Marvel has an awesome API so you can build apps based on its comics and stories

Posted in News on 18 May 2015

Ever wanted to build an awesome app using characters or events from Marvel comics? Now you can, using the coolest API ever made.

The company has opened up its first official RESTful API for developers, allowing them to access an unprecedented amount of information from the Marvel universe, for free.

The API offers the ability to retrieve individual comics, an entire series, components of issues (for example, the cover), events from inside an issue, creator details and individual character data. For example, you can retrieve an entire story arc from the Marvel universe with a simple API call.

One Web developer, Raymond Camden detailed just how awesome the new API is, by building an app that lets you browse comic covers by picking a year or month.

Marvel has opened up new ways of exploring its extensive back catalog. This could be the best reason yet to learn to code if you don’t know how to already.


The secret to building startup buzz online

Posted in Tips on 18 May 2015

There’s a lot being published these days about how to break into noisy digital environments and capture the interest of people whose attention spans are shorter than ever.

Yes, you can achieve this goal with things like paid Facebook ads and sponsored tweets. You can do it by pushing content on native advertising platforms like Outbrain and Taboola.

But I’m going to let you in on a little secret… There’s another approach that’s guaranteed to help your startup build buzz without the time and expense associated with digital marketing campaigns. If you really want to make a splash, what you need is an army of advocates.

Think about Apple’s fanboys. How many additional sales do you think Apple made – not because their products were the best, but because the social buzz surrounding them was so strong that people just had to be a part of it?

Every loyal brand advocate is a walking, talking advertisement for your company. And when you consider that 84 percent of respondents in Nielsen’s latest Trust in Advertising report cite word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family members as the most trustworthy source of advertising, it’s clear that these power users have the potential to pay off big for your brand.

But the best news? Building an army of these advocates is easier than you think. Here’s how four entrepreneurs and startups are leveraging the power of social advocacy:

Noah Kagan

Noah Kagan is pretty much an internet business legend at this point, but if you aren’t familiar with his work, he was employee #30 at Facebook, and is consistently ranked one of the best growth hackers working today.

With credentials like that, you’d expect that Noah would have locked himself away in a tower by now – spending his days counting stacks of money – but instead, he’s currently the Chief Sumo at AppSumo, his tech tools startup that offers products at extremely low (and sometimes free) prices.

Giving away great products at a great price certainly goes a long way towards delighting customers and converting fans into brand advocates, but Noah doesn’t stop there. Consider the following anecdote from Danny Boice of Speek:

“At Speek, we use AppSumo religiously for great deals on the tools we use to run our business. One day, I got a box from Noah Kagan (the CEO of AppSumo) that contained some amazing cookies—completely out of the blue! It was a random, simple gesture that meant so much to me as a loyal customer. I thought it was absolutely brilliant of Noah to do this.”

Losing a customer here and there won’t break Noah, but it’s not just about the money for him. It’s about finding fun and exciting ways to connect with his clients – and that’s something you can do as well.

Tip: Send swag to loyal customers

The great thing about sending small gifts to customers is that it really is the thought that counts. You don’t need to send something big to make an impression – even a simple, handwritten card is enough to stand out, brighten people’s day and turn them into the kind of customers that’ll go on to recommend your products to everyone you meet.


Few startups take sending gifts of swag more seriously than Buffer. The company employs a dedicated Community Champion – Nicole Miller – who spends 50-60 percent of her time “managing swag stock, packaging writing cards and gathering addresses.” Miller estimates that she spends 1-1.5 days a week where her entire focus is “Buffer love.”

So what does that translate to in real terms? Miller estimates that her office ships out 40 to 60 cards and packages a week, for a total of more than 1,200 hand-written cards, gifts and more.

