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The .NET platform has always been a mainstay of the desktop and server app development field, powering Windows Forms, WPF, ASP.NET, and many years of Line of Business (LOB) apps. Today, however, .NET is a very different platform; it's powered by an open-source API-based compiler platform, features in-built scripting capabilities, and C# can be authored effectively in many IDEs, not just from Microsoft.
If you are reading this, you probably care about, or are at least mildly interested in, open source. Like you, I care about and am interested in open source. Perhaps unlike you, I am also a webcomic artist. You can find my work at Herpaderp.party.
This is a story about how I came to use and, indeed, vaunt open source. I'll also tell you about how and why I produce my comic using open source tools and infrastructure.
After leaving the military, Army Captain David Molina knew he wanted to go into software development. As Molina did research on the field, he found himself overwhelmed by the vast amount of information and choices. For example: What coding language is the right one to learn? What language is the most valuable for being competitive in the job market? To add to the confusion, there are a myriad of for-profit code schools that are proliferating at an exponential rate, and each one advertises career outcomes for a fraction of the cost of a four-year computer science degree.
Having OpenStack experience continues to be among the most in-demand skills in the tech world, as organizations continue to seek to build and manage their own open source clouds. But OpenStack is a big topic, made up of dozen of individual projects that are being actively developed at a rapid pace. Just keeping your skills up to date can be a challenge.
This year at the Percona Live open source database conference, I will present a talk on the latest replication features in MySQL 8.0.
By Bill Weihl, Director of Sustainability
Protecting the environment is just one important part of keeping our global community safe, which is why on this Earth Day, all of us at Facebook hope that people from around the world who use our family of apps and services will join us in showing their support for our planet.
Building a global community that works for everyone requires that we create spaces where people can show their solidarity for issues and causes that they are passionate about. In fact, in 2016 the global Facebook community came together to celebrate Earth Day, making it the #1 topic on that day. Here are a few interesting ways people have come together on Facebook to show their support for the environment:
- Nearly 1.6 million people plan to participate in Earth Day activities through a Facebook Event
- More than 1 million people are members of Earth Day related Groups
- People used nature related emojis 2x more during Earth Month compared to the previous month
- Top topics co-occurring with Earth Day were Happiness, Love, Climate Change, Earth and Environmentalism
- Top languages used to celebrate Earth Day are “Día de la Tierra” in Spanish, “Tag der Erde” in German, “Giornata della Terra” in Italian, “Jour de la Terre” in French and “Ngày Trái Đất” in Vietnamese.
We are also committed to doing our part. For an entire year of one person’s Facebook use, our carbon footprint is less than the impact of boiling water for one pot of tea (355g CO2e)*, and in 2018 our goal is to have at least 50% clean and renewable energy in our electricity supply mix for our operations.
This Earth Day we hope people will show their support on and offline, and are providing the tools to make it easier:
- Profile frames: People can find a non-profit organization’s frame and add it to their profile by visiting facebook.com/profilepicframes or by tapping on the “Add Frame” button on your profile picture.
- Camera: People can express themselves by creatively enhancing their photos and videos using an Earth Day-themed frame.
- Groups & Events: People can find a local Earth Day Event or discover an environmentally-focused Group that’s relevant to issues close to their heart and get involved.
- Fundraisers: Additionally, in the U.S., people can go to facebook.com/fundraisers to start a fundraiser for a favorite nonprofit on behalf of environmental causes.
For more information about Facebook’s sustainability commitments, please visit sustainability.fb.com.
* Facebook’s annual per-user carbon emissions: 281g CO2
Help us collect community knowledge by blogging about the weekly community management theme. Blog posts are due the following Thursday after each new theme is announced. Next week's challenge is Difficult Conversations.
Check out ways to recruit new community members in week #1 blogging challenge.
In this week's top 5, we highlight projects for Raspberry Pi at home, how to write fast and thread-safe Python, 12 ways to study a new programming language, a Linux-friendly amplifier for listening to music, and 3 open source boilerplate web design templates.Top 5 articles of the week
Welcome back to Nooks & Crannies! After a month off for my wedding, I've been digging around for some interesting bits for upcoming columns. This month, I'll take a look at some open source code libraries that developers can use to handle MARC-formatted records.
