Java 10 is Released – a Look at the Latest Version

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Java SE 10 hit the software development scene earlier this week: news that piqued the interest of many application engineers across the world. The venerable programming language is now in its third decade, but still sees wide use throughout the business community. It remains a leading choice for projects still leveraging the object-oriented design model.

Let’s take a closer look at version 10 of Java. Are the new features and functionality something your development team needs to help write better code? The truth lies in the details.

Java 10 is the First of Oracle’s New Release Cycle

Version 10 of Java is the first to be part of Oracle’s new six-month release cycle. Needless to say, expect at least two updates every year in March and September, which is something Java development teams need to consider as part of their own process. Hopefully, the enhanced language features outweigh any compatibility issues due to a new version.

If you are interested in downloading Java 10, simply click on the following link. News about the fresh version of Java appeared in JAXenter as well as other sources. George Saab, vice president of software development of the Java Platform Group at Oracle, commented on their new release schedule to SD Times:

“With JDK 10, we’ll deliver the first major release that was fully developed under the new model. I believe that the breadth of features, their high quality and the smaller scope overall of major releases under the new release model all make it easier for developers to find something exciting in each release, migrate and benefit from the faster cadence. As such, I think that this was a very positive change for the platform overall — it has been reinvigorating in many ways!”

What New Features are included with Java 10?

Arguably the biggest new Java 10 language feature for software engineers is the support for local variable type inference. This is something long held by other programming languages, including JavaScript. The compiler is able to infer the type, which leads to more concise code.

For example, a simple statement like var x = new ArrayList(); just isn’t possible in previous versions of Java. Less time spent typing is something any programmer needs in their professional life!

A variety of performance improvements make up the other major features of JDK 10. For instance, the G1 garbage collector is now able to be run in a fully parallel fashion. Application Class-Data sharing improves the start-up time of the JVM; Java 10 now lets you include the built-in system class loader, the built-in platform class loader, and custom class loaders in this shared archive.
Time-based release versioning allows dev teams to accurately stamp their software releases; this is especially valuable for emergency builds. Linux shops are now able to use the experimental Java-based JIT compiler, Graal to build applications. Thread-local handshakes let you kill individual threads without the extra overhead of invoking a global VM safepoint.

These highlights merely scratch the surface of what’s in the new Java SE 10. Improved performance and the ability to finally use “var” variable declarations appear to be the keys. Stay tuned for the next Java release in September.

As always, thanks for reading the Betica Blog. Keep coming back for additional news from the software development world.

Tracking the Speed of Software Development

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The prime driver for many companies embracing DevOps remains the desire to make the software development process faster. We continually state the following: increased software engineering velocity is a must in today’s competitive business marketplace. Finding the right metrics to track application engineering speed is essential in determining the true return on investment.

What follows is an analysis of a few metrics to help you determine the speed and overall efficacy of your software development team. Perhaps these insights help support the value of your methodology to the executives at your company? Good luck!

Finding the Right Metrics for Software Development

When it comes to tracking software development, finding the right metrics is vital. The continuous integration platform company, CircleCI, published a study looking at some suitable options. An article about their efforts appeared last week in SD Times.

The company’s study leveraged the data from organizations using CircleCI’s platform. It tracked software development efforts from the first half of 2017. CircleCI discovered that three specific metrics reveal a software development team’s overall maturity as well the velocity of their SDLC.

Deploy Time, Deploy Frequency, and Mainline Branch Stability topped the company’s list of metrics. The first two appear to be easily tracked, but what about the third? Jim Rose, CEO of CircleCI, commented on the definition of Mainline Branch Stability.

“If you had to release the most recent version of your code right now, right this second, could you? Is your mainline green and can you deploy whenever you need to?” said Rose. The CircleCI report noted that 80 percent of the companies maintained a deployable codebase 90 percent of the time.

Ultimately, this metric provides a great way to track an organization’s progress towards the DevOps “Holy Grail” of continuous deployment. The top companies using Circle CI – in the 95th percentile – are essentially able to deploy all the time. However, the worst firms – in the 5th percentile – can do so only half the time.

