2020 Issue 1

Ballerina Newsletter

Issue #1 - May 26, 2020

This is a periodic newsletter of content around Ballerina and related technology topics such as integration, microservices, distributed systems, and cloud computing.

Rethinking Programming

Earlier this year, Mike Loukides, Vice President of Content Strategy for O'Reilly Media, published an article titled "Rethinking Programming" where he made the case for new thinking in how programming is taught and for creating new, more sophisticated programming tools. His article explores how the programming world is split between highly trained professionals who work on low-level code and people who don’t have a deep background but focus on high-level app development that helps meet business requirements.

Almost all general-purpose programming languages are designed with abstractions and constructs for the former group. As a result, most languages and tools today don’t provide the best programming experience for the latter group.

That’s where Ballerina comes in. While being a general-purpose language, Ballerina introduces a set of new abstractions, tools, and a platform to help cloud-era application developers. Some of its unique features include:

  • Making networking abstractions like client objects, services, resource functions, and network listeners a part of the language.
  • A network-friendly, data-oriented type system, which enables developers to model network communications in a convenient way avoiding unnecessary data binding steps.
  • Built-in cloud support, which gives developers direct source code level control over the generation of cloud deployment artifacts like Dockerfiles, Docker images, and Kubernetes configurations.
  • Abstractions and syntax for concurrency and network interaction, which have been designed so that there is a close correspondence with sequence diagrams allowing every program to be graphically represented as a sequence diagram.

To learn more about these key features of Ballerina, read Lakmal Warusawithana’s InfoQ article on Rethinking Programming: Language and Platform for Cloud-Era Application Developers.

If you’d like to dive in a bit deeper, check out the following series of articles published on HackerNoon:

What’s New in Ballerina?

We released Ballerina 1.2 on March 20, 2020 with many new features. Here are some feature highlights that are detailed in the release blog:

  • Query expressions bring the power of SQL-like query capabilities directly into the language as comprehensions for data processing.
  • `Let` expressions allow you to declare variables that are limited to a scope of an expression on which it is used.
  • The `@deprecation` annotation, which specifies a mechanism to mark Ballerina API elements that are no longer in use.
  • An improved compiler which significantly reduces the compilation time.
  • A tool to easily invoke Java APIs so that you can reuse all your existing Java code from within Ballerina.

We hope you found this information useful. We’ll catch you again soon!

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