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Wow, what a week. Last weekend the whole team was busy preparing for both the Mashable Awards Gala in Las Vegas and CES 2011 happening just next door. We’ve crowned your favorite picks from the past year and also previewed all the fancy new technology from the CES showroom.

Take a look through our roundup of tools and resources from the past week or so, including the future of the social media strategist, a slew of demos and hands-on gadget reviews and some insights into mobile retail.

Looking for even more social media resources? This guide appears every weekend, and you can check out all the lists-gone-by here any time.


Social Media


For more social media news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s social media channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


Tech & Mobile


For more tech news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s tech channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


Business


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Image courtesy of DawgHouse Design Studio

More About: business, facebook, Features Week In Review, List, Lists, Mobile 2.0, small business, social media, tech, technology, twitter




The Social Analyst is a column by Mashable Co-Editor Ben Parr, where he digs into social media trends and how they are affecting companies in the space.

Google is preparing for war with Apple and Microsoft over the future of web video, and the rest of will be caught in the crossfire.

Earlier this week, Google quietly announced that it would be phasing out Chrome support for H.264, the video codec and standard supported by Adobe Flash, Blu-ray, Internet Explorer, Safari and others. Instead, it will be supporting WebM and Ogg Theora, which are supported by Mozilla and Opera.

What Google hoped would be a small footnote turned into a tidal wave of criticism. Google was chastised for turning its back on “open innovation” by dropping a more widely used codec for a lesser-used one. Compounded by the fact that Google is a strong supporter of Adobe and Flash, and it’s easy to see why the firestorm started in the first place.


Why Is Google Against H.264?


After several days of being slammed in the media, Google finally responded and wrote the post it should have written in the first place.

First, Google’s Mike Jazayeri clarified that Google Chrome would only stop supporting H.264 in HTML5, not in Flash or other forms of media. Then he dove into the problem surrounding the HTML5 <video> tag:

“As it stands, the organizations involved in defining the HTML video standard are at an impasse. There is no agreement on which video codec should be the baseline standard. Firefox and Opera support the open WebM and Ogg Theora codecs and will not support H.264 due to its licensing requirements; Safari and IE9 support H.264. With this status quo, all publishers and developers using the <video> tag will be forced to support multiple formats.”

Google has come to the conclusion that there will never be agreement on H.264, since it is proprietary technology owned by MPEG LA, a firm that forms and licenses patent pools. Thus the search giant decided to draw a line in the sand and double down on the WebM. WebM, for those of you who may not remember, is the open codec/standard for web video created by Google.

Unlike H.264, WebM/VP8′s patents have been released royalty-free. Apple and Microsoft are part of H.264′s patent pool, as are companies like Sony, Sharp, Cisco, LG Electronics, Hp, Toshiba and Dolby. Absent from the list: Mozilla and Google.

The tech titan also addressed the criticism that it should have selected H.264 as its baseline codec because of its wider adoption:

“To use and distribute H.264, browser and OS vendors, hardware manufacturers, and publishers who charge for content must pay significant royalties—with no guarantee the fees won’t increase in the future. To companies like Google, the license fees may not be material, but to the next great video startup and those in emerging markets these fees stifle innovation.”

Google also argued in its response that a community development process is superior to one where multiple parties have incentives to collect patent royalties.


Neither Side Will Budge


While Google may not have intended to start a war, it has essentially drawn the battle lines and made it clear that there will be no compromise. On the one hand, you have Google, Opera, Mozilla and and its WebM allies, which include WinAmp, Skype, AMD, Broadcom, Qualcomm, Logitech and Nvidia. On the other hand, you have the participants of the H.264 patent pool. There isn’t a single company that is part of both WebM and H.264.