What about Deploy Time and Deploy Frequency?

Deployment time and frequency are traditional metrics used in software development for decades. CircleCI feels they still provide value in a modern Agile or DevOps process. According to Rose, Deploy Time answers this question: “How long does it take between the time you make a commit until it gets into the data center?”

The top companies in their report are able to fully deploy code in less than three minutes. Those denizens of the 5th percentile on average spend a half-hour on each deployment. A smaller deployment time obviously indicates a more efficient and inexpensive process.

Obviously, Deploy Frequency then answers this question: “How often do you deploy and how quickly are you pushing changes?” The top organizations in their survey deploy 32 times a week, while the lowest only are able to deploy eight times each week.

Making Software Development Faster

It helps software development organizations when they understand where they stand compared to other companies in their field. Providing a goal to strive for is essential, especially when CIOs and other execs want to see ROI as quickly as possible. Rose commented on a few best practices for development teams to follow.

“You need to make sure you have a great code review process, pull review process, and a robust set of tests that are automated and constantly run every time someone is making a commit so that you know well before you merge into the mainline that the merge is going to work,” said Rose.

For additional information and advice, check out CircleCI’s report at the following link.

Thanks for reading this edition of the Betica Blog. Stay tuned for additional insights from the software development world.

An Urban Dictionary for Software Developers

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The best tools help software engineers write applications in an efficient and productive manner. These include the ability to look up code samples in an unfamiliar language, or even try to find out the meaning of a term never seen before. In fact, we previously discussed SyntaxDB, a search engine aimed at helping devs find insight in how to use a certain programming language.

This time out we take a look at a new “urban dictionary” for technology professionals, especially software developers. Maybe it belongs in your team’s utility toolbox, residing alongside a fully-functional DAW? Let’s take a closer look.

“A Crowdsourced Dictionary of Coding Terms”

This new software developer urban dictionary is called Hackterms, and it positions itself a crowdsourced dictionary of coding terms. It offers meaningful insight if you stumble upon some unfamiliar jargon, and seems especially helpful as preparation for a technical interview. News about Hackterms appeared on the Dice blog earlier this month.

The Dice post notes that Hackterms essentially serves as a global Wiki for software development. As such, it depends on contributions from its user base for accurate definitions. Even those users not contributing definitions for terms enjoy the opportunity to upvote and downvote existing entries.

So add a measure of Reddit to the Wiki functionality and you get an idea of what Hackterms is all about. It nicely illustrates the power of the crowdsourcing model when applied to a specific topic like software development. Sure, using a general search engine like Google performs a similar function, but without the needle eye focus of Hackterms.

The definitions within this software development urban dictionary are concise and to the point. If you only need a quick answer to your programming query it remains a great option; possibly the best one in the industry. Everything from obvious definitions like “JavaScript” to something more esoteric like “anti-pattern” is in there. Actually, anti-pattern is a trending definition on the site.

Also trending is “Swift,” Apple’s language for easy iOS development and more. We mention this because the Dice article at the time of its publication one week ago noted that Swift wasn’t included. The fact a definition now exists so quickly also highlights the power of crowdsourcing.

The Genesis of Hackterms

Hackterms is the brainchild of Max Pekarsky, a software engineer who also works as an accomplished music composer. He focuses on ensuring the search engine offers concise definitions without source code adding to the overall complexity. In fact, this positions Hackterms as a perfect companion to SyntaxDB.

Max feels his website serves as a reference instead of a programming manual. The website is primarily targeted at those new to software engineering. Still, considering the rapid pace of change throughout the industry, new terms are being invented on a daily basis, making the tool useful for programmers of all experience levels.

If you are interested in contributing to Hackterms, simply create your own account and start adding definitions or merely upvote those already in the dictionary. It provides a great way to feel a part of the worldwide developer community.

Thanks for reading this edition of the Betica Blog. Stay tuned for additional stories and insights from the software development world.