follow in the intellectual paths of people like Bill Gates and Richard Stallman. (Whether one should encourage emulation of the personal choices of such figures, of course, is a separate issue.)

Source: The Var Guy

Saturday, November 10, 2012

VMware releases micro version of Cloud Foundry PaaS

Everything in the cloud seems to be getting bigger or smaller. VMware today went the small route, releasing an updated micro version of the company's popular open source platform as a service (PaaS), Cloud Foundry.

In that aspect, VMware's micro instance of Cloud Foundry seems like a natural move. VMware launched it in 2011 and today the company updated it. As a PaaS, Cloud Foundry is used by developers as a cloud-based tool for creating and deploying applications. Traditionally these PaaS deployments live on large cloud environments made up of multiple virtual machines. But a micro instance, like the one released by VMware today, gives another tool for a developer to more easily test and play around with Cloud Foundry on a single machine.
The sixth paragraph now reads:
VMware says Micro Cloud Foundry has all the same features and functionality of the regular Cloud Foundry, the only limitation will be the power of the single VM that it runs on. In addition to announcing the micro version today, VMware also announced new features that will come with the Micro Cloud Foundry release. These include support for standalone apps, and enhanced support for various programming languages, including Ruby, Java and Node.js.

Source: ComputerWorld

Microsoft Open Technologies announced that it is open-sourcing Reactive Extensions

Microsoft Open Technologies announced that it is open-sourcing Reactive Extensions, an asynchronous programming model for the cloud.

Microsoft has open-sourced an asynchronous programming model known as Reactive Extensions or Rx.

According to a post on the company’s Interoperability@Microsoft, Microsoft Open Technologies (MS Open Tech) is open-sourcing Rx,  a programming model that enables developers to glue together asynchronous data streams.

Microsoft said the model is particularly useful in cloud programming because it creates a common interface for writing applications stemming from diverse data sources, such as stock quotes, tweets, computer events and Web service requests, according to the post written jointly by Microsoft software architect Erik Meijer and Claudio Caldato, principal program manager for Microsoft Open Tech.

Meijer, a proven researcher and software wizard with several Microsoft inventions under his belt, developed Rx and continues his leadership role in the evolution of the technology. The Rx development team will be on assignment with the MS Open Tech Hub, an engineering program to accelerate the open development of the project and collaborate with open-source communities.

The Rx source code will be hosted on Microsoft’s CodePlex open-source project hosting site to increase the community of developers seeking a more consistent interface to program against that works across several development languages and is also open to community contribution. The goal of open-sourcing Rx is to expand the number of frameworks and applications that use Rx in order to achieve better interoperability across devices and the cloud.

“There are applications that you probably touch every day that are using Rx under the hood,” Caldato said in the post. “A great example is GitHub for Windows.”

"GitHub for Windows uses the Reactive Extensions for almost everything it does, including network requests, UI events, managing child processes (git.exe),” said Paul Betts a .NET developer at GitHub is quoted as saying in the Microsoft post. “Using Rx and ReactiveUI, we've written a fast, nearly 100 percent asynchronous, responsive application, while still having 100 percent deterministic, reliable unit tests. The desktop developers at GitHub loved Rx so much, that the Mac team created their own version of Rx and ReactiveUI, called ReactiveCocoa, and are now using it on the Mac to obtain similar benefits."

Scott Weinstein, a principal and practice head at Lab49, said in the post: “Rx has proved to be a key technology in many of our projects. Providing a universal data access interface makes it possible to use the same LINQ compositional transforms over all data, whether it’s UI-based mouse movements, historical trade data, or streaming market data sent over a Web socket. And time-based LINQ operators, with an abstracted notion of time make it quite easy to code and unit-test complex logic.”

And Netflix Senior Software Developer Jafar Husain added: "Rx dramatically simplified our startup flow and introduced new opportunities for performance improvements. We were so impressed by its versatility and quality; we used it as the basis for our new data access platform. Today, we're using both the JavaScript and .NET versions of Rx in our clients, and the technology is required learning for new members of the team."

The Rx offering on CodePlex includes a series of libraries, such as:

Rx.NET: The Reactive Extensions (Rx) is a library for composing asynchronous and event-based programs using observable sequences and LINQ-style query operators.
RxJS: The Reactive Extensions for JavaScript (RxJS) is a library for composing asynchronous and event-based programs using observable sequences and LINQ-style query operators in JavaScript which can target both the browser and Node.js.
Rx++: The Reactive Extensions for Native (RxC) is a library for composing asynchronous and event-based programs using observable sequences and LINQ-style query operators in both C and C++.