Whether you're taking up programming for the first time, or learning your 50th language, you might ask, "What's the best way to learn to program?" I surveyed dozens of people who taught themselves to program in Rust as part of my OSCON talk in 2016, and asked the expert autodidacts what advice they would give to others for picking up a new language. I found that despite their diverse backgrounds, all of my interviewees shared five common approaches to building new programming skills.
OpenStack Ocata has now been out for a little over a month and we're about to see the first milestone of the Pike release. Past cycles show that now's about the time when people start looking at the new release to see if they should consider moving to it. So here's a quick overview of what's new in this release.
In the colophon to his book, Just a Geek, actor and writer Wil Wheaton wrote that he wanted to use Emacs to write the book but "couldn't find the text editor." Wheaton was joking, of course, but he highlighted an important point about Emacs: it's gone way beyond its roots as a tool for editing text.
Open source is a developer-centric solutions model, which, in a nutshell, could be described as building communities of developers to solve problems.
In its most simplistic form, the model has two stages. First, a developer has a problem, which they can fix with some new code, and they make a start on it. Second, if they then make their solution available to other developers it can develop into a full blown thriving open source community. When it works it is a fantastic process to behold and it this simple model that has changed the history of computing.
Now that's a word with a negative vibe. Among engineering and construction projects, it conjures up the Titanic sinking, the Tacoma Narrows bridge twisting in the wind, or the space shuttle Challenger exploding. These were all failures of engineering design or management.
Today concludes F8, our annual two-day event where developers come together to explore the future of technology.
In the opening keynote, Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer talked about our goal to develop technology that will help everyone build global community. To do that, we’re investing in a number of foundational technologies over the next 10 years, including connectivity, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality.
Schroepfer and other keynote speakers — Director of Connectivity Programs, Yael Maguire; Director of Applied Machine Learning, Joaquin Quiñonero Candela; Chief Scientist of Oculus Research, Michael Abrash; and Vice President of Engineering and Building 8 Regina Dugan — shared updates and visions for some of our long-term focus areas.
Read more about the topics in today’s F8 keynotes below:
Rather than look for a one-size-fits-all connectivity solution, Facebook is investing in a building-block strategy — designing different technologies for different use cases, which are then used together to create flexible and extensible networks.
Today we highlighted new milestones in our efforts to reach people who are unconnected and increase capacity and performance for everyone else. Our team set three new records in wireless data transfer: 36 gigabits per second over 13 kilometers point-to-point using millimeter-wave (MMW) technology; 80 gigabits per second between those same points using our optical cross-link technology; and 16 gigabits per second from a location on the ground to a circling Cessna aircraft over 7 kilometers away using MMW. Additionally, our Terragraph system being tested with San Jose in the city’s downtown corridor has become the first city-scale mesh millimeter-wave system capable of delivering fiber-like multi-gigabits/s of performance and reliability.
We also announced Tether-tenna, a new kind of “insta-infrastructure” where a small helicopter tethered to a wire containing fiber and power can be deployed immediately to bring back connectivity in case of emergency.
AI is a powerful tool, and Facebook is leveraging it to build amazing visual experiences for people — including an AI-infused camera across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. With the ability to run cutting edge AI and computer vision algorithms on the device, this camera can now understand your surroundings, recognize people, places and things. It can annotate and enhance images and video. The new Camera Effects Platform gives developers a way to build new tools for creative expression, and we shared a few demos of ideas that have come out of our research.
In a keynote presentation today, Applied Machine Learning Director Joaquin Quiñonero Candela talked about how AI has revolutionized the ability of computers to process and understand images and videos. It’s easy to forget that only five years ago, computers saw images as just a collection of numbers, with no particular meaning to them. Now computers can understand every single individual pixel of an image. These advancements enable new experiences, like adding digital objects and effects to a real world scene.
We believe AI belongs to everyone. That’s why in addition to opening the Camera Effects Platform, we announced that we are open sourcing Caffe2 — a framework to build and run AI algorithms on a phone — and building partnerships with Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and others.
Facebook is investing in VR across mobile and PC hardware, software and content — from Oculus Rift and Gear VR to Facebook Spaces.
Today we introduced the newest designs for the Surround 360 technology that allows people to produce amazing high quality videos for VR. The new x24 and its smaller counterpart, x6, create some of the most immersive and engaging content ever shot for VR. The new camera technology lets you move around within the video scene and experience the content from different viewing angles. This means you can move your head around in the world and see it from different angles — what’s known as six degrees of freedom, or 6DoF — bringing the feeling of immersion and depth to a whole new level.
