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Web development is an industry that's in a state of constant flux with technologies and jargon changing and mutating in an endless cycle. Not to mention the sheer deluge of information one has to process everyday.
In this semi-frequent series of articles, we'll seek to rectify this by bringing you all the important news, announcements, releases and interesting discussions within the web development industry in a concise package. Join me after the jump!
All of the important news in a single place: releases, announcements, companies bickering, security issues and all related hoopla.
Github for Mac
Managing your Github repositories got that much more easier with a new official app for the Mac platform. You can start tinkering with existing repos on your machine and as expected, supports all the basic features like making commits, viewing commit history, switching, merging branches et al.
The app is free and can be downloaded from the link below. I really do hope they come up with a Windows version as well!
Firefox 5 Officially Released
Mozilla promised users a faster release cycle, along the lines of Chrome, when Firefox 4 was released and true to its promise, version 5 of the popular browser was released yesterday, just 3 months after version 4.
The new version brings you better overall performance and support for the HTML5 and CSS3 specifications. Another great feature is the Do-Not-Track option that lets the user specify whether advertisers can track your browsing habits through cookies.
The files were available on FTP a couple of days earlier than intended but now Mozilla has lifted the screen allowing public access to the new version of Firefox.
jQuery Mobile Beta 1 Announced
jQuery mobile has caused quite a stir among developers and the first beta is finally out for public consumption. The move from alpha to beta comes with a ton of fixes, performance improvements and some backwards incompatible additions so make sure to check out the changelog before updating.
Microsoft Considers WebGL Harmful
WebGL is a low level API that helps with creating 3D graphics on the web. Microsoft, in a recent blog post, slams the technology as a whole citing numerous issues. One of the main complains is that the API exposes a large surface area to attack. More juicy bits in their post linked below.
Mozilla Counters Microsoft's Arguments
Not content with Microsoft's accusations, Mike Shaver, Mozilla's VP of technical strategy, hit back with a blog post of his own noting that if Silverlight can provide can provide finegrained low level access then so can WebGL. Lots more in his post linked below.
Feel Bad About your CSS with CSSLint
Created by Nicole Sullivan and Nicholas Zakas, CSSLint intends to show you the errors of your ways in writing CSS. There has been a little confusion as to the rules that CSSLint enforces but overall, it's a great tool to improve your code. Check it out at the link below!
Sproutcore 2 Beta 1 for the Front End Junkies
Sproutcore happens to be a favorite of mine -- it's a great framework for building front end heavy web apps. One of the complaints with the initial version was the steep learning curve and the heavy nature of the framework itself. Both of these have been eliminated with version 2. More at the link below.
Firebug 1.8b3 for your Debugging Needs
Firebug is an indispensable tool for a large majority of front end developers and every new version brings with it new features. The latest build, 1.8b3, fixes a number of issues as well brings a new console API endpoint called
timeStamp. Hit the link below for more information about this new release.
New Kids on the Block
As web developers, the sheer amount of resources we can tap into increases exponentially with time. Here is just a quick look at some recently created resources that deserve your attention -- everything from new books to scripts and frameworks.
MockJSON is a plugin for jQuery that can hijack JSON and JSONP requests and respond with randomly generated JSON data. Completely random JSON would be pretty useless of course, so you can specify a JSON template for each request.
Creating presentation without flash used to be a pain. This tiny library lets you creating awesome presentations with the tried and true HTML+CSS+JS combo. Comes with a lot of perks including keyboard and scroll bar navigation and a great API.
Often, you're not really looking for a tutorial as much as you're looking for a rant, an opinion or just the musings of a tired developer. This sections contains links to precisely those -- interesting posts from the developer community.
The Little Book on CoffeeScript
A neat, concise ebook spanning only five chapters that should get you started with CoffeeScript. Highly recommended if you're even slightly interested about the topic.
A super detailed look into eight different noSQL offerings with their pros and cons highlighted. If you're looking for a quick way to find out whether a particular piece is suitable for your next project, this is the way to go.
C# vs C++
The .NET platform is historially perceived as slow and bloated. A developer seeks to dispel that myth through a set of detailed benchmarks. It's quite long but a definite must read.
WTH is happening to Rails?
A Rails enthusiast's musings about the path his favored framework has taken lately. A very interesting read. Make sure to check out the comments to follow an even more interesting discussion.
What's Up With All These Changes in Rails?
Yehuda Katz, a Rails core member, chimes in with his thoughts about the post above. He explains quite a bit as to why each decision was made amongst a ton of other information. Coupled with the reasoned discussion in the comments section, an excellent way to spend an hour.
WebKit and Chrome prerendering
A quick look into the prerendering techniques used by Google to improve load times and perceived responsiveness of a page. A little geeky, sure, but quite informative.
Django 1.3 vs Rails 3: A not so final showdown
A detailed look into the latest iteration of the flagship web development frameworks of the Python and Ruby platforms. Covers everything from setup to MVC to templating, from documentation to toolkits. Great if you're looking to learn either of these and looking for an impartial accessment of each.
Well, that's about all the major changes that happened in our industry lately. Since this is the first of its kind, everything is still up in the air — future editions will be shaped by your feedback.
Do you want us to cover more standard news? A focus on upcoming scripts maybe? Or just more interesting posts and discussions from the community? Let us know in the comments and thank you so much for reading!