Miller also provides a helpful breakdown of the costs associated with all of this mailing:

  • Notecards – $.92 per card/envelope (+$.49 domestic mailing)
  • T-shirts – $9.47 per shirt (+ $5.00 domestic mailing)
  • Hoodies – $23.07 per hoodie (+$8.00-$15.00 domestic mailing)
  • Moleskine notebooks – $6.80-$19.74 each (+$2.00-$8.00 domestic mailing)
  • Stickers – $.29-$.56 per sticker
  • Mugs – $9.11 each (+$15.00 domestic mailing)

A full read of Miller’s recent blog post on how Buffer delights its community is well-worth a read, but in the meantime, here’s one of the best takeaway tips for you:

Tip: Listen to your audience

Many of Buffer’s best ideas for sending swag come from checking in on its customers’ social profiles. In one particularly delightful case, the resulting care package wound up being sent not to the customer, but to her dog – with a package full of the dog’s favorite treats and some stickers to give to “her human.”

Neil Patel

Like Noah Kagan, Neil Patel is well-known in digital marketing circles as the founder of KISSMetrics, CrazyEgg and the popular QuickSprout blog.

With all these competing demands, you’d think that Neil would be too busy to connect with everybody who’s interested in engaging with his brand. But take a look at any of his recent blog posts, and you’ll find Neil himself there – responding to each and every comment he receives.

The time costs of doing so are substantial. As of August 20th, 2014, Neil estimated that, to date, he’d responded to 50,969 web comments (plus several thousand others across the web), spending an average of one minute reading and responding to each message.

Sure, Neil admits that there have been financial benefits resulting from this high level of engagement, but even more important is the way that these actions make his customers feel.

Tip: Find a way to help

That’s what it all comes down to for Neil – helping people. Adopt that same philosophy at your startup, and do whatever it takes to help your prospects and customers solve their most pressing problems. Even if you can’t end world hunger or make PC software run smoothly on a Mac, your willingness to help out will leave a lasting impression and go a long way towards converting neutral customers to true brand advocates.

When I Work

At When I Work – an employee scheduling app that helps small business owners create employee schedules in just minutes – we’ve made customer delight a top priority.

The following are just a few of the steps we’ve taken, as well as how they’ve paid off for our business:

  • Whenever our team brings on a new customer, we send out a handwritten thank you card. The cost is virtually nothing, but so far, we’ve seen that the cards are shared about 70 percent of the time on the customer’s social profiles. We’ve also seen our referrals go up by 23 percent since we started doing this.
  • We also send out free branded t-shirts to customers. Of those that have received the shirts, roughly 17 percent have recommended our product to a friend.
  • Finally – and this is one of my favorites – if you ever have an issue with our product, we’ll mail you your favorite candy to ensure that you have the sweetest experience possible with When I Work (get it?).

Again, these aren’t big gestures. A candy bar costs a dollar, and shipping it to a customer isn’t much more than that. But when you consider the financial impact this small gesture could have in terms of customer retention and future referrals, it’s practically a no-brainer.

Tip: Measure the impact of your efforts

I’m a data junkie, but even if you aren’t analytically-inclined, I’d still recommend putting some effort into tracking the impact of your efforts, whether in terms of brand sentiment, conversions or some other metric. Doing so will tell you whether or not your efforts are paying off, as well as whether some types of promotions inspire more positive feelings than others.


6 ways to nail the job interview

Posted in Tips on 18 May 2015

Who better to ask about interviewing mistakes than IT hiring managers themselves?

When Doug Mitchell took over as CEO of direct-sales company Argenta Field Solutions in 2011, he noticed something surprising. He noticed that most Gen-Y candidates, though tech savvy and digitally plugged-in, didn't seem to have a clue about how to dress for, prepare for or conduct themselves in an interview, making his job and the job of his hiring managers difficult.

"One of my responsibilities is interviewing, while the final decision is made by our chief administrator or by the head of sales, I perform interviews as well as put a final stamp of approval on our hires. What I noticed was, especially with the latest crop of millennial candidates, they're completely unprepared. They don't understand how to dress, how to speak, how to comport themselves in a face-to-face interview," he says. "Millennials might be 'digital natives,' but they could use some pointers on good, old-fashioned face-to-face interaction at times," says Mitchell.