On day one of F8, Mark Zuckerberg talked about how the camera is the first augmented reality platform. Today Chief Scientist of Oculus Research Michael Abrash shared a vision for the path to full AR — where augmentation enhances your vision and hearing seamlessly while being light, comfortable, power-efficient and socially acceptable enough to accompany you everywhere.
He talked about the rise of virtual computing — which encompasses both virtual and augmented reality — as the next great wave after personal computing. Virtual computing is just starting to form, but it will give us the ability to transcend time and space to connect with one another in new ways.
In order to make virtual computing as much a part of everyday life as the smartphone is today, we’re going to need see-through augmented reality, which will likely be transparent glasses that can show virtual images overlaid on the real world.
The set of technologies needed to reach full AR doesn’t exist yet. This is a decade-long investment and it will require major advances in material science, perception, graphics and many other areas. But once that’s achieved, AR has the potential to enhance almost every aspect of our lives, revolutionizing how we work, play and interact.
Building 8 is the product development and research team at Facebook focused on creating and shipping new, category-defining consumer products that are social first, and that advance Facebook’s mission. Products from Building 8 will be powered by a breakthrough innovation engine modeled after DARPA and shipped at scale.
At F8 we announced two projects focused on silent speech communications.
We are working on a system that will let people type with their brains. Specifically, we have a goal of creating a silent speech system capable of typing 100 words per minute straight from your brain – that’s five times faster than you can type on a smartphone today. This isn’t about decoding your random thoughts. Think of it like this: You take many photos and choose to share only some of them. Similarly, you have many thoughts and choose to share only some of them. This is about decoding those words you’ve already decided to share by sending them to the speech center of your brain. It’s a way to communicate with the speed and flexibility of your voice and the privacy of text. We want to do this with non-invasive, wearable sensors that can be manufactured at scale.
We also have a project directed at allowing people to hear with their skin. We are building the hardware and software necessary to deliver language through the skin.
For more details on today’s topics, see our Developer Blog and Engineering Blog. You can also watch all F8 keynotes on the Facebook for Developers Page. Find additional assets and product images on our F8 press page.
Watch the full day two keynote here.
I developed my first web app as part of my final project in college. Instead of developing a web app only for the purpose of completing my project, I chose to develop one that could solve a real-world problem. I decided to create Cyber Manager, an online cyber cafe management system for cyber cafe administrators, which has been downloaded nearly 3,000 times since I first uploaded it on SourceForge.net in 2011.
At this year's Percona Live open source database conference, I'll be discussing automatic MySQL schema management with Skeema. Skeema solves many problems that software engineers and DBAs encounter when managing migrations. How can they keep schemas in sync across development, staging, and production systems?
In my keynote address a year ago at the OpenStack Summit Austin, I offered the OpenStack community an ultimatum. First, I described how our world was exploding with connected devices (50 billion by 2020) and that 400 million new servers would be needed to process and store that data, which creates a massive challenge for those of us in the infrastructure business. How will we meet the needs of users at that scale?
The answer is simple: collaborate or die.
Today marks the first day of F8 2017, our annual event where developers come together to explore the future of technology. More than 4,000 people attended the event at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, and millions watched the keynote via Facebook Live.
Mark Zuckerberg opened the conference with a keynote about how the camera is the first mainstream augmented reality platform. People are already using the cameras on their phones to write text on images, add digital objects and modify existing things with face filters and style transfers. That’s why today we announced the Camera Effects Platform, giving developers the power to build AR tools for the camera and bring people together in new ways.
Read more about today’s F8 keynote announcements from day one speakers Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer; VP of Platform & Marketplace Deb Liu; Head of Social VR Rachel Franklin; VP of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong; and VP of Messaging Products David Marcus.
Camera Effects Platform
We’re offering a suite of creative tools to give our community of artists and developers the power to create a full spectrum of effects for the new Facebook camera, from simple photo frames to interactive effects and masks using the latest in augmented reality technologies.
The Camera Effects Platform includes two products: Frames Studio and AR Studio. Frames Studio is an online creative editor, now available globally, that allows you to design frames that can be used either as profile picture frames or in the new Facebook camera. AR Studio, now open for beta applications, can be used to create masks, scripted effects, animated frames and other AR technologies that react to movement, the environment or interactions during Live videos.