The final paragraph of Google’s response may be the most telling thing in this whole affair, though:

“Bottom line, we are at an impasse in the evolution of HTML video. Having no baseline codec in the HTML specification is far from ideal. This is why we’re joining others in the community to invest in WebM and encouraging every browser vendor to adopt it for the emerging HTML video platform (the WebM Project team will soon release plugins that enable WebM support in Safari and IE9 via the HTML standard <video> tag). Our choice was to make a decision today and invest in open technology to move the platform forward, or to accept the status quo of a fragmented platform where the pace of innovation may be clouded by the interests of those collecting royalties. Seen in this light, we are choosing to bet on the open web and are confident this decision will spur innovation that benefits users and the industry.”

Google says that it hopes that the other browsers will adopt WebM, but it’s clear they already know that won’t happen. Why else would Google build Safari and IE 9 plugins to add WebM support into those browsers?

The inability for both sides to compromise will almost certainly stifle the growth of innovation surrounding HTML5 video. Why would anybody invest time and money into a technology that will only work in some browsers, when Flash is guaranteed to work in all browsers (except Mobile Safari)?

Unless both sides find a way to compromise, the future of web video will continue to be in Adobe’s hands. We doubt either side is going to budge anytime soon. The citizens of the web will end up being the losers of this affair.

More About: chrome, Google, google chrome, h.264, HTML 5, HTML5, Opinion, trending, video, webm, youtube

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The Ruby community and the language itself are a fast-growing phenomenon that plays an ever-increasing role in the ecosystem of web apps we all know and use.

If you’re a beginning Ruby dev, this post is for you. We have polled seven experts in the Ruby community — developers who have come highly recommended and respected by their peers.

This is the advice they give specifically to new Ruby developers. We hope you find it useful, encouraging and enjoyable.

If you’re a seasoned pro or an intermediate Rubyist, stay tuned. We’ve got lots more where this came from, and our seven experts have got tips, tricks and code snippets for you, too.


Jacques Crocker: Learn As You Build


Jacques Crocker is a Rails Jedi based out of Seattle who loves working on early-stage startup ideas and launching new products. He’s helped launch almost a dozen Rails apps this year including HeroScale.com (automatically scale your Heroku workers and dynos) and WordSquared.com (a massively multiplayer online word game). Next year, he’s planning on using Rails to launch 24 new web apps.

In an e-mail exchange, he told us new Ruby devs should “start building something and get it released to GitHub as soon as possible.

“You don’t have to have a new or exciting idea to implement. When you are learning, just build stuff that has been done before. Build a scaled down version of Twitter. Or reimplement a blog.”

Crocker says he once ported a PHP-built job board to Rails — a thoroughly educational experience.

He continued, “I’d recommend finding a project that looks interesting on OpenSourceRails.com and getting up and running locally (and the tests functional). Then try adding a few new features to it. And get it upgraded to the latest Rails version while fixing the dependencies.

“Jumping straight into development work without experience will definitely be difficult and frustrating. However the amount of learning you’ll receive will be enormous… Making yourself suffer through the pain of a new environment will help you learn faster than you ever thought possible.”


Yehuda Katz: Dive Into the Ruby Community


Yehuda Katz is a member of the Ruby on Rails core team, and lead developer of the Merb project. He is a member of the jQuery Core Team and a core contributor to DataMapper. He contributes to many open source projects, like Rubinius and Johnson, and works on some he created himself, like Thor.

He advises newer Ruby developers, “Don’t be intimidated. Take advantage of the very many robust community resources that exist, and make connections with community members through open source. The Ruby ecosystem is hungry for new developers, and if you make your mark, you won’t go jobless for very long.”

In fact, Katz says the community itself is one of the strongest points of the Ruby language. “Even though most of the web development community is focused around the Rails framework, there are standalone libraries for just about everything, like virtually every new NoSQL database and connectivity with services like Twitter and Facebook.

“There’s a spirit of experimentation in the Ruby community that makes it extremely strong.”


Obie Fernandez: Start With a Clean Slate


Obie Fernandez is the founder and CEO of Hashrocket, a Florida-based web consultancy and product shop. He’s a well-regarded blogger and speaker, and he’s also a series editor and book author for higher-education publishers Addison-Wesley.