Six tips to nail an in-person interview

Whether you're a millennial looking to land your first job or you're a senior executive taking the next step in their career, there are some things you need to focus on to make a great first impression. "I focus on six general principles. While some might seem like common sense, they're always important to remember," says Mitchell,

Dress for the role you want

Dress for the job you want, not to job you have - or the job you're applying for. You want to aim for the job that's one level above the one you've applied to; that shows the interviewer, subconsciously, that you're looking toward a future with the company, advises Mitchell.

"Yes, we're a direct sales company. We have fairly casual uniforms for our salespeople, but if someone walks through the door in a suit and tie, or a nice blouse, pantsuit or skirt and heels, that shows me they've taken the extra effort to make themselves look professional. Even before they open their mouth, I can see they could potentially be in management someday, "says Mitchell.

Leave slang and dialect at the door

The way you talk with your friends should be the exact opposite of how you're talking to potential hiring managers. Keep it professional, formal and polite. "You'd think this wouldn't need to be said, but it does, because it has happened more than once. I've had people come in who pass the 'dress code' test, but the second they throw me a 'Yo, dawg,' it's over!, "Mitchell says.

Speaking with correct grammar goes a long way toward reinforcing the professional impression you've made by looking the part.

Bring printed copies of your resume

Yes, you've e-mailed your resume to the company. Your online profiles are updated and your LinkedIn profile is impeccable but even in this digital age, according to Mitchell, always bring at least two printed copies of your resume to the interview. "Don't even try to use the 'my printer's out of ink' or 'my printer died,' excuse. Trust me, I've heard that one a million times, "Mitchell says.

In fact, in one instance Mitchell recalls, a candidate followed up that excuse by still producing printed copies of her resume - she'd emailed the file to FedEx/Kinko's and had it printed. "That helped her in two ways. First, she showed perseverance - she encountered an obstacle to a successful interview and figured out a way to overcome it, and second, she was able to use that story to show those qualities of persistence and out-of-the-box thinking in the interview, "Mitchell says.

Become an expert on the company

Whether the job you're applying for is your "dream job" or another rung on the ladder of your career, make sure to educate yourself about the ins-and-outs of the company. "You need to be genuinely interested in who we are, what we do and why, because that's going to come across to me in an interview," says Mitchell.

Public companies can be researched via Google or other Internet searches, or through LinkedIn, Glassdoor and other sites. For more on researching prospective employers please read, Top 8 sites for researching your next employer.

In the interview itself, Mitchell says don't shy away from small talk, especially when it comes to the company, or if you've uncovered common interests shared with your interviewer. "Don't be afraid of small talk, but make sure you're not taking it overboard, "says Mitchell.

Using publically available information, you can usually find a common interest, even if it's just the fact that you're both huge fans of the company. "If you know everything there is to know about the company, what their goals are, who the competition is, what obstacles they've faced and overcome, that gives you a great basis for an ongoing conversation about how you can fit in," says Mitchell.

Never badmouth your previous employers

The best employees are never negative. If you are asked why you left your previous position or were let go, sure, be honest, but don't place blame or speak negatively about your previous, role, boss or organization. "Insightful employers are going to interpret any negativity to mean that you are the problem - especially if you cite the same reason for your last few employers," says Mitchell.

Sometimes there is no way around it, except through it. If there's no way around the negativity, make sure you have a solution or a scenario in which you can do better. Be able to demonstrate that you're working to improve or resolve the situation. "As an employer, you're always looking at your reputation to customers - you don't want to have someone out there bad-mouthing you to potential buyers. That really hurts your brand," says Mitchell.

Ask about the next steps

The interview went well. You feel great, and you just know that you nailed it but don't get cocky. "Even if you feel you really nailed the interview and are a great potential fit for the job, don't assume it's a sure thing. You can ask a question like, 'What are the next steps? When can I expect to hear from you? If I were to get this position, what would happen then?'" says Mitchell.