See how Live effects work by checking out two we’re starting to roll out in Facebook Live: This or That and GIPHY Live. Both effects are powered by AR Studio and are designed to respond in real time to what’s happening in a Live broadcast.
Facebook Spaces is a new VR app where you hang out with friends in a fun, interactive virtual environment as if you were in the same room. Facebook Spaces is launching in beta for Oculus Rift today.
With Facebook Spaces, you can view Facebook content with friends in VR, including 360 videos and photos that can transport you to new places. You can draw in the air with a virtual marker to create anything you can dream up, from a decorative hat to a handmade tic-tac-toe board. Facebook Spaces lets you easily phone a friend in the real world with Messenger video calling, so you can bring even more people into your VR space. They can answer your call on their phone to instantly open a window into your virtual world. Of course, there’s a selfie stick too. Use it to take photos of your experience and share the memories you create in VR with your friends on Facebook.
Today we announced a new program for developers all over the world to connect, learn, and collaborate with other local developers. Developer Circles is a community-driven program that’s free to join and open to any developer. Each Developer Circle is led by members of the local community who act as leads for the circle, organizing events offline and managing a local online Facebook community. Developer Circles are forums to share knowledge, collaborate, build new ideas and learn about the latest technologies from Facebook and other industry leaders.
Today we launched the Places Graph, providing free access to data on more than 140 million places around the world. These places include everything from public spaces and parks, to restaurants, stores and other local businesses. The data includes place names, addresses, photos, Facebook consumer ratings and more. Apps can use this data to create location-aware experiences that help people learn more about where they are so they can make informed decisions about where to go and what to do.
If you have an app and a Messenger bot, we’ve made it simpler for you to connect with the same person using both. Our new API allows you to map between a Facebook Login ID and a Messenger ID, so you can serve your customers smoothly across both experiences.
Facebook Analytics — formerly known as Facebook Analytics for Apps — is a powerful, free product for accessing rich audience demographics, and measuring customer behavior across channels. Today we announced new capabilities designed to help you understand and optimize your complete customer journey across the channels you use to interact with customers, such as your app and website.
Our new Automated Insights tool uses advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence to bring valuable insights directly to you. With this new feature, you’ll see insights such as changes in purchases for a new version of your app, or variations in engagement across people in different cities.
Since the Messenger Platform debuted a year ago, it has become an essential channel for businesses, developers and consumers. The ecosystem has more than 1.2 billion people, 100,000 developers and 100,000 monthly active bots, and 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses on Messenger every month.
Some of the new features and advanced tools announced today include:
- A new Discover tab that allows people to find the bot for Messenger they’re looking for in an intuitive and thoughtful way, right from the home screen in Messenger. We’ve also enabled discovery in the physical world with new parametric Messenger codes. This gives people the option to scan Messenger Codes through the Messenger camera and link to their favorite brands and businesses.
- Chat Extensions, which allow multiple people to chat with the same business at the same time. People can now add in a bot directly in a group thread and share the conversation and experience.
- Messenger’s AI assistant, M, now offers the ability to order food through delivery.com. For instance, if you’re chatting with friends about what to grab for dinner, M will suggest placing an order. The whole experience can be completed in Messenger, including group ordering and payment.
- New rich gameplay in Messenger including game bots and much more.
- Smart Replies, which help Pages to respond to the most frequently asked questions that small businesses receive, such as business hours, directions and contact details.
- Hand-over Protocol, a new way for businesses to work with multiple developers for different experiences on Messenger.
For more details on today’s news, see our Developer Blog and Engineering Blog. You can watch all the day one keynotes on the Facebook for Developers Page. Find additional assets and product images on our F8 press page.
Watch the full keynote here.
F8 2017 continues tomorrow, with a focus on our long-term investments in connectivity, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and hardware. Keynote speakers include Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer; Connectivity Program Director Yael Maguire; Applied Machine Learning Director Joaquin Quiñonero Candela; Oculus VR Chief Scientist Michael Abrash; and Building 8 Vice President Regina Dugan.