He said, “Don’t try to bring over your old idioms and patterns, because they’ll just weigh you down.

“When I came over to Ruby from Java, my first instinct was to try recreating a bunch of concepts and architectural patterns that I already knew, such as dependency injection, instead of learning new ones more appropriate to Ruby. If you’re coming from a statically typed language like I did, you might have some trouble letting go of the perceived security of type constraints.

“There’s like this whole Zen aspect of working with Ruby where you have to let go of trying to exercise control over every possible interface for your objects.”

He also echoes Katz’s statements about the Ruby community. “We’ve got this amazing, creative and hard-working global community of people working to make Ruby the most enjoyable environment. There is no big commercial vendor getting all capitalistic on us and causing problems like you see with Oracl
e and Microsoft and their developer communities. Almost everything that gets done in our space, 99% is done for open-source love and passion and because it is useful to the person doing it.”


Ryan Bates: Ask — and Answer — Questions


Ryan Bates is the producer and host of Railscasts, a site full of free Ruby on Rails screencasts.

For beginning Ruby devs, Bates recommended, “You can learn a lot by asking questions, and you can learn even more by contributing, yourself.

“With every problem you run into, there are many others who will likely run into the same thing. When you find a solution, write about it to help others and to get feedback on better solutions. We’re all learning.”

Bates takes his own advice, as well, by contributing to sites like Rails Forum.

Disclosure: Mashable‘s features editor, Josh Catone, is the co-founder of Rails Forum.


Desi McAdam: Learn From the Masters


Desi McAdam is a Ruby developer at Hashrocket. She also co-founded and regularly contributes to the technical blogging group DevChix.

She said the thing that helped her most in her study and use of the Ruby programming language was “pairing with other masters of the language.” Since not everyone who wants to learn Ruby has one-on-one access to the masters, however, she has a few suggestions for beginning devs.

“I would also suggest reading books like The Ruby Way by Hal Fulton and Programming Ruby, a.k.a. The Pickaxe Book, by Dave Thomas, Chad Fowler and Andy Hunt.

“If Ruby happens to be the first language you are ever learning I would suggest Learn To Program by Chris Pine. My sister is a nurse who has never done any programming whatsoever and she was able to use this book to learn the fundamentals of programming and she did so at a remarkably fast pace.”


Raquel Hernández: Three Steps With Four Tools


Raquel Hernández is an experienced hacker/mathematician with a background that includes many programming languages and many work environments, from freelance and contract work to startups and larger companies. However, she’s made a particular focus of Ruby and Rails.

She came to us with a list of specific steps and tools for new developers.

“I would suggest reading Programming Ruby 1.9: The Pragmatic Programmer’s Guide (The Pickaxe Book) in order to get familiar with Ruby.

“For Rails-specific stuff, I’d highly recommend Railscasts as starting point. Pick a fun project; complete the Getting Started with Rails tutorial; and deploy it to Heroku.

“After completing these three steps, you’re going to be having so much fun and getting lots of things done that there won’t be coming back.”


José Valim: Focus on Best Practices and Testing


José Valim is the founder of Plataforma Tec, a web development shop and consultancy. He’s also an open source developer and a Rails Core team member.

For beginners, he writes, “Ruby is a very powerful language… it is natural that when you start your first project, you get carried away by the productivity the language gives you and don’t worry about Ruby’s best practices.

“My advice is to control a little this initial amazement and read up on Ruby best practices. Ruby is an object-oriented programming language, so the knowledge of features like encapsulation and inheritance and principles like single responsibility are extremely important to have.

Valim also advises new Ruby devs to not leave testing out of the picture. “Ruby ships with a built-in test framework, and there are several others available as open source, all with plenty of documentation and books. It will reduce your productivity at the beginning, but it definitely pays off withs well-tested, organized and readable code.”


Specific Questions or Tips?


