Mu Dynamics’ CTO Kowsik Guruswamy was so moved by the use of CouchDB in one of his company’s products that he was driven to blog, tongue-in-cheek, about how the project makes building a startup too easy. “CouchDB written in Erlang is honestly spooky,” he wrote.

“With an uptime of eight months and memory utilization of 0.1%, we think it’s actually survived a few power outages too! The joy of running an online community site is the debugging, thinking and solving locking and concurrency issues, outages, and how best to scale the site as the traffic continues to increase.

“CouchDB has taken all that fun away. Things just work, we never have to see why something’s broken and not worry too much about scaling. This means we don’t have to hire more people to manage the site, which means we can’t show the investors and our customers that we are growing rapidly.”

CouchDB is also quickly become a go-to database for mobile developers. That’s because CouchDB is all about distributed unreliably connected data stores, where information can still be stored while devices are disconnected from the network. Data corruption in CouchDB is nigh impossible, as the database has no turn-off button, just the kill switch. CouchDB remains a compelling choice for both server and handheld development.

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windmill
The time has come to admit that Selenium is no longer the only answer for testing Web applications. In the past, it was simply the only option, and became quite popular. But after a few years of use, it has become painfully clear that maintaining Selenium tests is tedious and can become quite a chore. Atlassian CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes said that his developers are finding Selenium to be time-consuming and frustrating. Not to mention the fact that Selenium is notoriously unreliable with browsers other than Firefox.

Enter Windmill. This small Web testing framework has been slowly gathering fans as an alternative to Selenium. Windmill controller methods offer extensive options for pushing the browser to its limits, and you can even write your tests in JavaScript to make them run faster. Best of all, Windmill works with all browsers. While it has not yet become the default replacement for Selenium, further frustration with that platform could make Windmill a popular alternative.

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gosu
Another year, another scripting layer for Java. But Cannon-Brookes said Gosu is a compelling new idea in Java scripting languages.

Instead of all that crazy dynamic stuff Groovy introduces, Gosu is a statically typed language that is 100% bytecode compatible with Java. It’s also object-oriented, imperative, and features both type inference and closures.

The language itself is actually eight years old, but was made open source in 2009. It began life as a way for insurance software development company Guidewire Software to write business rules. In that time, the language has gathered quite a few capabilities, and perhaps most importantly, has lost a lot of the verbosity common in Java.

Overall, Gosu is a compelling new Java scripting language, and a reasonable alternative to Ruby and Groovy.