This point of the interview is also a great time to reiterate what you know about the company and how you feel you'd be a perfect cultural and technical fit. By talking about the company, you can subtly show the interviewer how, by landing this role, you can get them an edge and help them beat their competition.

Final thoughts

"Some of these tips may seem like 'common sense' to us older folks but from where I sit -- from the interviews I've done -- it can't hurt for Gen Y to take a few pointers from their older, wiser and more experienced peers, especially when it comes to interviewing," says Mitchell.


IT jobs outlook: High demand, higher salaries

Posted in News on 18 May 2015

Tech professionals are netting slightly bigger paychecks in 2015

With the hot job market for technology professionals, it is not surprising that salaries are up, too – though only a bit.

Technology jobs site reported late last week that technology pay was up again last year, with IT professionals earning an average annual salary of $89,450, an increase of 2 percent over 2013. More than half of these professionals – 61 percent – earned higher salaries in 2014, mainly though merit raises. Another 25 percent said they received higher pay by changing employers. Thirty-seven percent of tech professionals polled said they received a bonus last year, slightly more than the 34 percent in 2013.

Technical recruiters salaries jumped as well, by 19 percent to an average of $81,966, demonstrating the importance of identifying and bringing on technical professionals, said.

Dice gathered its data by surveying 23,470 technology professionals online between late September and late November.

“As demand for technology professionals rises and highly skilled talent is harder to find, the pressure is being reflected where it counts: paychecks,” said Shravan Goli, president of said in a statement released by the company. “Still, tech pros are less happy with their earnings, signaling to companies that in order to recruit and retain the best candidates, offering more will be necessary."

Despite the news on salary increases, satisfaction with wages declined. Fifty-two percent of professionals were satisfied with their compensation last year, down from 54 percent the prior year. Satisfaction with wages has dipped annually since 2012, said.

Dice also said tech professionals are more confident that they can find a new position; 37 percent anticipate changing employers this year for improvements in pay or conditions. But with pay rising, professionals are slightly less likely to relocate to a new job in 2015.

Big data and cloud computing professionals earn the highest paychecks, said. “Cloud is not new to the tech world but as more companies — large and small — adopt the technology, tech professionals with this experience will enjoy opportunities,” said Goli. “Big data made a big showing last year and we’re seeing it this year, too."


Bing joins Google in favoring mobile-friendly sites

Posted in News on 18 May 2015

Microsoft is adjusting how it ranks Bing search results for mobile users, prioritizing sites that display better on smaller screens to accommodate the increased use of mobile search.

The changes, announced Thursday, come less than a month after Google started prioritizing mobile-optimized sites in its search results. Both companies are looking to attract more users by providing a better search experience on smartphones and tablets.

Microsoft said it expects to roll out the changes in the coming months. Sites that display well on smaller screens will also be flagged with a new "mobile friendly" tag.

In the U.S. last year, Bing had roughly 6 percent of the mobile search market, compared with Google's 83 percent, according to figures from StatCounter.

The changes don't mean mobile-optimized sites will necessarily appear at the top of results. "You can always expect to see the most relevant results for a search query ranked higher, even if some of them are not mobile friendly," Microsoft said.

It considers a variety of elements to decide which sites display best on smartphones and tablets. For example, sites with large navigational elements that are spaced well apart will be prioritized, as well as sites that don't require a lot of zooming and lateral scrolling. Bing will also favor sites with mobile-compatible content. That means pages with Flash content, which doesn't work well on iOS devices, might get demoted.

Microsoft highlighted Fandango's mobile site as one that will be prioritized under the changes, more so than

The company has also developed a tool to help webmasters assess the mobile friendliness of their sites. It will be made available in a few weeks.


10 tips to help tech graduates entering the workforce

Posted in Tips on 18 May 2015

Summer is nearly upon us, and with it for many comes graduation ceremonies. Then it's off to the realities of the workforce. If your degree is in the technology field, you've picked a great career path. But there's still lots of competition to beat out and evolving technology to master. Finding your place in a crowded tech job market means some serious planning, polishing your skillset, and developing the right set of tools.

