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15 hot programming trends -- and 15 going cold

Peter Wayner | Jan. 7, 2014
We present you with a list of what's hot and what's not among today's programmers. Not everyone will agree but that's what makes programming an endlessly fascinating profession.

That's where CSS frameworks like SASS and its cousins Compass have found solid footing. They encourage literate, stable coding by offering programming constructs such as real variables, nesting blocks, and mix-ins. It may not sound like much newness in the programming layer, but it's a big leap forward for the design layer.

Hot: SVG + JavaScript on Canvas
Not: Flash
Flash has been driving people crazy for years, but the artists have always loved the results. The antialiased rendering looks great and many talented artists have built a deep stack of Flash code to offer sophisticated transitions and animations.

Now that the JavaScript layer has the ability to do much of the same, browser manufacturers and developers are cheering for the end of Flash. They see better integration with the DOM layer coming from new formats like SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). The SVG and HTML comprise one big pile of tags, and that's often easier for Web developers to use. Then there are large APIs that offer elaborate drawing on the Canvas object, often with the help of video cards. Put them together and there few reasons to use Flash anymore.

Hot: Almost big data (analysis without Hadoop)
Not: Big data (with Hadoop)
Everyone likes to feel like the Big Man on Campus, and if they aren't, they're looking for a campus of the appropriate size where they can stand out. So it's no surprise that when the words "big data" started flowing through the executive suite, the suits started asking for the biggest, most powerful big data systems as if they were purchasing a yacht or a skyscraper.

The funny thing is, many problems aren't big enough to use the fanciest big data solutions. Sure, companies like Google or Yahoo track all of our Web browsing; they have data files measured in petabytes or yottabytes. But most companies have data sets that can easily fit in the RAM of a basic PC. I'm writing this on a PC with 16GB of RAM — enough for a billion events with a handful of bytes. In most algorithms, the data doesn't need to be read into memory because streaming it from an SSD is fine.

There will be instances that demand the fast response times of dozens of machines in a Hadoop cloud running in parallel, but many will do just fine plugging along on a single machine without the hassles of coordination or communication.

Hot: Game frameworks
Not: Native game development
Once upon a time, game development meant hiring plenty of developers who wrote everything in C from scratch. Sure it cost a bazillion dollars, but it looked great. Now, no one can afford the luxury of custom code. Most games developers gave up their pride years ago and use libraries like Unity, Corona, or LibGDX to build their systems. They don't write C code as much as instructions for the libraries. Is it a shame that our games aren't handcrafted with pride but stamped out using the same engine? Most of the developers are relieved -- because they don't have to deal with the details, they can concentrate on the game play, narrative arc, characters, and art.

 

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