Nothing makes you feel older, than when you find out that your main development language may be dying a death. Java has been a faithful friend from the beginning, but over the past few years there has been a noticeable change in its fortunes. I had resigned myself to being thrown on the maintenance trash heap, like so many COBOL developers before me. However, it seems from the latest TIOBE Software Index that Java continues to hold its own. I’m actually not that concerned, as I have always kept my skills in the top 5 languages more or less up to date, but my preference for web applications will always be for Java. Nice to see there is life in the old dog yet.
Twitter bootstrap V3 has come out of its beta phase and is now on general release. The turn around on this has been phenomenally fast with only 2 release candidates and not a great deal of time passing between release candidate 2 and the final release. Clearly, there will be updates to come but the current version 3 is a huge step forward in terms of support for mobile. I’ve converted most of my services already and it was more or less painless. The biggest problem is now waiting for the plugins from 3rd parties to be updated. Thankfully most of the plugins I use have moved across with few problems, but I suspect there will be many that will break especially around modals.
The release of 3 is great news for product developers, and our thanks should go to everyone who contributed to this release and the continued development of bootstrap.
The cloud has come of age, but the platform wars are still ongoing. For developers focussed on niche products, the platform landscape is fraught with dangerous choices. Despite the promising start of the new generation of cloud platforms, there is still much to be said for managing your own instance.
Sometime in 2008 I jumped head first into Google App Engine. Like most I experienced the torture of the early platform and the joys of each new release. When GAE finally left beta it was clear that the pricing model used by Google had a fatal flaw. For Independent Software Vendors like myself, the lack of visibility on costs was unnerving. I’m happy to pay for a service but without a clear way of projecting costs, staying with Google was a risk. The risk was compounded by having to use Google’s numerous APIs. Don’t get me wrong, these were well designed and a joy to use, but would forever bind any application to the GAE platform.
I woke up yesterday morning to an email from Andy Young at Stripe UK. Stripe is a payment processing provider that focusses on easy of use and ease of integration. The first piece of good news, as announced in Andy’s email is that Stripe is now out of beta in the UK. It’s important to my current product launch because we are acting as a market. I wanted to use Stripe’s Connect functionality to allow our store owners to charge directly and for us to take a percentage of the transaction on the way through. Since all of the store owners who are already signed up for the launch are here in the UK, I couldn’t really use Stripe until it left beta. Now that it has, I have the great pleasure of ripping large amounts of paypal code out of the application.
I could have spent time getting our store owners signed up for the beta, but it would have been far too painful. So despite my desire to use Stripe, I had to invest my time getting the dreaded paypal to work. Now that Stripe is generally available in the UK, I can now commit to it as out payment processing platform.
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable was written by Seth Godin and is published by Penguin Books. If you haven’t heard of Seth Godin, then you’ve missed some of the most exciting ideas that have hit marketing over the last decade. I tend to stay clear of all the self help books and self proclaimed guru guides, but when it comes to Mr. Godin I make an exception. Seth pulls off his guru status with aplomb, for two main reasons. Firstly he has form; he was VP of Direct Marketing for Yahoo. Secondly he has a charming writing style in which he narrates a series of well researched case studies that illustrate his broader point. Seth is above all things a great story teller. As such, he doesn’t dictate but prefers to explore and suggest, leaving you with a hundred new ideas to move your business forward.