By David Marcus, VP of Messenger
- New Ways to Discover: Businesses and Brands
- New Ways to Connect: Share your Favorite Music, Play Games, Order Food
- New Ways for Developers to Build: Platform 2.0
Last F8, we opened the Messenger Platform to the global community of developers. Since then, we have listened and learned a lot, and we’re thrilled to see it become a thriving channel for brands, developers and consumers to connect with each other and the things they love. We’ve also spent the last 12 months focused on improving and launching products and features that help us all stay in touch in delightful ways – from our new camera, group video chats and even games.
The numbers may be impressive, but they don’t immediately capture the impact we have seen bots for Messenger have on people around the world or the ways in which the community of developers have built for the common good. From translation bots helping refugees, to bots that answer health questions, opportunities to support causes and even experiences that assist students with homework — the creativity, ingenuity and vision of our bot developer community has been awesome.
We think of Messenger as being like the new social living room for the world, where people can hang out, share, chat, play games or buy things, while still being able to reach nearly everyone, wherever they are. We now think we are combining two tools of the past — the telephone directory (the way we used to find people) with the Yellow Pages (the way we used to find businesses).
Here’s all our F8 news:
Making Messenger More Seamless and Fun
- Discovery in the Digital World – Discover tab: We wanted to find a way to make it easy and simple for people to find the businesses they care about in Messenger. We’ve built a Discover tab, and starting to roll out to a few people in the US today, right from the home screen, people can find their recently used bots, popular experiences and a free-form search field. Developers can learn more about how to apply to have their bot included in this curated tab by going here.
- Discovery in the Physical World – Messenger Codes: Our new parametric QR codes will enable people whenever they are out and about at events, like at basketball games and concerts, to be able to find out more from a bot for Messenger, just by simply scanning the code in the Messenger camera.
- Chat Extensions: The experiences being built in Messenger are inherently social. Now with Chat Extensions, we enable multiple people to chat with the same business at the same time. If you are excited to share the newest song you love, you can now add a bot directly in a group thread and share the conversation and experience with your friends. We think that this will enable people to virally share bots. You can currently find favorite brands like Spotify, TheScore, OpenTable, Food Network, NBA, Wall Street Journal and Kayak — with many more on the way.
- More from M: M, our virtual assistant, now makes suggestions in your conversations, offering up ways to make your life simpler. These include fun stickers to say “thank you,” a reminder to meet up with a friend, or an easy way to pay someone back or get paid via peer-to-peer payments. Powered by artificial intelligence, M recognizes when people are doing specific tasks and provides helpful suggestions. We think the next step is to offer people more ways to do more – so today M can now offer the ability to order food through delivery.com. If you’re chatting with friends about what to grab for dinner, M may suggest placing an order. The whole experience can be completed in Messenger, including group ordering and payment. The more you use M, the more it will make relevant suggestions to you. This is available in the US where delivery.com serves.
- Introducing New Rich Gameplay: With over 1.5 billion games played in just the last 90 days, now we are adding some additional product features like game bots and Rich Gameplay (turn-by-turn games) to make your gaming even more fun. And it’s now even easier to challenge your friends to a game in Messenger by tapping the Games tab on the Messenger home screen – which is starting to roll out today to some people in the US.
Helping Developers and Businesses Build and Create
- Smart Replies for Pages: One pain point for many small businesses is managing messages they receive. Small businesses benefit greatly from having messaging turned on so they can interact with and provide service to their customers as quickly as possible. Today, we’re launching the ability for Pages to respond to the most frequently asked questions, such as business hours, directions and contact details. Powered by our AI bot engine, Wit.ai, Smart Replies offers an API that enables businesses to create an AI-powered responder to these types of FAQs.
- Parametric Messenger Codes: Businesses are now able to generate multiple parametric QR codes for one bot, offering their customers more choice. For example, to track where a code was scanned, or to apply a different QR code for each table at a restaurant. This also gives people the potential to scan via the camera instead of the QR scanner feature.
- Hand-over Protocol: We’ve provided a way for businesses to work with multiple developers for different experiences on Messenger. For example, a business might want to have a personal shopping bot and also a customer service bot. Different vendors and developers will be able to manage the conversation for the use case the customer is requesting.
That’s all our news! We hope that Messenger Platform 2.0 will enable our developer community to enhance experiences, leverage the power of AI and build more bots to help businesses connect in more meaningful ways. We know that developers will continue to create amazing and powerful experiences for people all over the world, and we’re excited to see these come to fruition. The team here at Messenger is dedicated to supporting all of this potential; we’d like to thank our community, and as always, please let us know what you think.