Finding a new job can be a job in itself. And like any job, you want to approach it with the right tools to help ensure a successful outcome. To help you fill your proverbial toolbox, we spoke with experts in the technology job market to see what employers are looking for and how you can incorporate their advice into your career strategy.

Document your accomplishments or experience

Myers recommends that you write five or six compelling stories about your school or work-related tasks -- perhaps a project that highlighted your programming or problem-solving skills. It might be a summer interning in IT for an insurance company or programming your own mobile app, or maybe an opportunity where you got to showcase your leadership skills leading a project.

Craft a professional resume

There are a host of places that offer resume help. Find out what your school offers in the way of professional services and don't discount using a professional resume writer. The best ones are often able to find hidden strengths, passions, or accomplishments through personal interviewing.

Start early

Experts agree that many new to the job market lack the necessary experience and soft skills. A Robert Half Technology survey of 2,300 CIOs from across the country reveals that 26 percent of IT leaders said entry-level professionals weren't prepared to contribute right away. Among these respondents, 55 percent cited that new graduates lack the necessary communication and leadership skills. "New graduates can sometimes have the challenge of not having the experience -- a developed portfolio or history of project work -- that employers are looking for when making new hires," says John Reed, senior executive director at Robert Half Technology.

According to Ford R. Myers, a career coach, today's tech graduates have grown up with technology all around them. These graduates are digital natives so lack of technical skills or aptitude aren't as common a problem as other areas tend to be.

"Students may be really good with technology, but they are rarely any good with having the skills necessary to market themselves effectively and to do an effective job search when they come out of school," says Myers. However, he says, in the field of technology things are a little better. "Because in the technology field you'll find more internship or work study opportunities than, say, a philosophy or English student."

New graduates are typically well-steeped in technology, but where they are lacking is in areas like soft skills and real world experience. The best way to get these is to do summer internships, volunteer for nonprofits, collaborate with projects online, and get some tech experience while you're still learning. Take advantage of these opportunities while you're learning to add real world experience to your toolbox. After all, in the technology job market experience is preferred. "It is more of a trust-based hire when bringing a recent graduate on board if they don't bring a good amount of hands-on project work with them. There is a strong demand for tech talent, but employers tend to prefer a more experienced worker," says Reed.

Target companies

Myers recommends creating a list of companies that you want to work for. Do this by creating a "wish list" that best describes where you want to work. Things like location, company size, corporate culture, company mission, or salary requirements should be on here.

Now using that list, do some online work and match those requirements to organizations. With a list of desirable companies in hand, use social media to connect with individuals who work there or participate in discussions in places like LinkedIn Groups or Quora.

Customize your resume

John Reed recommends refining your resume for your targeted companies. "Customization is critical to making your resume stand out. Instead of creating a standard one-size-fits-all document, tailor your resume to each opportunity. At the top of your resume, be sure to focus on skills and certifications or critical programming languages," says Reed.

Create a positioning statement or elevator pitch

"A good positioning statement highlights your key strengths, what you enjoy doing and excel in, and what value you'd bring to the hiring company. It should also be something that is easy for you to remember and repeat at any given time. The key is picking out the most important information and delivering it with ease," says Reed.

Craft your elevator pitch and then practice it until it comes out naturally. Run it by trusted colleagues and friends to refine it. Myers offer this formula to create a positioning statement that will get you noticed. The key components include the following:

Who are you? Are you a software developer, a programmer, a technical support person, a hardware expert, etc. "There are many different shades or subsets in technology," says Ford. This should be a concise phrase that covers you specificity.

What is your experience? This, according to Myers, can include summer experience, interning experience, or any related experience to your field.

In what industries have you worked and what roles have you held? This would be something along the lines of an internship as a software developer, debugging and doing testing on pieces of code, or working for a retailer building networks for them. "Whatever it is, tell me what your role and industry is," says Myers.