If you’re new to Ruby and you have a question, feel free to drop it in the comments! Our panelists are likely to stop by with more feedback.

Likewise, if you’re a more experienced Ruby dev and you feel like answering questions or passing on some great advice of your own, please leave a comment and school us all.


Series supported by Rackspace


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The Web Development Series is supported by Rackspace, the better way to do hosting. No more worrying about web hosting uptime. No more spending your time, energy and resources trying to stay on top of things like patching, updating, monitoring, backing up data and the like. Learn why.


More Dev & Design Resources from Mashable:


The Top 8 Web Development Highlights of 2010
HOW TO: Get More Out of Your Fonts
4 Predictions for Web Design in 2011
HOW TO: Make the Most of TextMate
5 Free Annotation and Collaboration Tools for Web Projects

Image of José Valim courtesy of Flickr, levycarneiro.

More About: beginner, developers, programming, rails, ruby, ruby tips series, Web Development, web development series

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The community behind the open source content management system Joomla released version 1.6 earlier this week.

Along with WordPress and Drupal, Joomla helps make up the group of “big three” open source CMS applications. According to statistics from W3Techs, Joomla powers 2% of the web and holds 11% of the CMS market.

Joomla is used for front facing and internal sites for companies like eBay, Citibank, General Electric, IHOP and more. With Joomla 1.6, the goal was to make the package more user-friendly and powerful.

Joomla 1.5 was released almost three years ago and a lot of work has gone into this most recent release. In the future, the Joomla team will be adopting a six-month release strategy, meaning users won’t have to wait as long between updates.

We’ve spent some time playing with Joomla 1.6 and exploring some of the new features and improvements offered with this version.

Here are some of the big new features of Joomla 1.6:

  • New Access Control System — The user manager from older versions of Joomla has been replaced with a new Access Control List (ACL) that will let administrators have more granular control when creating user groups and offering user permissions to various aspects of a site. This is a big deal, especially since Joomla is so frequently used in intranet environments.

    The fact that Joomla now builds a solid ACL into the system, rather than relying on third-party extensions, is a great step for the platform.

  • One-Click Extension Updates — Just as WordPress has a built-in plugin manager and auto-update tool, Joomla now does, too. This is great for administrators who have multiple sites with lots of extensions to manage.
  • Template Styles — This is one of my favorite new features of Joomla 1.6. In the past, making changes to a template for just one aspect of a site meant basically creating a new template and changing the options you wanted to change manually. That works, of course, but it presents a lot of problems when trying to update a template or design as a whole. With template styles, designers can make variations of the same template that can be applied to specific sections or pages of a site.
  • Template and Layout Overrides –Like template styles, I really like the ability to do layout overrides to change very minute aspects of a site — for things like menus or modules.
  • Better Media Manager — For end users, the content manager is better than before, now supporting multiple-file uploads.
  • Package Installation Feature — For developers who offer a number of different extensions or solutions that are interconnected, this is extremely cool. Basically this lets a developer create a single package that will install multiple extensions at the same time.
  • Sections Be Gone — Say goodbye to sections and hello to categories! You can create unlimited sub-categories (with unlimited depth) for ultimate hierarchy and taxonomy control.

Joomla still hasn’t caught up with WordPress in the ease-of-use department, but as a CMS, it can be considerably more powerful. The new ACL feature is great for large scale sites with lots of users. For designers, we think the addition of template styles and layout overrides will make customizing and changing smaller aspects of a page or site faster.

For end users, there aren’t a lot of dramatic differences, but on our localhost, the software seemed faster and snappier than an identical Joomla 1.5 instance.

Have you ever used Joomla when designing or developing a website? What do you think of this CMS? Let us know in the comments.


Series supported by Rackspace


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The Web Development Series is supported by Rackspace, the better way to do hosting. No more worrying about web hosting uptime. No more spending your time, energy and resources trying to stay on top of things like patching, updating, monitoring, backing up data and the like. Learn why.


