As editor of Database Weekly, a weekly newsletter on what’s new in the world of databases and data storage generally, I enjoy poking around new database systems and seeing what ideas might end up affecting everyday developers in the decades to come.

The database world isn’t packaged with mind-bending announcements on a weekly basis, but over the course of a year it never fails to surprise me how many new things we do see, and how unrelenting the progression is. …

Where I take a stab into the dark of Ruby 2.4.1’s (?~…)

A slide from possibly the most intimidating slidedeck I’ve seen so far in 2017.

Ruby 2.4.1 was released this week and included an upgrade to its underlying regular expression engine, Onigmo. The headline feature in this update was support for ‘the absent operator but what is this and what is it for?

An issue on the Onigmo repository about the absent operator pointed to a 2007 Japanese academic paper [PDF] by Tanaka Akira that, to my delight, uses Ruby for its examples. Not being a reader of Japanese, I struggled to grasp the concept but it seemed to promise to provide developers with a new mechanism to more easily notate complex matches.

Ruby 2.4.1, a ‘teeny’ release, has been released. If you want the raw files, the official Ruby site has the goodies, or you can check out the Downloads section below.

I’m going to quickly run through what’s different compared to Ruby 2.4.0 and why you should consider upgrading (or not). I’ve tried to put things into a rough order of priority or personal interest.

Most of the changes are fixes for regressions, with the Onigmo regular expression engine update introducing the only new “feature” I could find.

There’s a new patch level release (1.11.11) of NGINX, the popular open source Web server and load balancer, with the following changes:

*) Feature: the "worker_shutdown_timeout" directive.

*) Feature: vim syntax highlighting scripts improvements.
*) Bugfix: a segmentation fault might occur in a worker process if the $limit_rate variable was set to an empty string.

*) Bugfix: the "proxy_cache_background_update", "fastcgi_cache_background_update", "scgi_cache_background_update" and "uwsgi_cache_background_update" directives might work incorrectly if the "if" directive was used.

*) Bugfix: a segmentation fault might occur in a worker process if number of large_client_header_buffers in a virtual server was different from the one in the default server.

*) Bugfix…

Rekognition is a new Amazon Web Service that “makes it easy to add image analysis to your applications.” It can detect faces and objects, and even let you store libraries of faces for future recognition.

If you’ve ever used an AWS service from Ruby before, doing some simple image rekognition (sic) is straightforward.

Create a .env file with your AWS credentials

AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID=[put that key here]
AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY=[and the other one here]

Get the credentials from AWS, as you would for any other service. (For extra security, use IAM to create credentials solely for Rekognition.) …

We’ve looked through the stats for the 20 issues of JavaScript Weekly published so far in 2016 and have collected together the most popular React articles, videos and tutorials readers have clicked on.

JavaScript Weekly is a newsletter sent every Thursday with the most important links in the JavaScript community Join over 100,000 other subscribers and sign up for free here.

I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for the next interesting avenue for engaging with our audiences and potential audiences for our newsletters, such as JavaScript Weekly.

One of Snapchat’s biggest features is filters. These let you manipulate how the videos and photos you take in Snapchat look. Going another step further, geofilters are available only in certain geofenced areas. For example, if you’re in downtown SF, you’ll see a downtown SF overlay available to use.

Marketing didn’t really tie in with this until the release of On-Demand Geofilters

It immediately struck me that these filters could be used…

The exit poll suggests the mostly (if Clegg agrees with them) incumbent Tories are going to take many more seats in today’s general election than pre-election polls led us to believe.

But, I’m not surprised.

Numerous news sources have declared anywhere between 20–25% of voters in this election would be “undecided” voters who’d barely have an idea of who to vote for by the time they reached their polling stations. These are not conviction-based voters with clear reasons to vote Green, UKIP, SNP, or the rest.

Historically, when undecided voters make it into the booth, four things have been shown…

An overview with some practical numbers

Earlier I was having a brief Twitter back and forth with Laurent Sansonetti who runs the small Belgian company that produces RubyMotion. We were discussing the tax situations for small businesses in our countries.

Due to significant tax benefits for larger (but not smaller) companies in Belgium, Laurent was keen for harmonisation of taxes within the EU to make things fair for everyone, but I was aghast.

Laurent asked if the tax situation for small businesses was particularly good. I believed it was, but said I’d write things up so that people could compare to their own countries.


Peter Cooper

Friendly chief publisher at @CooperPress, programmer, editor of JavaScript Weekly and more.

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