What are your greatest strengths? Are you good at problem-solving, leadership, analysis, project management, etc.? These, says Myers, are deliberately nontechnical terms and are more about the person. "Prepare and practice a '15-second commercial' about who you are, what you've done in the past. I like it when they [candidates] choose three strength words and use them to describe their nature," says Myers.

What are you looking for? This is all about your objective. You could phrase it along the lines of, "I am seeking an entry-level job opportunity in the game development market" or "I'm looking for a position to leverage my Java experience," for example.

According to Myers, weaving these items into a four- or five-word paragraph should help you put together a positioning statement that helps a potential employer understand what you are about.

Get prepared for interviews

Researching your targeted companies before an interview is a must. "Students must do their research, ensuring they're familiar with the prospective employer's job requirements, company history, and industry," says Reed. It's also helpful to find out any available information on the person you're interviewing with. "You'll make a much better impression during your meeting if you have done your homework, "says Reed.

Don't forget about the technical aspect of the interview. This is the time to look through the aforementioned compelling stories. Be prepared to verbalize these. Practice in front of a mirror until you feel comfortable. Then rope a friend, colleague, or professor into performing a mock interview with you. "[New college graduates] should also be prepared to talk about the projects that they've taken on and how they are relevant to the desired role," says Reed.

Network yourself

You need to create an online presence in places like LinkedIn and other relevant industry groups and social networks. "Using a platform such as LinkedIn to "put it out there" that you are seeking opportunities, while highlighting relevant project work and internships, is a great way to boost visibility amongst a network who could potentially help in the job search," says Reed.

Myers further advises new graduates to police their existing social media accounts to remove anything that might be considered inappropriate to a potential employer.

He also warns future IT pros that they need to spend more time away from their computers to network and converse with more people. "At the end of the day a person is going to hire you, not a computer. If you can't communicate with that person and have a good dialogue, then you aren't going to get very far," says Myers. Of course, some individuals have better people skills than others. Those that need to work on these interpersonal skills know who you are.

Secure recommendations

As a new graduate you'll need both professional recommendations as well as letters from colleagues or associates.

For your personal references, Ford says, "List colleagues or professors who would 'sing your praises' if asked about you. Contact each of them, and get approval to use their names on your list of references." As for the letters of recommendation, try to get four to five from professional colleagues or academic contacts. These, according to Ford, should be printed on their business or professional letterhead and signed by the writers, leaving out the dates and salutations.

Track your job search activities

Keeping a detailed record of your job seeking progress, including things like phone calls, meeting notes, and companies applied to, is an essential part to keeping yourself organized and productive.



17 JavaScript tools breathing new life into old code

Posted in News on 18 May 2015

Computer languages have a strange shelf life. The most popular among them experience explosive growth driven by herding behavior akin to that of the fashion industry. But when they fade from the spotlight, something odd happens. Instead of disappearing like a pop song or parachute pants, they live on and on and on and on. The impetus behind this quasi-immortality? It’s often cheaper to maintain old code than to rewrite it in the latest, trendiest language.

In the past, tending to an old code base was a lonely experience, not unlike living on a desert island. The job was to keep everything running with virtual duct tape and baling wire. Old tools and old compilers were coddled and fussed over because they were essential to keeping the old code alive. Old libraries were treated like family heirlooms, especially if they came with source code.

That’s changed in recent years with the emergence of new cross-compilers and interpreters. Suddenly the old can be brought into the present, not with perfect harmony but with enough integration that curators don’t need to feel like they’re living and working alone. The right tools can follow Ezra Pound's dictum to "make it new again."

Thanks to the ingenuity of an intrepid few, old code is receiving new life via a variety of JavaScript tools. Now, that brittle base can become part of the present, capable of running on modern machines. Suddenly the dusty deck that ran on only a mainframe can operate in the background whenever someone loads a Web page on their phone.

The tools are far from perfect, but they tantalize despite their flaws. Rewriting remains a challenge, as it usually means understanding code that was written when disk space was expensive and comments cost real money. While putting in the effort can yield great benefits and erase some technical debt, we often don't have that luxury. Instead, it might be simpler and faster to fiddle with these cross-compilers, translators, and emulators to modernize old code bases than it would be to collect a big team steeped in dying programming languages to pick through old code and rewrite everything.

