Recently in Web Development Nov 2013


We used to have an awesome series called "Recently in Web Development" which listed out cool happenings around the web development industry. It touched on interesting frameworks, tools, articles and tutorials, helping to organize information in a quick and easy-to-read format.

Based on feedback, we've decided to bring it back and hope that it helps you, our faithful readers, stay on top of the news and announcements of this fast-changing industry.

So without further ado...

News and Releases

Let's get caught up with relevant news and releases from around the web development community.

Rails 4.0.1 Is Out

The Rails framework continues chugging away with its newest update to version four. The big update in this version is a change to the way Active Record handles order calls and the subsequent prepending of an SQL ORDER BY clause. It was primarily done for backward compatibility but worth checking out to ensure your apps behave as expected.

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Google Octane v2.0

Google updated their Octane JavaScript benchmark to include some new tests to simulate complex data structures and memory-intensive applications by measuring (interestingly enough) how fast Microsoft's TypeScript compiler can compile itself. There are also a number of fixes to existing tests to help improve the reliability of measurements. If you're a JS developer, it's definitely worth checking this out.

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AWS SDK for JavaScript

Looks like Amazon wants to get into the "no backend" world for client-side developers. We've seen services like Firebase offer managed back-end services like this making it easier for client-side developers with no backend experience to get up and running quickly. Seems Amazon likes this too since they launched a developer preview AWS SDK for JavaScript.

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Missed the Chrome Developer Summit?

If you missed the Chrome Developer Summit, be sure to at least grab the speaker decks which are chock full of great information on performance, Chrome packaged apps, and the Chrome Developer Tools.

Get the decks

And While You're At It...

Check out Addy Osmani's deck, "Rendering Performance Case Studies", which he used for a talk at VelocityConf. It should go nicely with the decks from the Chrome Summit.

Addy's slides

The Node.js Knockout Contest Announces Its Winners

Node Knockout is a yearly event which always produces some impressive results. This year's winners are no-less impressive with everything from multi-player games to embeddable JavaScript to mine bitcoins.

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Firefox 29 Alpha

This is the nightly version of Firefox which will have the new Australis UI, the first big interface update to Firefox in years.

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New and Notable

Here's a glance at some new resources that might pique your interest. We'll run the gamut from frameworks to books trying to call out new things that look pretty cool and might make your development easier.


RedditKit.rb is a reddit API wrapper, written in Ruby. RedditKit.rb is structured closely to the wonderful Octokit.rb and Twitter gems. If you're familiar with either of those, you'll feel right at home here.

Read more


This component will auto-complete or auto-suggest completed search queries for you as you type. There is very basic keyboard navigation using the up and down keys to scroll up and down the results and enter adds the selection, while hitting escape hides the autocomplete menu.
This is a work in progress.

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Book: Node.js In Action

Node.js in Action is an example-driven tutorial that starts at square one and guides you through all the features, techniques, and concepts you'll need to build production-quality Node applications.

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INIT Front-End Framework

INIT aims to provide you with a decent workflow and structure within your sophisticated web project. INIT is based upon HTML5 Boilerplate and adds more structure for SCSS files, JavaScripts, includes build tasks and a whole lot more.

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grunt-ec2 abstracts away aws-cli allowing you to easily launch, terminate, and deploy to AWS EC2 instances.

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jQuery Evergreen

jQuery Evergreen works with modern browsers. It has the same familiar API as jQuery, and is lean and mean with the following, optional modules: selector, class, DOM, event, attr and html.

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Suggested Reading and Off-Topic

Tutorials are cool but sometimes we just want to read the esoteric and unique. That's what this section is for. Somewhat technical but not necessarily tutorial-based content.

Converting Print Books Into eBooks Using Radically Smart Templates

If you've ever been curious about the technical process of bringing books to a readable form on the web, then this post by Brad Neuberg of Inkling is a must-read.

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4 Golden Rules for Asking Questions on Forums

It may seem obvious to many but knowing how to post for help properly will go a long way to getting you the answer you need.

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How Ready Are the 5 Top US Online Retailers for Black Friday?

The team at Zoompf tested out Amazon, Walmart, Target, eBay and Best Buy to see if they're ready for Black Friday. Check out what they found in their survey.

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Civic Information API: Now Connecting US Users With Their Representatives

Google released their new Civic Information API "that lets developers connect constituents to their federal, state, county and municipal elected officials—right down to the city council district".

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EtchMark Under the Hood: Building a Website That Handles Touch, Mouse, and Pen - and Device Shakes

If you haven't yet seen Microsoft's EtchMark Etch-A-Sketch drawing toy demo, go check it out because it's pretty cool. Then read up on how they built it.

Read more

So Much More...

There's so much going on in the industry and hopefully this will be enough to satisfy your information appetite for now. We'll continue to search out cool, interesting and unique tidbits and bubble them up to you. We'll be back soon with more great information to share.

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