More Dev & Design Resources from Mashable:


Hacker Web Design: Words of Wisdom for Building Great Apps
5 Better Ways to Read “Hacker News”
A Beginner’s Guide to Integrated Development Environments
10 Chrome Web Apps to Check Out
HOW TO: Make Your WordPress Blog More Like Tumblr

More About: CMS, content management systems, drupal, joomla, web designers, web dev, web development series, WordPress

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About half a year after Google announced its WebM video codec at Google I/O, Chromium has made some interesting announcements on how the open-source browser project plans to support open-source video.

Chromium Project Manager Mike Jazayeri writes that his team is “changing Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project.” That means WebM (VP8) will be supported, as will the open-source codec Theora. H.264, on the other hand, will be phased out.

When Google rolled out WebM back in May 2010, we were excited by the possibilities for this open-source, royalty-free format for online video. The technology uses the VP8 codec that Google acquired in February 2009.

Google has been using the WebM format in its HTML5 YouTube experiment with mixed results.

Now, Jazayeri writes that only open-source video codecs will be supported. So far, these codecs include WebM and Theora, a traditionally inferior and still developing technology, as far as playback is concerned.

The H.264 standard has been around since 2003 and has gained a great deal of traction during that time. Still, it’s technically not an open technology. The entity that controls licensing for H.264 video says it will refrain from collecting royalties until the end of 2015. So while the technology is free for now, it’s still proprietary. And in the world of die-hard FOSS advocacy, that’s a huge no-no.

It’s also likely no coincidence that H.264 is strongly supported by Apple and has been for many years.

Jazayeri writes, “Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.”

While the FOSS love-fest is a thing of beauty, more than one commenter on the Chromium blog post pointed out the impracticality of Google’s lack of ideological and technical support for one of the most widely used video codecs on the web.

As one person wrote, “This is a move by Google where they care more about the open source ‘community’ than they do actual users of their browser. Let’s be real here: WebM has a LONG way to go before it will have any serious amount of traction, and Theora is a joke. Like it or now, H.264 is becoming the standard, and dropping support for it for no good reason is ridiculous.”

We’ll see how the web video “wars” play out and will continue to report on newsworthy updates in this area. In the meantime, we’d love to get your opinions in the comments. Is support for open technologies — even flawed ones — better than support for proprietary technologies, no matter how ubiquitous?

Image based on photo from Flickr user Damon Duncan.

More About: browser, Chromium, codec, Google, h.264, HTML5, theora, video

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If you have, throughout the course of your life, spent more time typing on a keyboard than fiddling with a joystick, we’ve got the perfect video game for you. We hope you’re prepared to dominate.

Z-Type might remind you a little bit of Asteroids or Missile Command, but it might remind you even more of scrambling through keystrokes to send an emergency e-mail or finish an overdue term paper (or in our case, break news in a blog post).

Words appear in the screen, accompanied by dramatic music. As you type, you “shoot” at the words until they explode at the last keystroke. The higher you level up, the faster the words appear, and the greater their numbers become.

Z-Type was made with Impact, an HTML5 JavaScript game framework released at the tail end of 2010. It plays nicely with most web browsers as well as with mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Both the game and the framework were created by developer Dominic Szablewski. Szablewski made Z-Type for the Mozilla Game On development competition. He said in his blog that he was inspired by games like The Typing of the Dead.

Give Z-Type a shot, and let us know what you think of it (and of the game engine Impact) in the comments.

Hat tip: Sara Chipps.

More About: casual game, game engine, gaming, HTML5, impage, javascript, video game, z-type

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WordPress developer and all-around web geek Joost de Valk has just graced the Internet with a highly useful infographic.

For a medium that leans toward the amusing, infographics can occasionally be enlightening or even helpful for later reference.

This one serves as a sort of “cheat sheet for how your blog works” and takes the reader through the basics of a normal WordPress theme.

It’s a posts-to-plugins look at the anatomy of a typical WordPress theme. Have a look, and let us know what you think in the comments.

