Archive for the ‘development’ Category

Post-mortem: Tying Edge to Windows 10 was a fatal error

December 6th, 2018
Post-mortem: Tying Edge to Windows 10 was a fatal error

Enlarge (credit: @AndreTelevise)

As reported earlier this week, Microsoft is going to use Google's Blink rendering engine and V8 JavaScript engine in its Edge browser, largely ending development of its own EdgeHTML rendering engine and Chakra JavaScript engine. This means that Microsoft will be using code from—and making contributions to—the Chromium open source project.

The company's browser will still be named Edge and should retain the current look and feel. The decision to switch was motivated primarily by compatibility problems: Web developers increasingly test their pages exclusively in Chrome, which has put Edge at a significant disadvantage. Microsoft's engineers have found that problematic pages could often be made Edge compatible with only very minor alterations, but because Web devs aren't using Edge at all, they don't even know that they need to change anything.

The story is, however, a little more complex. The initial version of Edge that shipped with the first version of Windows 10 was rudimentary, to say the least. It was the bare bones of a browser, but with extremely limited capabilities around things like tab management and password management, no extension model, and generally lacking in the creature comforts that represent the difference between a bare rendering engine and an actual usable browser. It also had stability issues; crashes and hangs were not uncommon.

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Posted in Blink, chrome, Chromium, development, EDGE, google, JavaScript, microsoft, Open Source, Tech, WebKit | Comments (0)

Microsoft continues its quest to embrace every developer with Visual Studio 2019

December 4th, 2018
Visual Studio 2019 has a new icon; the left one for the release version, the right one for previews.

Enlarge / Visual Studio 2019 has a new icon; the left one for the release version, the right one for previews. (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft today made a number of developer-oriented announcements that continue its theme of the last few years: the company wants its tools—and ultimately its platforms, especially Azure—to be the choice of every developer, no matter which languages and tools they use and no matter what platform they ultimately deploy on.

The centerpiece of Microsoft's developer tools remains Visual Studio, and a first preview of its 2019 edition is now available to download. It integrates the awesome Live Share feature first demonstrated last year and expands IntelliCode, a machine-learning-driven extension to the IntelliSense developer assistance that's been a part of Visual Studio for ages. IntelliCode examines source code repositories to build models of a range of different things, from code formatting preferences to library usage and development patterns.

Currently, IntelliCode works with C# in Visual Studio and Python in Visual Studio Code. It does so by using GitHub's open source repositories as its training data. Visual Studio 2019 expands this to enable analysis of private repositories. It also increases the language compatibility; Visual Studio will add C++ and XAML support, while Visual Studio Code will pick up JavaScript, TypeScript, and Java support.

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Posted in development, microsoft, Open Source, Tech, visual studio | Comments (0)

Microsoft wants Azure to be the multiplayer server solution for every platform

November 14th, 2018
<em>Sea of Thieves</em> is a game already using Azure for its server hosting and scaling.

Enlarge / Sea of Thieves is a game already using Azure for its server hosting and scaling. (credit: Rare)

Microsoft today launched a preview of PlayFab Multiplayer Servers, a new Azure-based service giving game developers dynamic, on-demand scaling of multiplayer servers.

Microsoft bought Seattle-based PlayFab earlier this year with a view to using it to expand Azure's reach in the gaming world. PlayFab is building all the cloud-based infrastructure needed for today's games: matchmaking (using the same algorithms as Xbox Live to try to group players of similar skill together), leaderboards, server hosting, player identity/profile management, commerce, and so on. Broadly speaking, the intent of PlayFab is to let games developers focus on their games, taking care of the server-side work for them. PlayFab's services are platform agnostic, and Microsoft has preserved this aspect: there are SDKs for Xbox, Windows, PlayStation, Switch, iOS, and Android.

At the time of the purchase, PlayFab ran atop Amazon's AWS. Some parts still do, but others have moved to Microsoft's own Azure. The Multiplayer Server feature, released in preview today, is one of the services on Azure. Microsoft has more Azure data centers in more parts of the world than Amazon or Google, which in turn means that Azure servers should generally be closer to where the players are. This should ensure lower latency and a better gaming experience for games on those servers.

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Posted in azure, cloud, development, Games, Gaming & Culture, microsoft, Multiplayer, Nintendo, playfab, PlayStation, servers, Sony, Switch, Tech, XBox | Comments (0)

Chrome 71 will block any and all ads on sites with “abusive experiences”

November 5th, 2018
Chrome 71 will block any and all ads on sites with “abusive experiences”

Enlarge (credit: Isaac Bowen / Flickr)

Google is promising to punish sites that offer what the company calls "abusive experiences." Chrome 71, due for release in December, will blacklist sites that are repeat offenders and suppress all advertising on those sites.

