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Up Front

A Better Java

by Michael Swaine

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  In this issue we revisit the days of 8-bit game programming and extend Java into the future.  

We’re looking at an article from Jonathan Penn on MacRuby for the January issue. Could MacRuby be the future of iOS development? Not without some commitment from Apple. So Jonathan Penn has decided to do something about that. He’s launched a campaign to get Apple’s attention. We think it’s intriguing. Read about it, think about it, and give Jonathan your feedback. Our selfish interest: your feedback will make his January article even richer.

This is the 30th monthly issue of PragPub. In these two and a half dozen outings, we have been honored to publish the words of more than eighty authors. Partly to recognize our contributors and partly to provide a convenient reference, I put together an index to all the articles published in PragPub, organized by author. I’ve included it at the end of this issue and have also parked it, at least temporarily, here, where I’ll try to keep it up to date.

But you want to know what’s in this issue of PragPub besides an index.

Java is the most successful language on the planet—and one of the most derided. Sven Efftinge and Sebastian Zarnekow decided maybe it was time for a new language with all of Java’s strengths and none of its weaknesses. In this issue they unveil Xtend, a language that extends Java with an emphasis on functional style and a couple of lumps of syntactic sugar.

James Bowman revisits the world of 8-bit game programming in this issue, the days when graphics displays were not directly pixel-addressable, but made you work with 8x8 pixel bitmaps called background tiles. He shows how to exploit the surprising power in this retro approach in creating the Gameduino, an 8-bit graphics and sound shield for the Arduino.

Logging is the poor stepchild of applications, even though for many some apps it is the primary means of diagnosing problems. Brian Tarbox proposes moving logging from the province of the developer’s discretion to the circle of architecture and design to achieve what he calls just-in-time logging.

In the fourth installment of his series on the Scala programming language, Venkat Subramaniam delves into the functional style of programming in Scala.

Dan Wohlbruck tells how three giants in the history of computing met for lunch during World War II and what resulted. Maybe.

Plus Choice Bits, our Events Calendar, a profile of another Pragmatic Bookshelf staffer, and another column by John Shade.