Click to see original.



More About: infographic, joost de valk, WordPress, WordPress theme, yoast

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Google has taken the next step to expanding goo.gl, its URL shortener, and integrating it into third-party apps with the launch of the goo.gl API.

The new API, like Google’s URL shortener, is rather straightforward. It gives developers the ability to use goo.gl to shorten or expand their URLs and to retrieve URL history and analytics.

“You could use these features for a wide variety of applications, enabling behaviors ranging from auto-shortening within Twitter or Google Buzz clients to running regular jobs that monitor your usage statistics and traffic patterns,” Google’s Ben D’Angelo said in a blog post announcing the API.

What does the launch of the goo.gl API mean? While URL shorteners may not be terribly sexy, they are becoming a big business, one dominated by Bit.ly. Goo.gl’s URL shortener could siphon off users with the API. Its integration with Google’s products, spam protection and speed could make it a desirable alternative for developers looking to speed up their apps.

More About: api, Goo.gl, Google

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After nearly three years of development, Drupal 7.0 is officially available. The latest release of the open source content management system that powers high profile websites like WhiteHouse.gov features a revamped admin interface, more flexibility options for content and more optimized code.

Drupal founder and project leader Dries Buytaert estimates that approximately 1,000 people contributed to Drupal 7. The Drupal community at large will be holding worldwide “release parties” in 88 countries on Friday, January 7, 2011.

Mashable recently named Drupal one of the 10 websites to watch in 2011, in large part because of the improvements promised by Drupal 7. The CMS already powers approximately 1% of all the websites in world and we expect to see that figure only increase.

Drupal has always been well regarded in terms of its power and abilities; it’s just actually learning and using the system that can take more effort. That’s why one of the big undertakings with Drupal 7 (and something that will continue to be a focus in Drupal 8) is in usability, especially from an administration perspective.

The installation process has also received an overhaul — and Drupal might not quite match WordPress’s famous “five-minute install” on live hosting environments — but on a local host, the process is just as simple.

The default installation includes built-in modules for things like OpenID support, forums and contact forms that you can enable or disable at will.

Check out this video the Drupal team put together showing off all of the hard work that has gone into Drupal 7.0.

Have you ever used Drupal to build a website? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

More About: CMS, drupal, drupal 7.0, open source

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This year brought quite a few headlines of note to the developer world. While we each have our favorites, from new releases of classic tools to astounding announcements from tech companies, here, in no particular order, are a few stories that stood out to us this year.

In the comments, we’d love to know what stories stood out most to you this year, partly to indulge our sense of gratuitous end-of-year nostalgia and partly to help us hone our coverage for 2011, when we hope to bring you more fascinating web dev news than ever before.

What were your favorite dev-related headlines of 2010?


1. The Release of Rails 3.0


Early in February, the Ruby on Rails core team took the wraps off Rails 3.0, a long-awaited release of the popular Ruby framework.

Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson wrote on the Rails blog, “We’ve had more than 250 people help with the release and we’ve been through almost 4,000 commits since 2.3 to get here. Yet still the new version feels lighter, more agile, and easier to understand.

“It’s a great day to be a Rails developer.”


2. Salesforce’s Acquisition of Heroku


Earlier this month, Salesforce bought Heroku for a staggering $212 million, giving another token of legitimacy to the growing Ruby community as well as to cloud-based programming tools.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said at the time, “The next era of cloud computing is social, mobile and real-time… Ruby is the language of Cloud 2, and Heroku is the leading Ruby application platform-as-a-service for Cloud 2 that is fueling this growing community. We think this acquisition will uniquely position Salesforce.com as the cornerstone for the next generation of app developers.”


3. Facebook’s Release of HipHop for PHP


In February, Facebook rolled out HipHop, an internal open-source project intended to speed up PHP for large-scale applications.

HipHop isn’t quite a compiler. “Rather,” wrote Facebook engineer Haiping Zhao, “it is a source code transformer. HipHop programmatically transforms your PHP source code into highly optimized C++ and then uses g++ to compile it.”