Here is a look at some of the obscure programming languages that can be given new life, thanks to emerging JavaScript tools. Conversion tools like these may be the only way to keep some of these now obscure languages alive. Consider them a life-support system for your old code.


Was it 20-odd years ago that TurboPascal ruled the desktop programming world? The folks at Elevate Software remember, and that’s why they offer a tool that converts ObjectPascal into JavaScript. They even promise that you won’t need to learn Pascal to produce something that runs on the Web. You simply type Pascal, and the tool comes back with code that looks and operates in the same way on all major browsers.


The language that dominated the mainframe world and still commands 553 jobs on at this writing can also run in the world of JavaScript. CobolScript is a Node.js package that will run many parts of standard Cobol alongside JavaScript code written for the Node.js server.

The developer calls it a work in progress and lists a number of parts that don’t function yet, but there are enough juicy examples to show promise, like the ability to enable dusty Cobol code to suck data from MySQL and spit out HTML to power a modern Web app.


For many people who learned to program from reading Hal Ableson and Gerry Sussman's "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs," there's no better way to spend an afternoon than counting parentheses and making sure they balance. Lisp and its various dialects continue to hold a special place in the hearts of those who learned them early, and many of their structural ideas are now part of the foundations of a number of modern languages, including JavaScript. The syntax may be gone, but the flexible architecture remains.

There are more than a dozen options for enlivening your Lisp code via JavaScript, and they vary in approach from the traditional to the experimental. EdgeLisp, for instance, offers many of Lisp’s standard constructs, and its development team promises that EdgeLisp will "feel familiar to Common Lisp programmers." Parenscript offers "the full power of Lisp macros" and much more from the world of Common Lisp. If you like the Lisp-1 dialect, then Ralph is another option.

Fans of Scheme will find a number of implementations like BiwaScript, Moby Scheme, and nconc.

There are also plenty of more experimental syntaxes that promise all of the fun of thinking in Lisp with a slightly different format. LispyScript mixes in some of the power of macros with parentheses. Oppo is an option that introduces itself with the following claim: "If JavaScript is Lisp in C's clothing, then Oppo is Lisp in Lisp's clothing, with C's pajamas."


While it’s common knowledge that Apple and Microsoft borrowed heavily from the ideas circulating at Xerox PARC, it is often forgotten that the Xerox PARC researchers also revolutionized programming languages. When most programmers were fussing with GOTOs and subroutines, Smalltalk was one of the first languages to bring object-oriented options to the world.

Clamato, for instance, converts many of the easy Smalltalk constructs into the parts of JavaScript that are similar (and ultimately stolen). Not everything is there, but the developers behind Clamato throw in a connection to jQuery and other DOM manipulation tools to make up for it, so you can build Web apps.

Little Smallscript also offers a subset that will compile down to JavaScript and run on Node.js. Those who have moved on to the more modern Squeak can use a JavaScript version called SqueakJS.


Before there were full IDEs to teach kids to code with languages like Scratch and Alice, there was Logo. There's still Logo today if you want to use Logo Interpreter in your browser and have all of the fun of its stripped-down syntax built when bandwidth was measured in baud and every keystroke counted. It has a simple elegance that can't be matched with all of the modern tile-dragging and button-clicking.


The ’70s never died. Not only can you emulate your old Commodore 64 games on the Web, but you can keep that 1970s Basic code running too. Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration because there have been so many dialects over the years. But you can still create something new and current with all of the simplicity that made Basic popular.

If you liked QBasic, the structured language that Microsoft made famous, then you can start with qb.js, a JavaScript implementation that will run in your browser. Once it starts running, it turns a Canvas object in your browser into a rectangle filled with old, monospaced type. It becomes a window into another era. Not all of the parts seem to work smoothly, but the code is open, so you can revise and extend it under the GPL 3.0.

