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Recently in Web Development (December Edition)

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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 series, published monthly, 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!


News and Releases

All of the important news in a single place: releases, announcements, companies bickering, security issues and all related hoopla.

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Chrome Overtakes Firefox Globally for First Time

I admit I saw this coming but never so quickly. Chrome has overtaken Firefox in global marketshare. Chrome accounts for 25.69% of the user pie while Firefox is at 25.23%.

Chrome's number has been increasing lately, overtaking Firefox in the UK, for example. This month, though, sees it leading Firefox for the first time on a global scale. Congrats to the Chrome team!

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Facebook Creates HipHop VM to Improve Performance with PHP

It's no secret that Facebook utilizes PHP on the backend to serve its multi-billion pageviews a month service. PHP's ease of use has also lead to dismal performance and inability to scale.

In the past, Facebook resorted to optimizing the Zend engine but later went with creating their own PHP interpreter. The new HipHop VM is just another step towards making their PHP codebase run faster.

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SOPA Protests Wash Over the Internet

I don't wish to editorialize the contents and ramifications of SOPA so it's best you read up on the Wikipedia page linked below.

Internet users and services worldwide, however, have organized widespread protests in opposition of this bill with the backing of internet giants like the Wikimedia foundation and Mozilla. If you live in the US, do write to your local representatives!

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Dojo 1.7 Released

Version 1.7 of Dojo got released early this month with substantial improvements including a lot of API changes under the hood.

Make sure to hit the link below for more information. And if you're looking to gain mastery over Dojo, make sure to check out our session on the topic.

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SproutCore 2.0 Gets Renamed. And Renamed Again, For Good Measure

I love Sproutcore and tend to use it in a lot of my experiments. The framework has been moving steadily towards version 2.0 and was renamed to Amber.js in the process. Due to a naming collision, with Smalltalk people no less, SproutCore 2.0 is now officially Ember.js

If you're curious as to the rationale behind all this renaming, you can find a lot more at the link below.

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WordPress 3.3 is Now Live

The WordPress juggernaut rolls on with version 3.3 codenamed 'Sonny'. The version ships with, to quote the devs themselves, "significant polish around the new user experience, navigation, uploading, and imports".

WP.Tuts+ has a great overview of the new version, if you're interested. Also, remember to check out the sweet, short video at the link below.

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Sencha Fiddle is Out

Sencha Fiddle is an IDE that lets you start creating mobile applications through your browser. Even though it's not finished yet, the features already in place are great and work well.

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Rails Hits 4.0 Beta

The Rails master branch has officially hit the 4.0 beta mark. Big changes here include dropping support for Ruby 1.8.7. If you're running the older version of Ruby, stick to the 3.x branch and hang tight for 3.2 to be released!

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Arduino 1.0 Released

And to get slightly nerdy, Arduino has finally hit version 1.0. If you're unsure as to what Arduino is, it's a microcontroller which you can program through the Arduino environment.

Version 1 brings a lot of changes including API changes, new classes and much more. You can get to the release notes directly here.

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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.

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stopcensorship.js

Use this script on your site to protest censorship of the Internet.

After the page is loaded the script randomly censors text on the page by replacing the text with black bars. It also places a black bar at the top of the page with a link to http://americancensorship.org/. Viewers can remove censoring for the current session by clicking on the "Remove this" link.

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Sinatra::Synchrony

Sinatra::Synchrony is a small extension for Sinatra that dramatically improves the concurrency of your web application. Powered by EventMachine and EM-Synchrony, it increases the number of clients your application can serve per process when you have a lot of traffic and slow IO calls (like HTTP calls to external APIs).

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jQuery Gantt Chart

jQuery Gantt Chart is a simple chart that implements gantt functionality as
a jQuery component. It's able to page results and read JSON data amongst a ton of other features.

Read more

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Create

Create, from the Midgard Project is a comprehensive web editing interface for Content Management Systems. It is designed to provide a modern, fully browser-based HTML5 environment for managing content. Create can be adapted to work on almost any content management backend.

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Rickshaw

Rickshaw is a JavaScript toolkit for creating interactive time series graphs.

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nanoScroller.js

nanoScroller.js is a jQuery plugin that offers a simplistic way of implementing Lion-styled scrollbars for your website. It uses minimal HTML markup and the latest version utilizes native scrolling and works with the iPad, iPhone, and some Android Tablets.

Read more

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bootbox.js

Enter bootbox.js - alert() and confirm() like behaviour using twitter's modal dialog boxes.

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Broadway

A JavaScript H.264 and VP8/WebM decoder.

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gitdocs

Open-source dropbox alternative powered by git. Collaborate on files and tasks without any extra hassle. gitdocs will automatically keep everyone's repos in sync by pushing and pulling changes. This allows any git repo to be used as a collaborative task list, file share, or wiki for a team. Supports a web front-end allowing each repo to be accessed through your browser.

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Best of the Internet

Often, you're not really looking for a tutorial as much as you're looking for a rant, an opinion or the musings of a tired developer or just something cool with absolutely zero real world use. This sections contains links to precisely those -- interesting and cool stuff from the developer community.

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Why HTML5 Media is not Enough

Amos Wenger on why the media elements introduced with the HTML5 spec aren't evolving fast enough and how he's countering the issues he's facing.

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What Tools Developers Actually Use

A great inforgraphic charting out the tools that developers use and love. There isn't too much data here but should give you a quick overview as to what your peers are using.

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Backbone.js Fundamentals

Addy Osmani is back again with a great little ebook on working with Backbone.js. The content goes over every aspect of the Backbone framework so if you're even remotely interested in working with it, this is a great place to start.

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Cracks in the Foundation

A clear, concise look at what's wrong with the PHP platform. If you're a PHP user, prepare to go in with some denial.

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Wrapping Up

Well, that's about all the major changes that happened in our industry lately.

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!

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