The project was the culmination of two years of work by a small team of engineers; in the end, it got a thumbs-up from PHP creator Rasmus Lerdorf, who said, “I think it is a cool project and it will certainly be a good option for some sites.”


4. The Rise of Node.js


Node.js has been around for a couple years, but 2010 was the year awareness and use of the JavaScript framework really blew up.

Commits have grown, as have the number of committers. Traffic to the project website has steadily climbed through the year, and downloads for Node.js from GitHub have predictably grown, as well.

As the organizers of the annual Node Knockout wrote, “It’s at the bleeding edge of a technology stack that allows developers to blur the lines between software, the web and the new like never before.”


5. Microsoft’s Release of Visual Studio 2010


The latest version of Microsoft’s Visual Studio, a big release by any standards, launched this year to impressive reviews from all corners of the web. InfoWorld said the release “marks a major advance in functionality and ease,” and The Register wrote, “It is hard not to be impressed by Microsoft’s tool suite.”

The IDE was overhauled, completely rewritten from the ground up. Support for Silverlight was added, and Microsoft also took this opportunity to release F#, a new programming language developed by Microsoft Research.


6. Facebook’s Release of the Open Graph API


Facebook and social app developers have long wrestled with Facebook integration for third parties. In the spring at its f8 developer conference, Facebook rolled out a brand new model for tapping into the social web, and it did so to unprecedented fanfare.

Dubbed the Open Graph, Facebook’s changes brought instant gratification and familiarity for Facebook users as they surfed the web — and they brought a fast and easy way for devs to integrate with the social network, as easy as a single line of HTML in many cases.


7. The Android/Java/Oracle Saga


What a year it’s been for Java! Not only is the language a key part in the programming stack of the fastest-growing mobile OS out there; it’s also the star of a big, potentially spendy lawsuit between two of the giants of the tech industry.

Sun, which developed the language in-house back in the dark ages, was acquired by Oracle. That deal became official in January, and Oracle wasted no time in getting litigious with Google over that company’s use of Java in the Android platform and the Dalvik virtual machine that stands in for the JVM on mobile OSes.

The lawsuit began in August with Oracle claiming that Google “knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property.”

Google quickly countered that it was shocked — shocked! — that Oracle would make such claims over an open-source technology. It followed with the assertions that Oracle’s patents are unenforceable and that if there had been “any use in the Android platform of any protected elements” of Java, Google itself “is not liable” due to the fact that such violations would have been committed by third parties and without Google’s knowledge.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on the lawsuit and on Java’s role in the Android platform throughout 2011.


8. Apple Declares War on Flash


Tensions between Apple and Adobe ran high this year, beginning in January when the iPad launched without support for Flash. Then in February, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told employees why: “No one will be using Flash. The world is moving to HTML5.”

These were the words that launched a thousand blog posts. Throughout the spring, the two companies waged a war of words — and one sweet antitrust inquiry with the Department of Justice over Apple’s banning of Flash for iPhone app devs.

Steve Jobs dropped the bomb of the year in a passive-aggressive missive on Flash in which the Apple co-founder stated that Adobe’s programming technology is “no longer necessary” and waxed hypocritical about open technologies.

But while he may have been passive aggressive and hypocritical, he also may have been right. With HTML5 making a strong showing early in its lifetime, it was only a matter of time before a public figure of Jobs’s stature would make a statement or two about the death of Flash.

Of course, this tension has made for a convenient cozying-up between Google and Adobe along the way.


What Are Your Picks?


Again, let us know in the comments what your favorite stories of 2010 were — and Happy New Year from the geeks at Mashable!

With special thanks to our Twitter friends who made suggestions for this list: Jordan Runnin, Leon Gersing and Jeremy Bray.

More About: 2010, developers, heroku, hiphop, java, News, node.js, php, programming, rails, ruby, visual studio, Web Development, web development series

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