Some Web hosting services discourage or prohibit the practice known as “scraping,” whereby a custom-built bot crawls the Web looking for particular content to repurpose. While scraping can be used for questionable purposes like generating spam text or manipulating search engines, in this case a student is looking for a host for a legitimate project based on tracking political candidates for the 2012 election.

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JavaScript’s seemingly inexorable march toward becoming the universal language of new media recently opened a new beachhead on the Web server. With an effusion of excitement about, and profusion of frameworks for, using JavaScript for such server-side tasks as accessing databases, the homely script that started out as a love child of Netscape and Internet Explorer could end up displacing such respected languages as PHP, Python, and Ruby.

Microsoft Vice President Julie Larson-Green didn’t help matters during a demo of Windows 8, when she called HTML5 / JavaScript “our new developer platform“–freaking out legions of developers who’ve diligently learned Microsoft-only platforms from Visual Basic to C#. Will Microsoft say nyet to .NET?

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