January Week 1
Saturday, 09 January 2021

This is our first weekly digest of 2021 and we are able to share the news that Python is Language of the Year for 2020. We have a full complement of book watch items and the first 5-star book review of the year.

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December 31 - January 6, 2020    

Featured Articles  

JavaScript Canvas - Unicode
Ian Elliot
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Canvas can handle text, but can JavaScript handle Unicode? In this extract from my book on JavaScript Graphics, we look at the basics of working with Unicode characters on Canvas.

The Rise Of People Power - Computer Languages in the 1970's
Harry Fairhead
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The 1970s saw the rise of programming languages created by small groups of people rather than committees or institutions and much of the cause was the number of personal computers that had appeared and were in need of software. This is the story of BASIC and Pascal, both of which have faded away after four decades, and C which is still in its heyday.



Programming News and Views  

Firefox Drops Support For PWA
06 Jan | Ian Elliot
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Firefox is removing its experimental support for installing Progressive Web Apps to the desktop. Whether or not this really constitutes giving up on PWA depends on your point of view, but I think it is disappointing, both for PWA and for Firefox.

Python Is TIOBE Language of the Year Again
06 Jan | Mike James
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The moment we've been anticipating for months has arrived. TIOBE has announced its Language of the Year for 2020 and, as predicted, it is Python. This is a historic first as Python is the only language to have gained this accolade four times.

Apache Camel Updates Kafka Connector
05 Jan | Kay Ewbank
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Apache Camel has been updated to version 3.7, and there is also an updated version of the Camel Kafka connector.

NetBeans Improves Java Support
05 Jan | Harry Fairhead
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Apache NetBeans has been updated to offer improved support for Java 14 and 15 with support for code coloring and formatting alongside handling of new Java language features by autocomplete. The release also contains VSNetBeans, an extension for Visual Studio Code.

Bash 5.1 Reworks Pathname Expansion
04 Jan | Kay Ewbank
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The fifth major release of Bash has been released with improvements including a rework of the way pathname expansion is handled.

Women Boost Computer Science Education Statistics
04 Jan | Sue Gee
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2020 turned out well for Computer Science education. The Hour of Code reached the milestone of over 1 billion engagements worldwide, in the US the College Board reported a 13% growth in the AP Computer Science exams and in the UK there was a 7.6% increase year-on-year in the number of people accepted on to computer science degrees.

Too Good To Miss: The Unreasonable Effectiveness Of GPT-3
03 Jan | Mike James
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This news item from August 2020 is already remembered as when something new happened in AI. I suppose you say that the unreasonable effectiveness of OpenAI's GPT language program is just a special case of the unreasonable effectiveness of Deep Learning but ... it is so much more shocking.

Drones For Hogmanay
01 Jan | Lucy Black
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No not bagpipe drones - the flying kind. Just in case you don't know, Hogmanay is how Scots welcome in the New Year. This is the first time I've seen a drone display that beats fireworks.

Ruby 3 Released Offering Three Times Better Performance
31 Dec | Kay Ewbank
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Ruby 3 has been released. This major new version has goals of improving performance, concurrency and support for Typing. The headline improvement is the performance, with Yukihiro Matsumoto, aka Matz, the chief designer of Ruby, saying that Ruby 3 will be three times faster than Ruby 2. 

Too Good To Miss: Microsoft Solitaire Is 30 Years Old
31 Dec | Kay Ewbank
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Some of our news items deserve a second chance. This one reflects on something that happened in 2020 that wasn't all bad. Microsoft Solitaire turned 30, and Microsoft marked the occasion with a world-record-breaking attempt for the most games played in a single day.


Books of the Week

If you want to purchase, or to know more about, any of the titles listed below from Amazon, click on the book jackets at the top of the right sidebar. If you do make Amazon purchases after this, we may earn a few cents through the Amazon Associates program which is a source of revenue that enables us to continue posting.

Full Review   



Reviewer: Ian Elliot  Rating: 5 out of 5
Verdict: Web Assembley is a hot topic and this book takes the space to explain the ideas. It also goes further into the technology than you might expect. A good book for those versed in C++ and JavaScript.

Added to Book Watch    

More recently published books can be found in Book Watch Archive

From the I Programmer Library

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    Last Updated ( Saturday, 09 January 2021 )