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Microsoft's Plan To Split OS From Shell Takes Shape
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: The latest Windows preview from the 20H1 branch, build 18917, has some hidden components that signal a future where the Windows Shell UI parts, such as Action Center, will be separate from the rest of Windows and can be updated with shell packages. A developer who uses the Twitter handle Albacore gave a breakdown of a new component in Build 18917 called 'Shell Update Agent,' which he notes is "capable of obtaining and updating the shell on demand." That capability may mean nothing to most Windows 10 users. However, for Windows watchers it could be an interesting development of Microsoft's unannounced plans for Windows Core OS, in which Windows is modularized and calls on a range of shells that target different form factors, from HoloLens to Surface and dual-screen devices like the recently revealed Centaurus laptop, whose shell is called Santorini. Albacore goes on to explain that the Shell Update Agent references 'Package Family Names,' which suggests that the "shell will indeed be a separate, packaged component." Those shell packages can be acquired from both external and internal sources, which could mean shell components like the Start Menu, Action Center and Taskbar could be selectively built, based on these acquired packages. Finally, one more shell-related change noted relates to a new method for syncing settings. "The new one should support syncing more advanced and previously 'legacy' options such as File Explorer configuration," Albacore notes.

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7,000 Developers Report Their Top Languages: Java, JavaScript, and Python
"JetBrains released its State of Developer Ecosystem 2019 report, which found while Java is still the most popular primary language and JavaScript is the most used overall, Python is gaining speed," reports SD Times: The report surveyed about 7,000 developers worldwide, and revealed Python is the most studied programming language, the most loved language, and the third top primary programming language developers are using... The top use cases developers are using Python for include data analysis, web development, machine learning and writing automation scripts, according to the JetBrains report. More developers are also beginning to move over to Python 3, with 9 out of 10 developers using the current version. The JetBrains report also found while Go is still a young language, it is the most promising programming language. "Go started out with a share of 8% in 2017 and now it has reached 18%. In addition, the biggest number of developers (13%) chose Go as a language they would like to adopt or migrate to," the report stated... Seventy-three percent of JavaScript developers use TypeScript, which is up from 17 percent last year. Seventy-one percent of Kotlin developers use Kotlin for work. Java 8 is still the most popular programming language, but developers are beginning to migrate to Java 10 and 11. JetBrains (which designed Kotlin in 2011) also said that 60% of their survey's respondents identified themselves as professional web back-end developers (while 46% said they did web front-end, and 23% developed mobile applications). 41% said they hadn't contributed to open source projects "but I would like to," while 21% said they contributed "several times a year." "16% of developers don't have any tests in their projects. Among fully-employed senior developers though, that statistic is just 8%. Like last year, about 30% of developers still don't have unit tests in their projects." Other interesting statistics: 52% say they code in their dreams. 57% expect AI to replace developers "partially" in the future. "83% prefer the Dark theme for their editor or IDE. This represents a growth of 6 percentage points since last year for each environment. 47% take public transit to work. And 97% of respondents using Rust "said they have been using Rust for less than a year. With only 14% using it for work, it's much more popular as a language for personal/side projects." And more than 90% of the Rust developers who responded worked with codebases with less than 300 files.

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New Hampshire Unveils a Historical Highway Marker For The BASIC Programming Language
"It took 10 months to get it done, but the Granite State is now officially a Geeky State," writes Concord Monitor science reporter David Brooks. "The latest New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker, celebrating the creation of the BASIC computer language at Dartmouth in 1964, has officially been installed. Everybody who has ever typed a GOTO command can feel proud..." Last August, I wrote in this column that the 255 official historical markers placed alongside state roads told us enough about covered bridges and birthplaces of famous people but not enough about geekiness. Since anybody can submit a suggestion for a new sign, I thought I'd give it a shot. The creation of BASIC, the first programing language designed to let newbies dip their intellectual toes into the cutting-edge world of software, seemed the obvious candidate. Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code has probably has done more to introduce more people to computer programming than anything ever created. That includes me: The only functioning programs I've ever created were in vanilla BASIC, and I still recall the great satisfaction of typing 100 END... But BASIC wasn't just a toy for classrooms. It proved robust enough to survive for decades, helping launch Microsoft along the way, and there are descendants still in use today. In short, it's way more important than any covered bridge. The campaign for the marker was supported by Thomas Kurtz, the retired Dartmouth math professor who'd created BASIC along with the late John Kemeny. "Our original idea was to mention both BASIC and the Dartmouth Time-Sharing System, an early system by which far-flung computers could share resources. They were created hand-in-hand as part of Kemeny's idea of putting computing in the hands of the unwashed masses. "However, the N.H. Division of Historical Resources, which has decades of experience creating these markers, said it would be too hard to cram both concepts into the limited verbiage of a sign." The highway marker calls BASIC "the first user-friendly computer programming languages... BASIC made computer programming accessible to college students and, with the later popularity of personal computers, to users everywhere. It became the standard way that people all over the world learned to program computers, and variants of BASIC are still in use today." In the original submission, an anonymous Slashdot reader notes that last month, Manchester New Hampshire also unveiled a statue of Ralph Baer, whose team built the first home video game sold as Magnavox Odyssey, sitting on a park bench. "The Granite State isn't shy about its geek side."

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