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Google Will Shut Down App Maker on January 19, 2021
Google will shut down its low-code development platform, App Maker, early next year. From a report: Google today announced it is killing off yet another service: App Maker, G Suite's low-code environment for building custom business apps. Google App Maker will be "turned down" gradually this year and officially shut down on January 19, 2021. Google cited "low usage" as an explanation for the move. If your business was using App Maker or considering moving to App Maker, you'll need to find another tool. Indeed, Google is making today's announcement not even two weeks after acquiring no-code app development platform AppSheet. Google first launched App Maker as part of an Early Adopter Program in November 2016. At the time, we described it as a service that "lets users drag and drop widgets around on a user interface that complies with Google's Material design principles" to create apps that can be "customized further with scripts, as well as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and JQuery content." Once apps are live, usage can be monitored through Google Analytics. App Maker hit general availability for all G Suite Business, Enterprise, and Education customers in June 2018. A year and a half later, and it's already headed to the grave.

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Is PHP Still a Worthwhile Language To Learn?
mbadolato (Slashdot reader #105,588) shares this post from Belgium-based programmer Brent Roose: It's no secret among web developers and programmers in general: PHP doesn't have the best reputation. Despite still being one of the most used languages to build web applications; over the years PHP has managed to get itself a reputation of messy codebases, inexperienced developers, insecure code, an inconsistent core library, and what not. While many of the arguments against PHP still stand today, there's also a bright side: you can write clean and maintainable, fast and reliable applications in PHP. In this post, I want to look at this bright side of PHP development. I want to show you that, despite its many shortcomings, PHP is a worthwhile language to learn. I want you to know that the PHP 5 era is coming to an end. That, if you want to, you can write modern and clean PHP code, and leave behind much of the mess it was 10 years ago. The article notes PHP's opt-in type system and performance-enhancing rewrites (including the ability to store compiled chunks of PHP code in memory). And it argues that PHP "is still evolving today," with a package repository averaging over 25 million downloads a day. There's also PHP web application frameworks (as well as asynchronous frameworks), so "PHP isn't just WordPress anymore." And in keeping with the core team's yearly release cycle, PHP 8 is expected at the end of 2020, which will include a JIT compiler, "allowing PHP to enter new areas besides web development..."

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JetBrains to Reimagine IntelliJ as Text Editor, Add Machine Learning
From a report: JetBrains has added further destinations to the IntelliJ-based roadmap it sketched out last year, promising more localization, machine learning and Git integration amongst a range of other goodies for the Java IDE... The Prague-based firm's CTO Dimitry Jemerov said users had long asked to be able to use its IDEs for "general purpose text editing". While this is possible to some degree currently, in some situations it created a temporary project file, leading to disk clutter and "other inconveniences". However, recent performance improvements mean "the possibility of using our IDEs as lightweight text editors has become more plausible, so we're now building a dedicated mode for editing non-project files. In this mode, the IDE will work more like a simple text editor." This will be faster, he promised, but the feature set will be very limited and "you'll be able to easily switch to the full project mode if you need to use features such as refactoring or debugging... Other upcoming features include more machine learning. Jemerov said this was already being used to improve code completion, but would now be rolled out for other completion features. "We're teaching ML completion to make better use of the context for ranking completion suggestions and to generate completion variants that go beyond a single identifier (full-line completion)". That might take a while, he said, but was a "major area where we are investing our efforts."

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