NSBasic is a more commercial option that produces code for JavaScript environments that run on desktops and mobile devices. NSBasic targets developers who don’t want to struggle with the complexity of Eclipse or XCode to produce something for their smartphones. You can turn your old Basic experience into an entry for the App Store.

Another commercial option is SpiderBasic, a modern version said to be built in the tradition of PureBasic. It offers access to all of the HTML5 and WebGL hooks necessary for building a modern, multiwindow Web app.


Mark your calendars: Java 9 lands next year

Posted in News on 18 May 2015

Java 9 would arrive on Sept. 22, 2016, under a proposed schedule posted online by a prominent Oracle Java official this week.

In a mailing list message cited on Twitter, a schedule for Java Development Kit 9, which would be based on the Java Standard Edition 9 specification, has the release being feature-complete on Dec. 10 with several additional steps taken before general availability in September 2016. The message was posted by Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform group at Oracle.

"The dates here are meant to leave sufficient time for broad review and testing of the significant features of the release, in particular the introduction of a module system and the modularization of the platform, while maintaining the cadence of shipping a major release about every two years," Reinhold said in the post." Modularity via Project Jigsaw is a key feature of Java 9. The last major release of Java, version 8, became available in March 2014 and featured functional programming capabilities. 

Other milestones in the schedule include having all tests run by Feb. 4 of next year, a zero bug bounce by April 21, 2016, and Rampdown phase 2 by June 16, 2016.

Reinhold said comments from JDK 9 committers are welcome. If no objections are raised or all objections are addressed by next Tuesday, then the proposed schedule will be adopted as official.


Oracle 6i Forms Developer

Posted in Jobs on 14 May 2015

Responsibilities will include:

  • Develop new programs and applications
  • Modify existing programs
  • System analysis and identify and diagnose any issues
  • Manipulate data to support production
  • Provide support to junior developers


Your background:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in a Technical Field
  • Min 4years programming experience
  • Experienced using Oracle SQL, PL/SQL, T-SQL, Forms 6i, Reports 6i, Oracle Designer 6i, Oracle APEX / ADF


For a confidential chat please contact, or call +353 1 4744514

Junior Developer

Posted in Jobs on 14 May 2015

GameStop is a global multichannel video game, consumer electronics, and wireless services retailer with over 6,600 stores worldwide. GameStop is a family of specialty retail brands that makes the most popular technologies affordable and simple.
We own and build large-scale web applications serving 20,000+ requests per minute, order management and customer service applications shipping thousands of orders per day, internal and public APIs, iOS and Android apps, and global loyalty programs with millions of members.

Junior Developer x 2

GameStop is looking for two software developers to expand our international development team. Based in Swords and reporting to one of our development managers, you will be joining an experienced team of talented developers to build new features and extend the existing capabilities of our international e-commerce web sites and fulfilment system.

This is an excellent opportunity for a junior developer looking to build on their experience. We work in the latest technologies, offer a competitive salary, great benefits, and a relaxed work environment.

Duties and Responsibilities of the role will be:

  • Designing and developing Web (MVC), API (WCF and WebApi), and desktop (WPF) applications.
  • Writing unit and automation tests.
  • Ensuring code released to production is scalable and secure.
  • Working with customers and stakeholders to understand their needs and requirements.
  • Providing design documentation, release notes and test plans.
  • Deploying releases to production and providing support and maintenance.

Our future Junior Developer possesses the following qualities and fulfills following requirements:
- A Computer Science degree or similar education.
- 1+ years software development experience.
- Knowledge of a server side language, like C#, Java, Ruby on Rails, Python, etc.
- Knowledge of web technologies, like HTML/CSS, jQuery, etc.
- Knowledge of SQL and databases, like SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, etc.
- Good communication skills – ability to express yourself to technical and non-technical people.
- Ability to work independently or as part of a team.
- Passionate about developing excellent products and growing your skills.

If the above description seems tailor-made for you and you are longing to get into one of the world's driven companies, apply now!

Join us in bringing power to the players!

Please apply here.

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