Source: eWeek

Friday, November 2, 2012

VMware expands Redis open source in-memory data store programming options

The Redis in-memory data store update adds support for scripting and bit-wise operations

Redis, an open source in-memory data store maintained by VMware, has been upgraded to be more stabile and make more judicious use of memory, two traits that should make it more appealing for enterprise deployments.

"Redis 2.6 is more mature than Redis 2.4 in many ways, and users will have a better overall experience," said Salvatore Sanfilippo in an email interview. Sanfilippo is a VMware open-source developer who authored Redis.

"We already see that Cloud Foundry users love Redis for its simplicity of use. We anticipate this will only increase with Redis 2.6," Sanfilippo wrote, referring to how VMware offers the data store as part of its Cloud Foundry PaaS (platform as a service) offering.

One of a growing number of NoSQL databases, Redis is an advanced key store, one that can accept keys in a wide range of formats, including strings, hashes, lists and other formats. Because of the unique trait, Redis allows complex operations to be executed on the server, minimising the workloads on less-efficient clients.

"Redis is particularly suited for tasks where there is a very high load in general, and especially for very write-heavy workloads, where the data set size is in a range suitable to be stored in-memory," Sanfilippo wrote. "Because the Redis data model is different and exposes an API to manipulated fundamental data structures, there are problems that are simpler to model with Redis."

One job that Redis is particularly well suited for is real-time analysis of data, Sanfilippo said. The Redis data store, which is usually run entirely in memory, can easily work in conjunction with another on-disk data store that would hold a much larger collection of data.

"Just as PostgreSQL was the basis for so many leading analytic relational DBMS', Redis is being adapted for a variety of NoSQL-style products," said database industry analyst Curt Monash. In addition to real-time analysis, Redis is also frequently used as a caching layer, like "memcache on steroids," Sanfilippo said, and even as a messaging system. "Both types [of applications] depend on writing data quickly into simple data structures," Monash added.

The new features with the Redis 2.6 release offer a wider range of capabilities to help in these duties. For this release, significant parts of the Redis core engine were rewritten.

Google Code-in Contest for High School Students Starts this November

Google announced that its Google Code-In contest for 13- to 17-year-old students will begin Nov. 26.

Google has announced that its third annual Google Code-In contest for teenagers will kick off Nov. 26.

Google Code-In is an international contest to introduce 13- to 17-year-old pre-university students to open-source software development. Prizes include certificates and T-shirts, and 20 grand-prize winners will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., next spring for themselves and a parent or legal guardian. Last year, 542 students from 56 countries participated.

According to Google, the goal of the contest is to give students the opportunity to explore the many types of projects and tasks involved in open-source software development. Globally, open-source software development is becoming a major factor in all industries, from governments, health care, and relief efforts to gaming and large tech companies. The IT industry is always looking for developers, and programming jobs typically rank at the top of the most in-demand positions according to job reports posted by eWEEK and other outlets. As such, programs like those at Google help to cultivate developers of the future.

From late November to mid-January, students will be able to work with 10 open-source projects on a variety of tasks. These projects have all successfully served as mentoring organizations working with university students in the Google Summer of Code program.

Google’s highly touted Google Summer of Code is an annual program, first held from May to August 2005, in which Google awards stipends (of $5,000 as of 2012) to hundreds of students who successfully complete a requested free and open-source software coding project during the summer. The program is open to students aged 18 or over. A similar program, the Google Highly Open Participation contest ran in 2007, and in 2010 Google changed the format slightly and the Google Code-In program was born. Now in its third year, the Google Code-In contest continues to reach students from around the globe. There have been 904 students from 65 countries that completed tasks in the Google Code-In contest in the 2010 and 2011 editions of the program.

Meanwhile, for the Google Code-In, the types of tasks students will be working on will fall into the following categories:

Code: Tasks related to writing or re-factoring code;
Documentation/Training: Tasks related to creating/editing documents and helping others learn more;
Outreach/research: Tasks related to community management, outreach/marketing, or studying problems and recommending solutions;
Quality Assurance: Tasks related to testing and ensuring code is of high quality; and
User Interface: Tasks related to user experience research or user interface design and interaction.
“Over the last two years we have had 904 students compete in the contest from 65 countries,” said Stephanie Taylor, a program manager in the open-source team at Google, in a blog post. “This past January we announced the 10 Grand Prize Winners for the 2011 Google Code-In. In June, we flew the winners and a parent/legal guardian to Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters for a five-day/four-night trip, complete with an awards ceremony, talks with Google engineers, Google campus tour and a full day of fun in San Francisco.”

Taylor called on teachers to get involved. “If you are a teacher that would like to encourage your students to participate, please send an email to our team at ospoteam@gmail.com,” she said. “We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.”