Free computer hardware heading to students this fall in BBC coding effort
The BBC is continuing in its attempts to promote digital literacy in the United Kingdom, by providing approximately 1 million devices to children. The broadcaster will be providing the Micro Bit, a compact electronic board inspired by the BBC Micro from the 1980s, to students in secondary schools this fall, which it hopes will encourage a new generation of coders to create software.
Cute game teaches elementary kids the basic of coding video games
Edutainment took off in the early 1990s, with games like Math Blaster and The Incredible Machine. For the most part, edutainment games have usually been math or science-centric, with enough history and reading thrown in to keep the mix interesting. However, that's beginning to change with a new dawn of kid-targeted apps. Tynker is one such app, which promises to teach elementary-age children how to code their own video games.
'Remarkable' rise nearly 10 times normal, approaches top 20
Apple's Swift language, introduced just last June at its Worldwide Developer's Conference, as risen from 68th place to 22nd in the last six months on a ranking of the most widely-used programming languages. Enterprise developer liason firm RedMonk said it had never seen a growth rate so "meteoric" in the history of its rankings, which first appeared in 2010. When "ties" are discounted, the streamlined language has entered the top 20 just seven months after its debut.
Shows example apps made using Swift, notes colleges adding the language
Continuing its effort to promote its own streamlined object-oriented programming code Swift, Apple has followed up from its Swift blog with a full-blown mini-site on Apple.com. The new site takes a similar approach to Apple's dedicated mini-sites for education and business, highlighting some of the many apps now built using swift and featuring case studies, profiles and links to tutorials and free resources. The new promotional mini-site is in addition to the regular Swift developer site.
Apple offers free guide to new Swift language through iBooks
On the same day it announced a new programming language for iOS and OS X apps called Swift -- but ahead of releasing the Xcode 6 IDE needed to actually code in it -- Apple has published a free e-book guide to Swift on the iBookstore. Similar in nature to the educationally-oriented Scala language, Swift overcomes Scala's Java-based slowness by using C, C++ and Objective-C as its base. The new language provides native speed and the support of existing frameworks, while offering a simplified approach to writing code.
Scheme aims to teach 5 million students the basics of programming
The start of Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15) sees both the Democrat and Republican sides of the US government, as well as a number of celebrities and tech giants, endorsing the "Hour of Code." The initiative hopes for approximately five million students in 33,000 schools in 166 countries to spend time learning how to code, as it attempts to make programming more accessible.
C++, Java falling; C continues dominance
Apple's preferred language for iOS and OS X development, Objective-C, is now more popular than C++, according to the TIOBE index. The growth in the language's popularity points to the enormous rise in iOS programming in recent years. The TIOBE index is based on the number of skilled programers world-wide, courses, and vendor applications, and is derived from search engine results.
Extensions for Sony SmartWatch made open source
Two extensions for the Sony SmartWatch have been released as open source in an attempt to foster app development for the device. The 8 Game extension, a simple game based on sliding tiles to reorganize a picture, shows potential developers how they could create their own titles that can run on the timepiece. The Music extension permits the accessory to control music playback on the linked phone through supported media players, letting existing programming teams add SmartWatch functionality to their software.
Parties interested in developing for the $150 SmartWatch can download the SDK from Sony, with a further request from the electronics giant to suggest other extensions to release as open source.
Programmer passes after fight with illness
Just one week after the tech industry was hit with the news of Steve Jobs' death, computer scientist Dennis Ritchie has also passed. The unfortunate news was announced by friend and colleague Rob Pike, who notes that Ritchie died at his home after a "long illness." The 70-year-old Harvard graduate and veteran of Lucent Technologies and Bell Labs was credited with authoring the C programming language.
Installer for CGI, web apps also improved
Real Software has updated its flagship Real Studio 2011 to Release 3, which updates both the web and desktop versions of the development environment software that offers object-oriented programming tools for cross-platform apps compatible with all three major desktop platforms as well as web-based applications. The new version features 70 improvements and 11 new features, including increased HTML5 geolocation support and OS X Lion compatibility.
Almost everyone has had an idea for a computer program, but trying to convert those ideas into a working application has usually meant using confusing, complicated tools and learning cryptic programming languages such as C++. To make programming more accessible for novices and more productive for veteran programmers, Runtime Revolution offers a unique cross-platform development tool dubbed Revolution 3.0.
BBEdit 9.0, text editor
Many computer professionals need to work with text for writing, designing web pages using HTML code, or writing programs in a variety of languages such as C++, Ruby, or Python. While you could use a word processor, web page designer, or text editor to write code, many of these programs focus on helping you create text, but lack specific features for manipulating text. If you need to create, edit, and manipulate text, you need a professional text editor such as BBEdit 9.0.