The behaviors deemed abusive cover a range of user-hostile things, such as ads that masquerade as system error messages, ads with fake close boxes that actually activate an ad when clicked, phishing, and malware. In general, if an ad is particularly misleading, destructive, or intrusive, it runs the risk of being deemed abusive.

Chrome already takes some actions against certain undesirable website behaviors; it tries to block popups, it limits autoplay of video, and it blocks certain kinds of redirection. These measures have been insufficient to prevent misleading or dangerous ads, hence Google taking further steps to banish them from the Web.

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Posted in Advertising, chrome, Chromium, development, google, Open Source, Tech, the web | Comments (0)

GitHub is now officially a part of Microsoft

October 26th, 2018
GitHub is now officially a part of Microsoft

Enlarge

satyan@redmond:~/src$ git checkout -b microsoft-acquisitions
Switched to a new branch 'microsoft-acquisitions'

satyan@redmond:~/src$ scp satyan@github.com:/github .

satyan@redmond:~/src$ git add github

satyan@redmond:~/src$ git commit -m "Microsoft announced in June that it
> was buying the Git repository and collaboration platform GitHub for 
> $7.5 billion in stock. That acquisition has received all the necessary 
> regulatory approvals, and has now completed. Nat Friedman, formerly of
> Xamarin, will take the role as GitHub CEO on Monday.
>
> The news of the acquisition sent ripples around the open source world,
> as GitHub has become the home for a significant number of open source
> projects. We argued at the time that the sale was likely one of
> necessity, and that of all the possible suitors, Microsoft was the best
> one, due to common goals and shared interests. Friedman at the time
> sought to reassure concerned open source developers that the intent was
> to make GitHub even better at being GitHub, and that he would work to
> earn the trust of the GitHub community. Those views were reiterated
> today.
>
> Since then, Microsoft has joined the Open Invention Network, a patent
> cross-licensing group that promises royalty free licenses for any patents
> that apply to the Linux kernel or other essential open source packages.
> This was a bold move that largely precludes Redmond from asserting its
> patents against Android, and should mean that the company will no longer
> receive royalties from smartphone manufacturers.
>
> Sources close to the matter tell us that Microsoft's decision to join
> OIN was driven in no small part by the GitHub acquisition. GitHub is
> already a member of OIN, which left Microsoft with only a few options:
> withdraw GitHub from OIN, a move that would inevitably upset the open
> source world; acquire GitHub as some kind of arm's length subsidiary
> such that GitHub's OIN obligations could not possibly apply to
> Microsoft; or join OIN too, as the most straightforward approach that
> also bolstered the company's open source reputation. Microsoft took
> the third option."
[microsoft-acquisitions baadf00d] Microsoft announced...
1 file changed, billions of insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)

satyan@redmond:~/src$ git checkout microsoft-corp
Switched to branch 'microsoft-corp'

satyan@redmond:~/src$ git merge microsoft-acquisitions
Updating cafef00d..baadf00d
Fast-forward
 billions-of-files | billions ++++++++++++

satyan@redmond:~/src$ git branch -d microsoft-acquisitions

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Posted in acquisitions, development, git, GitHub, microsoft, Open Source, Programming, Tech | Comments (0)

After the Windows update fiasco, Microsoft needs to shake up its dev process

October 20th, 2018
Windows 10 during a product launch event in Tokyo in July 2015.

Enlarge / Windows 10 during a product launch event in Tokyo in July 2015. (credit: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

It's fair to say that the Windows 10 October 2018 Update has not been Microsoft's most successful update. Reports of data loss quickly emerged, forcing Microsoft to suspend distribution of the update. It has since been fixed and is currently undergoing renewed testing pending a re-release.

This isn't the first Windows feature update that's had problems—we've seen things like significant hardware incompatibilities in previous updates—but it's certainly the worst. While most of us know the theory of having backups, the reality is that lots of data, especially on home PCs, has no real backup, and deleting that data is thus disastrous.

Windows as a service

Microsoft's ambition with Windows 10 was to radically shake up how it develops Windows 10. The company wanted to better respond to customer and market needs, and to put improved new features into customers' hands sooner. Core to this was the notion that Windows 10 is the "last" version of Windows—all new development work will be an update to Windows 10, delivered through feature updates several times a year. This new development model was branded "Windows as a Service." And after some initial fumbling, Microsoft settled on a cadence of two feature updates a year; one in April, one in October.

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Posted in development, Features, git, microsoft, source code, Tech, updates, Windows | Comments (0)