New and shiny things Adobe engineers are looking at.
We received encouraging feedback on the first edition of our Tech Radar, so here we are again! The plan is to continue on a monthly cadence for now, shooting for the last Friday of each month.
Contributions from Adobe employees are welcome. We’d like to expand this series to a wider variety of topics. Special thanks to Daniel Cushing for holding down the WTN fort (our internal tech news) while I was away in the last few weeks, providing most of the content of this post.
Deep Learning For Search, written by our colleague Tommaso Teofili, is about integrating deep learning techniques for more effective search engines. Tommaso also co-authored a paper on leveraging affect enriched word embeddings to improve search in news domains, with Niyati Chhaya.
We’re not talking about guitar players here (except for a quick mention of the great It Might Get Loud movie for those who were wondering), but there’s a lot of talk about edge computing lately, with several new companies and tools aiming to provide better ways to run code at The Edge of The Web, where it sometimes belongs.
V8 Isolates also came up recently in our conversations around The Edge. Cloudflare used them to build their Workers, providing lightweight isolated execution contexts that need few resources and start fast. The nice thing with using V8 for such a runtime is that it also runs WebAssembly, which is another hot topic these days when it comes to The Edge, for good reasons.
When GitHub was acquired by Microsoft about a year ago, some people were worried about its future. However, in the meantime, GitHub offers free private repositories as well as GitHub Actions which support CI/CD, free for public repositories. Those are useful tools that should reassure the skeptics, even though the dependency of the industry on GitHub is huge.
React 16.8 was released back in February of 2019, and with it comes React Hooks. These are a new addition that “solve a wide variety of seemingly unconnected problems in React,” allowing you to reuse stateful logic without writing a class. The official documentation has more information.
People, and more books
15 Rules of Communicating at GitHub provides great insights as to how team communications play a key part in our jobs. The emphasis on asynchronous communications and using tickets for conversations matches the intent of our own Open Development initiatives.
Alan Kay’s recommendations on which old books new programmers should read (on Quora) reinforce the thought that it’s the fundamental principles that make us stronger. His first recommendation is the LISP 1.5 Programmer’s Manual — few people might be writing code in Lisp today, but that language exposes important principles that we should be aware of.
I’ll add one of my own favorites to that list: The Inmates Are Running The Asylum by Alan Cooper, the father of Visual Basic, which was a revolution at the time, for us frustrated would-be Windows programmers. To me, that book makes the case for creating meaningful software, that actually provides value to its users. Even if that software is not what they thought they needed in the first place.
Events and conferences
Next week is adaptTo() in Berlin, Germany, the Apache Sling & Friends conference. It’s a small but always-inspiring conference that is relevant for Adobe Experience Manager users, as Sling is at its core.