Apple adds CUDA dev kit
Apple has updated its download site with the latest version of the NVIDIA CUDA development kit. CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) allows users to crunch mathematical formulas using the GPU resident inside a computer, speeding up otherwise lengthy tasks, such as encoding video or other rich media, as well as scientific and design uses. The kit will allow developers to tweak their code to run optimally on systems such as the MacBook Pro, and its GeForce 8600M graphics chipset.
If you want to write a program for Mac OS X or the iPhone, youíll have to use Appleís Xcode tool. Since Xcode is designed for professional programmers to create complicated applications such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop, itís not easy for novice programmers to learn or master. If you just want the fun of learning to program without the steep learning curve, you may be interested in TileStack, which is currently in beta testing.
BBC and iTunes
BBC today has announced that its programming is now available through the iTunes Store in the U.S. Starting today on iTunes, customers can purchase single episodes and complete seasons of BBC America's sci-fi series Torchwood, the the comedy Little Britain and hit drama series Robin Hood -- which premiered its second season Saturday on cable channel BBC America. During the run of the new season, Robin Hood episodes will be available on iTunes 24 hours after its premiere, Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Like other shows on iTunes, BBC's programming the U.S. for $1.99 per episode and can be viewed on a Mac or PC, iPod with video, iPhone or widescreen TV with Apple TV.
First Look: Revolution 2.9
Programming a computer generally isnít difficult, but requires mastering a specific language along with a handful of programming tools. Unfortunately, most programming languages and tools are geared for professional programmers who can devote time learning a particular programming language and operating system. For someone who just wants to write a full-featured program without getting bogged down in technical details, thereís Revolution 2.9, a cross-platform programming tool that uses a programming language based on plain English syntax. Revolution makes programming easy for novices while offering advanced features for more experienced programmers.
Apple refreshes Mac TM
In brief: We have a review of the Tannoy i30 iPod speaker system, Apple refreshes the "Macintosh" trademark, a 36-hour iPhone programming marathon takes place and iSync phone plugins gets new device support ... We have posted a review of the Tannoy i30 iPod speaker system. This heavy-duty speaker system has an oval shape that is flat from the front view, but extends the oval in the back, complete with an inset hidden handle. The clean front design has not a button to be seen; so all the controls are on the small remote. The front is graced with two non-removable gray grills that cover 4-inch iCT, Inductive Coupling Technology , speakers and an iPod dock, under which is a gray TANNOY label. When removed from its suitcase-like box, the sheer weight of the speaker system is impressive, as is the simple packaging.
iPhone SDK beta 2
Apple has released the second beta of its iPhone SDK for registered developers. The new release includes an Interface Builder, which allows the drag-and-drop integration of graphical components which can be linked to underlying Objective-C code created in Xcode. The new SDK build is a 1.3GB download, available from Apple's Developer Connection site. You must be a registered developer to download the SDK, but no fee or program acceptance is required. Apple's development kit uses the same programming language and interface used by Apple itself and now includes Cocoa Touch, an API designed to add touchscreen input.
iPhone SDK restrictions
Apple yesterday unveiled its forthcoming iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) during a town-hall meeting on its campus in Cupertino, but developers who read the company's own iPhone Human Interface Guidelines say the SDK comes with several troubling restrictions. TechCrunch reports that VoIP services are "basically out of luck," and developers can only use published APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) according to Apple's rules. The most significant limitation, however, is the fact that third-party iPhone applications can never run in the background and will immediately quit when users 'leave' the application to perform another action -- such as making a call.
First Look: REALbasic
Due to a lack of visually-oriented programming tools, the Macintosh has a reputation for being a difficult platform for which to develop applications, especially when designing the user interface. Although Apple includes a free copy of XCode with every Macintosh, XCode is really designed for experienced programmers who are versed in several programming languages. Since C-based languages can be hard to learn and XCode can be confusing as well, most people canít write programs for the Macintosh. Fortunately, thatís all changed with REALbasic 2008 Release 1, the latest version of the cross-platform development tool from REAL Software.
REALbasic 2008 Release 1
REAL Software is now shipping REALbasic 2008 Release 1, its cross-platform development environment for Mac OS X, Linux, and Microsoft Windows. Offering over 39 minor improvements, REALbasic 2008 Release 1 includes a new feature called Introspection, which allows programmers to access the type and characteristics of an object at runtime -- before compiling a program. The new feature makes object-oriented programming easier to use and understand while allowing more advanced dynamic programming techniques in creating REALbasic applications.