14 June 2019

The Hacker’s Tribute Vol. 9: GraalVM, Spring Tools, and Webpack 4.0


Don’t stress! Help is on its way! This week’s issue of The Hacker’s Tribute explores GraalVM Tracing Agents, Spring tools, Webpack 4.0, and a mountain of crucial advice from Android.

Welcome back! 

Remember, no man, woman, coder, or developer is an island.

And sometimes we need a little help from our friends. Tracing agents, Spring tools, Webpack, and even wake locks – wherever we look, there’s someone out there willing to lend us a hand.

It’s a reminder that we’re all interconnected – and piece by piece, all working to making our online experiences a little easier. Google Play even shelled out some great advice on App development, so you know you’re in safe hands. And if you’re more on the iOS development-side, you can expect some great news too.

Of course, if you’re expecting roses, there’ll too be a thorn. Android looks set to split – making devs’ jobs a little more tedious. But with a little bad, comes a whole lot of good.

So, this summer, rid yourself of your HTTP, plan ahead for Android, and enjoy the fruits of the tech worlds’ labour. They made it – you can sit back and exploit it!

Read on, my lucky friends!



Dan ‘the Man’ Kowalski

Editor-in-Chief, The Hacker’s Tribute

It’s an Agent. Tracing Agent. 

A little help, from your new secretive weapon. This tracing agent saves the day, observing apps’ behaviour on Java Hotspot VM, and writing files to configure the native image generator automatically. It’s an all-new feature, that should help apps run as native images, and as part of the continuous integration build/test system. Download direct from GraalVM – read the insight right here. Good luck, double-oh seven.

No HTTP. Same Internet Taste

Detox that http:// from your system now! A recent post claimed that Java libraries downloading dependencies over HTTP were exposed to Man in the Middle (MITM) attacks. Following wide-scale patches, the poison seems to be flushed out. Spring has made significant progress switching to HTTPs. You can join too, with Pivotal’s noHTTP tool. Find, replace, and integrate, for a future free from the tyranny of HTTP. Hello, bright future. Hello HTTPs.

Google Play, the Better Way

I bet your app is incredible. But just how incredible is it really? Android Developers have come forth with some advice of biblical proportions. Real basics – a master text of in-depth advice. Think: testing against quality guidelines, Android vitals dashboard, new icon specifications, and much, much more. We’re excited about it – and thrilled at the same time.

A Tale of 12 Fragmented Androids

Unless you have an iPhone, you’re with Android. With a 75% market share, you’d think it’s a leader. But with custom varieties split across a dozen devices, the ‘features gap’ between different Android versions appears to be widening. Inconsistency is spreading like wildfire and starting to burn. In one man’s opinion, its iOS who’s the real market winner, meaning developers can expect a lighter workload. Fresh insight from a fresh publication. Check out Eggonomy here!

Webpack 4-point-woah!

Few upgrades in this thrill me as much as Webpack – and with valid reason. Firstly, performance is colossal – automatic parallelisation and caching minification by UglifyJS, new plugin system with monomorphic hooks & handlers, and a shift towards newer ES6 syntax and data structures. More features include sideEffects, eliminating used re-exports from lodash-es, lowering from 223 KiB to 3 KiB. Christmas has arrived a whole lot earlier.

Time to Wake Lock!

A brand-new experiment is taking shape – the Wake Lock API. In an attempt to reconfigure our devices, these and prevent activation of the lock screen for selected operations on smartphones. This is especially helpful for developing GPS, Fitness, or pretty much any app which could notify you from ‘within’ the device’s nap. It’s early days but looks to me like a world of new possibility.

Knowledge is free, and shared. We’re always on the lookout for new insights into the world of App Development. Get in touch with us, and we’ll give you a heads up on your next big idea.

We’ll be in touch with more news, as it happens!


Hackers of the world dream to be him. And that’s an understatement. With methods decades ahead of cyberspace, he’s proceeded only by his own reputation. ‘The Man’ infamous for single-handedly causing the ’08 global financial meltdown, he dropped off-grid searching for purpose. He twice-dominated each of the Himalayan peaks, negotiated the rift valleys of Africa, and swam the Amazonian Basin end-to-end. It was in Siberia where we caught up to him – convincing him to work for the ‘good guys’. The veteran’s veteran of coding, now confidently within our ranks, is finally a force for good. Just don’t test him.