JSON Schema bundling finally formalized

8-September-2021: According Unix principles, you have to “write programs that do one thing but do it well”. Smaller programs are much easier to maintain and test. The final cost of developing a large system built from small but reliable components with little cohesion is much less than the cost of a monolithic program with the same functionality - due to the price overhead for finding and fixing bugs. Moreover, small components can be written in different programming languages (the most suitable for each task). However, there is an issue with transferring the results from one component to another in this case. The second postulate of the Unix philosophy states that programs should handle text strings as a universal interface. Complex data is usually transported using some type of markup format. XML is often used because it is human-readable and can be automatically validated using XML Schema. However, XML has some disadvantages, such as a very large overhead on the description of the data structure, which in some cases takes up more than the data itself. The JSON structure concentrates on the data, lowering the overhead. The way JSON self-describes makes it the best performing data format to transport heterogenic data. We believe that the development of a mechanism for automatic JSON validation built on the schema will make this format a more popular mechanism for interprocess communication than XML in the future.

Apple Exploring RISC-V

3-September-2021: This is the second news in the last month about the developing platform. RISC-V’s open processor architecture continues to gain popularity. Another major player has begun to explore this direction actively. For us, this is an absolute signal: software for RISC-V will be in demand. What do we have? There are already a number of debugging boards, compilers for C/C++, some virtual machines for high-level languages (Java, Go, etc.), ported Linux and other systems. However, the whole set of tools is not that large. Accordingly, we have a chance to take the initiative and join the development almost from the beginning: to prepare a set of system software for this platform, such as compilers, optimizers, and low-level analyzers. Once the world’s leading companies start implementing RISC-V chips in their products, such software will be actively used.

Linux turns 30

25-August-2021: 30 years ago today Linus Torvalds introduced Linux to the world. Since then, Linux has become the leading operating system widely used in many applications having a de facto monopoly in some of them - 100% of supercomputers run Linux. The operating system is constantly improving, and new functions appear every release. Such active development has become possible because of the open licensing model. More than three-quarters of the new changes are committed by corporations. For example, Huawei Technologies made 6.5% of all changes for the latest stable kernel. What’s the profit? This extensive collaborated development in company products brings far more revenue than the cost of implementing changes. Developing such a fully proprietary system is much more expensive and would consequently increase the final price of products. It is clear that an open model of development is more competitive. The world runs on open source.

Huawei Release Their First RISC-V Development System – Hi3861

16-August-2021: Open software has many apparent advantages over proprietary. In general, a free license allows third-party developers - individual programmers and companies - to make their valuable contributions to the development of a product. Consequently, the result obtained has a chance to be more functional and competitive than the same proprietary one. However, open and free can be not only software but also hardware, such as processor architecture. Suppose the specification of such an architecture is available on a non-paid and free use basis (including commercial production of physical chips). In that case, such an architecture can, as a result, have considerable support from end-producers and programmers, even if its current stage even lags behind the available proprietary solutions. We believe that using open technologies will lead to a more effective result than developing own or licensing third-party proprietary hardware. Not to mention that such an approach is much less affected by the negative impact of unexpected cases such as international sanctions.

GitHub’s Engineering Team has moved to Codespaces

11-August-2021: Improving software quality is a key goal of the Code Quality Foundation, which is achieved, among other things, by using various tools, such as continuous integration, code checkers, automatic testing utilities, and so on. Configuring and supporting such tools for large projects can take significant resources (including money). Purchasing and maintaining servers gets quite expensive! The use of cloud technologies, where all the necessary tools are already configured and provided to developers (even directly from an IDE), is an obvious path of least resistance for the project manager. Therefore, we need to focus on developing tools that could work with cloud technologies, such as plugins, to find and fix defects in the source code.

GitHub Previews Copilot, an OpenAI-Powered Coding Assistant

07-July-2021: Another tool that uses machine learning to speed up development and improve code quality. Such tools are now being implemented more and more, say, the popular Codota plugin and the recently emerged Tabnine. We now see that the development of tools that improve code quality and are based on artificial intelligence is increasingly being adopted by major services, GitHub is one of them. We believe that using neural networks as part of code analyzers will be more successful and new amazing methods of code analysis for different scenarios await us.

Google is officially releasing its Fuchsia OS

25-May-2021: What is better - microkernel or monolith? Linus Torvalds asked this question in a debate with Andrew Tanenbaum. It was in 1992, and Linux’s version was 0.01. Torvalds insisted that monolith is better as overhead costs for the exchange between processes are reduced. However, monolithic applications and kernels have a significant disadvantage - if it crashes, it does it at all. Rather than monolithic applications, the popularity of microservices technology is rapidly growing. According to OReilly Media, Inc. research, more than three-quarters (77 %) of businesses have now adopted microservices. A microkernel operating system must have a rich interprocess communication solution. Therefore, the overhead costs for microservices in such a system are lower. Now, we observe a new and successful attempt to develop a modern design that implements a proven approach. We believe that releasing such an advanced and open-source system will shift the focus of application development from monolithic to distributed. In this solution, small elegant processes each does a clearly defined task, only one, but does it well.

First public working draft from W3C: WebGPU and WebGPU shading language

18-May-2021: Six more years ago, the HTML5 standard was released, but even before the release, the new technology significantly changed the world of web (and non-web) programming. “HTML5 Leads a Web Revolution”, - such was articles headers. Indeed, many typical applications are built using this standard now. Also, HTML5 can be used not only for the web. For example, the popular IDE Visual Studio Code is based on the Monaco editor, which is implemented using TypeScript, renders the content on HTML5 canvas. So, now the GPU on the Web Community Group is taking the next serious step, namely, the hardware-accelerated 3d graphical API specification. We presume that after implementing this standard and its support by most modern browsers, the development of 3d applications (mostly games) will be significantly shifted to the web, as it will be a cross-platform and fast-working solution. As a result, more efforts should be made to develop tools to improve JavaScript code quality as a basic language for web applications.

Kickstarting AI for Code: Introducing IBM’s Project CodeNet

12-May-2021: IBM announces CodeNet, a collection of 14 million code examples that solve 4053 typical programming problems, a total of 8 GB of archived data. We presume that the problem of improving the quality of source codes will be constantly and highly relevant. Also, we believe that the active introduction of machine learning technologies in this problem space attests to the successful results of such research. Consequently, it will lead to a rapid increase in the share of artificial intelligence in the source codes analysis compared to static methods.

QEMU version 6.0.0 released

30-Apr-2021: The undoubted advantage of QEMU is that it allows emulating any architecture on any machine (or server). The new 6.0 version offers a significant number of changes to support modern platforms. In our opinion, the tool is a sound basis for more in-depth testing of the quality and functionality of the source code, for example, for building CI/CD systems that simultaneously support several hardware architectures. As a result, it will simplify the development of system software, compilers, virtual machines, and other platform-dependent code.

HPVM v1.0 released

9-Apr-2021: Heterogeneous computing refers to systems that use more than one kind of processor or cores. Many chip manufacturers offer their solutions, in particular, for the binding of the CPU and neural processors. The disadvantages of this approach are proprietary source code of compilers and closed interfaces, which do not allow developers to improve the quality of such applications and implement code analyzers and automatic bug fixing tools. The new HPVM compiler is an attempt to find an effective standardized common solution. This solution positioning itself as a more low-level and flexible approach than competitive frameworks such as OpenCL. We presume that the release of the HPVM backend will encourage the development of high-performance specified programming languages related to heterogeneous computing such as graphics processing, neural algorithms, or neural networks.