AWS offers Alexa developers free cloud credits

Developers interested in extending the capabilities of Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant have some more free tools in their arsenal, thanks to a program the company announced Wednesday.

Developers with an active Alexa skill —  a service that expands the capabilities of the virtual assistant — can apply for $ 100 in Amazon Web Services credits every month to help pay for what they’ve built. After that, they can receive up to $ 100 per month in additional credits if they incur usage charges for their skills.

The credits are meant to build on AWS’s existing Free Tier, which offers developers a small bundle of free services every month, but charges them for any usage that goes over those low caps. According to a blog post by Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, the move is supposed to make it free for developers to operate most Alexa skills.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

BlackBerry offers secure mobile communications platform for developers

BlackBerry on Tuesday announced a new line of business to provide developers with a secure, cloud-based, mobile communications platform for texting, voice, video and file sharing.

Developers can insert these capabilities into their existing custom apps and services using the new BBM Enterprise SDK (software developer kit), BlackBerry said. The SDK will be sold as a per-user license on a subscription basis to developers, including those employed at enterprises, and to independent software vendors (ISVs).

BlackBerry didn’t say what the licenses would cost, but did say the cost would be affordable, especially compared to communications products from competitors that usually charge on a usage basis for texts, voice and video calls. The SDK will be available worlwide later in February for apps running on iOS and Android.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Salesforce targets ‘citizen developers’ with new tools and training

If there’s an overriding trend in the world of enterprise software lately, it’s democratization, as tools previously reserved for experts are put in the hands of average users. On Tuesday, Salesforce.com climbed on board with new software, training and support services that aim to help more users — not just professional developers — build applications for the Salesforce platform.

There aren’t enough trained developers to create apps for the business world, the company says, so it wants to help users in all parts of the organization make their own. More than 2.8 million developers have already built some 5.5 million apps based on the company’s customer relationship management software, it says, and at its TrailheaDX developer event in San Francisco, it made several announcements to expand that further.

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CIO Cloud Computing

IDG Contributor Network: Developers cheer as Atlassian delivers continuously from the cloud

Atlassian is perhaps the quintessential example of how new companies are built. Founded in Australia, the company has scaled and is now firmly entrenched in the U.S. as a publicly listed company.

The interesting thing about Atlassian, at least compared to better known SaaS companies such as Box or Salesforce, is that it has scaled without resorting to the traditional model of having high-paid, and high-pressure, salespeople. Atlassian seems to have mastered the viral approach to selling, and it has an almost rabid following within enterprise development shops.

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Network World Cloud Computing

At Build, Microsoft tried a different way to mobile developers’ hearts

At its Build developer conference this week, Microsoft showed how it plans to stay relevant in the mobile computing market without a popular mobile OS.

Microsoft’s plan isn’t so much to rely on developers building applications for Windows 10 Mobile, but rather to create tools to help them build apps on any OS and hope this trickles down to help Microsoft as a whole.

One key move in this regard is releasing Xamarin’s tools to developers for free. Xamarin, which Microsoft acquired a few weeks ago, lets developers create apps for iOS and Android using C#, a programming language that Microsoft originated.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Why Microsoft wants to help developers build bots

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is pushing developers to create virtual assistants and intelligent chatbots to help users do everything from managing their calendars to booking hotel reservations.

To that end, Microsoft has published a new Bot Framework, which makes it easier to build chatbots using either C# or Node.js. Working with the tools isn’t so easy that anyone could do it, but they can help reduce some of the difficulties of conversing with a computer.

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CIO Cloud Computing

New AWS tools give developers high-powered instances, better container support and more

Developing apps and services to leverage the cloud is the new normal, Amazon Chief Technical Officer Werner Vogels told an audience at the company’s Re:Invent conference in Las Vegas Thursday.

To that end, Amazon announced a whole slew of new features for its cloud that should help developers take advantage of it in one form or another. 

AWS Lambda, which allows developers to just run blocks of code when necessary without worrying about provisioning resources, received a bunch of updates, including support for accessing resources running in a virtual private cloud. That’s key for businesses that make VPCs a cornerstone of their cloud strategy. The service now also lets them create functions using the popular Python programming language. 

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CIO Cloud Computing

Why developers have more power than you think

Jeff Lawson is a walking, talking example of the rise of the developer.

Today, he’s the CEO of API economy darling Twilio, a cloud platform that offers API-accessible telecom services to marquee customers like Home Depot and Uber. But 20 years ago, he was another computer science student who saw the power of the Internet and wanted to try his hand at building Web applications.

Back then, says Lawson, he did what every other young developer with a wicked Web obsession did: He downloaded a bootleg copy of the popular ColdFusion application server and started building. Five years later, when he became the founding CTO of the ticket exchange service StubHub, Lawson chose ColdFusion again because he knew it inside out.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

IBM aims new IoT community site at developers

Hoping to rally the worldwide development community around the Internet of Things and drive business to its cloud services as well, IBM has launched a community space for programmers to write software to connect remote devices to back-end cloud systems.

The site, called DeveloperWorks Recipes, provides a base for developers to learn about how IoT systems work and how to create code to run these systems.

This is the second community site that IBM has set up in the past month. Last week, the company established DeveveloperWorks Open, to help developers collaborate on building open-source business software.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing