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Jolt Awards

1997 Jolt & Productivity Awards


Features: May 1998: 1997 Jolt & Productivity Awards

The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation into Microsoft’s monopoly position was arguably the most important software development industry issue last year. It’s an issue that Software Development readers came back to again and again in their feedback to articles and reviews.

It was also an issue for our Jolt Award judges, as they evaluated development tools for our Jolt Product Excellence and Productivity Awards. Despite the deadly seriousness of the issue as far as business competitiveness and free market viability, our Jolt judges were able to maintain some perspective, and humor, as the following pearly gates story, which surfaced during the judges’ deliberations, reveals.

Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and Al Gore are in an airplane crash. They go to heaven, and there, just inside the pearly gates, is God sitting on His throne. God asks Vice President Gore, “Al, what do you believe?”

Al promptly answers, “I believe the internal combustion engine is evil and responsible for most of the problems on Earth. What we need to do is save the world from CFCs.”

God thinks for a second and says “O.K., that sounds good to me. Come and sit at my left hand.”

God then addresses President Clinton. “Bill, what do you believe?”

Clinton replies, “Well, I believe in empowering the people. I think people should be responsible for their own choices and that if we all felt and shared each other’s pain, we would go a long way toward reducing class and race hatred.”

God thinks for a second and says “O.K., that sounds good. Come and sit at my right hand.”

God then addresses Bill Gates. “Bill, what do you believe?”

Gates says, “I believe you’re sitting in my chair.”

While Microsoft tried to deflect criticism by questioning the DOJ’s right to orchestrate the chorus of arguments related to its monopoly position, there seemed to be some consensus at year-end that, because of its position, Microsoft, like Caesar’s wife, needed to be held to a higher standard of virtue—a lesson that high government officials were also in the process of learning. As this debate raged, our Jolt Awards went on.

What Is a Jolt?

Software Development magazine’s Jolt Product Excellence Award, bestowed each year at the Software Development Conference and Expo, honors development tools that, in some way, made the difficult task of developing corporate software easier, faster, more efficient, or more precise. These are the products that jolted the industry with their significance, and brought a jolt of productivity to software development managers and their teams. This is the logic underlying the award’s design: a can of hyper-caffeinated Jolt Cola embedded in a block of Lucite.

For the past eight years, we’ve honored great development tools with this highly coveted award—which in the corporate development industry outclasses both the Oscar and the Golden Globe. Or maybe even higher: When Grady Booch accepted the Jolt Award in the Design and Management Tools category for the UML 1.0+ Specification, he compared it to the Nobel Peace Prize in the software industry, stating “A large number of people had to work together and come to an agreement on the need for a Unified Modeling Language.”

The Categories

In 1997, vendors, judges, and readers nominated a record 269 products for Jolts—once again, almost twice the number from the previous year. From this group, the judges selected 40 finalists and evaluated these products to select the winners.

Software Development honors products in six categories: languages and development environments; utilities; books and computer-based training; design and management tools; libraries, frameworks, and components; and special (for products that defy the preceding categories). One product in each category receives the Jolt Product Excellence Award, while the three runners-up receive the Productivity Award. On the following pages, you’ll see a mixture of books and products that either signify an important new development paradigm (the UML and Java JDK 1.1) or represent tried-and-true enhancements in the brave new world of n-tier web development.

The Judges

The Jolt and Productivity Awards wouldn’t take place without our esteemed panel of judges, drawn from the writers and editors of Software Development magazine:

Scott Ambler
Andy Barnhart
Andrew Binstock
Dana Cline
Barbara Hanscome
Stan Kelly-Bootle
Warren Keuffel
Bill Lazar
Larry O’Brien
Roland Racko
Dan Rogers
Guy Scharf
Roger Smith
Jacques Surveyer
Karl Wiegers
Alan Zeichick

The Hall of Fame Debate

Only products that have consistently shown serious content improvement release after release make it into the short list for our Jolt Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame award is reserved for products that have received so many Jolts in the past that we feel special recognition is due. This year, the judges debated long and furiously, but they finally reached consensus that the Hall of Fame Award should go to Microsoft’s Visual Basic. Visual Basic represents a serious productivity aid within the software engineering culture, and has won so many previous awards that we couldn’t ignore it.

You can read more about the Visual Basic debate and all the Jolt and Productivity Award winners on the following pages. Then, you can decide for yourself which side of the fence you want to be on—or if the gate is still open in the DOJ’s efforts to corral Microsoft.

The Awards
Languages and Development Enviornments Utilities
Books and Computer-Based Training Design and Management Tools
Libraries, Frameworks, and Components Special
Hall of Fame

Langauges and Development Environments

Productivity Awards

Visual Café for Java,
Database Development Edition

Symantec

Whenever anyone just getting into Java asks me what to use, I always recommend Visual Café. The interface is intuitive and the wizards let you create highly functional applets and applications quickly and easily. You can design interactive forms that interface to numerous data sources without having to write any Java code—the wizards will generate most common code sequences. When you do dive into the code, the two-way tools let you continue using wizards and visual editing later in the project. Other important features include myriad samples, a first-rate debugger, and the option to generate either Java byte codes or native Windows code.
—Andy Barnhart

C++Builder
Borland

Borland’s C++Builder is C++ Tweedledum to Delphi. It incorporates Delphi’s GUI ease-of-use features with fast compile and linking technology to make C++ development a much less onerous task. Recent extensions simplify database development—particularly those with n-tier designs and middleware. It still lacks server-side debugging, but its SQL Explorer and Query Builder make interacting with SQL data sources much more manageable. Management of the development process in a team environment embracing even the World Wide Web is another key feature of this program that can do C++, MFC, and ActiveX with the Delphi speed and ease-of-development touch.
—Jacques Surveyer

JBuilder
Borland

JBuilder is not quite the same clone of Delphi that C++Builder is. But clearly one can see the common heritage in the layout of its IDE with a tabbed toolbar chock full of Java Beans for form controls, open and close dialogs, database-aware controls, treeviews, database grids, and more. All the pieces are here for building JDK 1.1 applets, applications, and console applications. And although this first edition lacks some of the quickness normally associated with Borland compile and build cycles, there are enhanced debugging capabilities plus one of the more robust JDBC and Beans creation capabilities available—clearly indicative of Borland’s n-tier and web awareness.
—Jacques Surveyer

Jolt Award

Java JDK 1.1
JavaSoft

Has anyone not yet heard of Java, “write once, run everywhere,” and the promise of Network Computing? This year’s Jolt Award for the Languages and Development Environments category goes to a language product that wasn’t even submitted for evaluation. Standing on its own merit and broad penetration, the judges couldn’t look readers in the eye without considering Java from the source. All of the language vendors have adopted it as a core language product. In fact, compared to JDK 1.1 , there isn’t a single language product out there that has ever met our “jolted the world of software developers” judging criteria more closely than JDK 1.1.

On our radar scope for the second year, the rapid maturation of the language and the features supported in JDK 1.1 put the Java language on the verge of “crossing the chasm”—that magic time when a technology comes out of the ivory towers and research dungeons and bursts onto the toolbars we use to crank applications out day after day. Today, the early adopters of JDK 1.1 are wooing their customers with cross-platform network applications that use remote Java components via RMI and CORBA, perform enterprise database access with built-in support for JDBC, and are building applications faster than ever using JavaBeans, Sun’s answer to ActiveX.

Important changes to the language specification let the JDK 1.1 developer create and extend these Beans-based components. A new event model is at the core of this ability, making it easy to redefine the way a Bean behaves. Database vendors like IBM, Oracle, Sybase, and Informix are slowly replacing proprietary middleware with thin JDBC drivers, and we’re even seeing the venerable SQL-based languages used to create stored database procedures become replaced by Java. To come: convergence in Java Security models and a potential ANSI Java standard. Where’s it all going? Onward into the future. One thing’s for sure. If you’re not coding or at least studying Java by the end of this year, you’d better be polishing up your résumé.
—Dan Rogers

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Utilities

Productivity Awards

Visual SlickEdit 3.0
MicroEdge

Visual SlickEdit is a premier source code editor, running on Win32, OS/2, and various flavors of UNIX. Version 2.0 was a Jolt winner last year, and 3.0 continues that tradition. For Java and C++ programmers, the addition of a class browser is a welcome feature. Web developers will appreciate spell checking for HTML pages that ignores HTML tags and anchors. All programmers will appreciate the dynamic tagging of methods and functions. Improved printing capability supports color printers, providing enhanced readability of printed source code with color-coded keywords, comments, and more.
—Scott Ambler

InstallShield Professional 5.0
InstallShield Software Corp.

The days of writing a simple installation to create a directory and copy a few files are gone. With requirements for supporting uninstall, properly sharing common DLLs, creating program groups, managing your registry entries, offering the user installation options, and providing feedback for progress, an installation program can be a complex application in its own right. InstallShield Professional 5.0 provides all the tools necessary to create installation programs that are solid, attractive, and compliant with Windows logo requirements. It’s no wonder that many other award-winning applications use it.
—Andy Barnhart

SunTest Suite
Sun Microsystems Inc.

One of Java’s pitfalls has been getting good test coverage across platforms. Even when testing is done on numerous platforms, the tests may vary due to software used or human error from one platform to the next. SunSoft’s SunTest Suite addresses this problem by providing a test generation and execution system in Java, which moves across the platforms to help ensure tests are uniform. The suite includes a utility for recording and playing back user interface tests, a utility for checking code coverage in tests, and a utility for testing programmatic access for libraries. All the testing tools are written in Java and produce tests that are also Java code, so there is no new scripting language to learn.
—Andy Barnhart

Jolt Award

DevPartner Studio
NuMega

When NuMega received the first-ever Jolt Hall of Fame Award last year for the six-time Jolt-winning BoundsChecker, we wondered how its developers would make a comeback. Mid-year, though, NuMega proved that smart begets smart. With the appearance of the DevPartner studio product line, NuMega signaled to the world its intention to retain the spotlight in debugging excellence. Targeting the professional developer who wants to achieve the highest levels of productivity, NuMega, for the first time, focused its debugging expertise on the large community of Microsoft Visual Studio developers.

The DevPartner Studio for Visual Basic Suite consists of four products that integrate tightly with the Visual Basic development and testing environment. These four products—CodeReview, SmartCheck, TrueTime, and FailSafe—provide a support system for the full-cycle developer. CodeReview is an automated source code analysis tool that rigorously examines your Visual Basic code and reports deviations from your own coding standards, identifies known problem spots, and makes corrections and suggestions. SmartCheck is a run-time debugging tool that takes advantage of the ability to compile to native code with debugging symbols to let you pinpoint the cause of an error down to the source line. TrueTime is a run-time code profiler that lets you isolate and focus on performance bottlenecks. FailSafe instruments your code with robust error handlers that help you isolate the sources of errors, even after deployment.

Having all of these things in one package is good. Having a subscription program that not only gets you enhancements and updates but also guarantees you’ll get any new products added to the suite is great. A DevPartner Studio subscription is one of the most cost-effective ways to equip your entire team with a high-quality, high-performance means to improve code quality and reduce development time. Once again, we tip our can of Jolt to the entire NuMega team.
—Dan Rogers

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Books and Computer-Based Training

Productivity Awards

The Deadline: A Novel about Project Management
by Tom DeMarco
Dorset House Publishing

Project management must be learned through experience and watching others. Since most software managers rise from the ranks of programmers, and consequently don’t have a clue about project management, the situation is ripe for teaching by example. That’s what Tom DeMarco addresses with The Deadline. Modeling it after George Gamow’s “Mr. Tompkins” tales, DeMarco leads his readers through the entertaining—and simultaneously instructive—adventures of another Mr. Tompkins who is kidnapped to manage the software projects of a mythical central European country. At the end, you’ve almost painlessly assimilated many valuable techniques.
—Warren Keuffel

UML Distilled
by Martin Fowler with Kendall Scott
Addison Wesley Longman Inc.

This entertaining guide to the UML should be the first source any software developer consults before tackling the monolithic specification—or any of the forthcoming books by the Three Amigos: Rumbaugh, Jacobson, and Booch. In UML Distilled, Martin Fowler, author of Analysis Patterns: Reusable Object Models (Addison Wesley Longman, 1987), boils down the UML to its key concepts. He explains what various parts of the notation mean, when to use them, and where you can find more information. While not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial or definitive reference guide, it’s a good overview that will prepare developers well for further study in object modeling.
—Barbara Hanscome

Building Object Applications that Work
by Scott Ambler
SIGS Books/Cambridge University Press

The title seems loquacious, but Scott Ambler’s book delivers exactly what it promises—a robust look into building object applications. This is no small feat given the wide range of object-oriented development. Ambler’s willingness to depart from a UML-only viewpoint and to advocate practical techniques like CRC modeling or data modeling provides a bridge from classic CASE methods to object-oriented design. It also has the strong feel of practical object-oriented application building experience. Its common thrust is an elaboration of theory into usable practices for developing robust object-oriented systems.
—Jacques Surveyer

Jolt Award

Object-Oriented Software Construction, Second Edition
by Bertrand Meyer
Prentice Hall PTR

The first edition of Object-Oriented Software Construction (Prentice Hall, 1988), was a classic text for learning object-oriented programming. What made it unique was that Meyer dealt with fundamental software development issues in a very literate and useful way, independent of any programming system, language, or application area. Although most reviewers at the time pigeonholed him as an Eiffel language enthusiast, Meyer’s contribution was more in-depth. It was based on a study of the underlying software engineering issues.

This second edition will be appreciated by the developer community even more than the first, if that’s possible. In my unbiased opinion (I’m not an Eiffel developer), it is destined to become the comprehensive and definitive reference for most of the methodological and technical questions raised by object technology. Its width and breadth of scope is impressive, from object-oriented techniques like Design by Contract and inheritance, to methodology issues like patterns and class design, to advanced issues like concurrency and persistence. This book is almost a total rewrite of the previous edition: Meyer only uses the word Eiffel once. In a memorable last paragraph, he writes “...the time has now come, at the close of our extended tour of the beauties of object-oriented software construction, to lift the very thin veil that covered the name of our notation: welcome to the world of Eiffel.”

This is the one book to read if you are new to most of the object-oriented school of thought, or if you’re just in need of a refresher course.
—Roger Smith

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Design and Management Tools

Productivity Awards

Visio Professional 5.0
Visio Corp.

Visio Professional 5.0 is one of the few tools I can honestly say you should upgrade to immediately. It encroaches into the territory of CASE tools with its support for UML class diagrams, including the ability to input detailed documentation. Organizations using Visio to document the layout of their network and hardware architecture will be happy to learn that Visio now includes stencils for a wide range of vendor-specific shapes. Further, Visio 5.0 is web-enabled, letting you publish HTML pages and input a wide range of graphics formats. Finally, its support for dynamic page sizes lets you create diagrams of any size. Visio 5.0 provides a unique approach for creating a wide range of business and technical diagrams and is a product that many software professionals live or die by.
—Scott Ambler

SPR KnowledgePLAN
Software Productivity Research

SPR KnowledgePlan bootstraps plans and development cycle estimates with a knowledgebase of real project histories. This ever-growing database helps craft plans that take into account factors ranging from the maturity of a team’s skills, to the likelihood of scope creep, to project priorities. Template projects and wizards fine-tune your plan in the blink of an eye. As development progresses, you record your team’s performance against the plan. This fine-tunes the knowledgebase to your organization’s capabilities, resulting in more accurate plans each cycle.
—Dan Rogers

Genitor, Corporate Edition
Genitor Corp.

As the complexity of interrelationships between modules increases, visual organization of programming materials becomes more important. Genitor helps you achieve that end with a Windows-based tool that applies the Explorer metaphor to the structure of C++ classes. Within each class, components are iconized and shown in their correct relationship to each other. Clicking on a component provides editing access to it, thus providing balance between visual and textual interface modes. After the required classes are assembled and edited, Genitor generates a complete program, ready for compilation by your compiler of choice. This release adds the powerful capability to reverse-engineer existing C and C++ code.
—Warren Keuffel

Jolt Award

UML Spec 1.0+
Rational Corp.

There’s no doubt that the Unified Modeling Language (UML), the brainchild of Rational Corp.’s Three Amigos—Grady Booch, Ivar Jacobson, and Jim Rumbaugh—is the de facto modeling notation for object-oriented development. Although still evolving and maturing (the current version at the time of this writing is 1.1), the UML is arguably the most important thing to happen in the object-oriented modeling community since the introduction of design patterns in the early 1990s.

Although the Three Amigos receive the lion’s share of the credit, the reality is that multiple organizations are involved in the care and feeding of the UML, including, but not limited to, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, MCI Systemhouse, Oracle, and Unisys. Not satisfied with being the de facto modeling standard, the UML has been accepted by the Object Management Group (OMG) as the de facto object-oriented modeling notation.

The UML describes a consistent notation for many key object-oriented models, including class diagrams, sequence diagrams, use-case diagrams, collaboration diagrams, statechart diagrams, activity diagrams, component diagrams, and deployment diagrams. The information technology industry finally has a generally accepted modeling notation that is supported by several CASE tools and books, with new releases being made weekly. In fact, several of this year’s Jolt Award winners support the UML notation.

Many people have asked me why they should forsake the current modeling notation in favor of the UML, and the answer is simple: it’s only a bunch of bubbles and lines, so pick a common notation and move forward. With the object-oriented industry firmly accepting the UML as the modeling notation of choice, we can finally stop arguing about what our bubbles and lines are going to look like, and concentrate on how we’re going to use them to develop software. In short, the UML is a key enabler for object-oriented development.”
—Scott Ambler

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Libraries, Frameworks, and Components

Productivity Awards

Internet Appliance Toolkit
QNX Software Systems
Shhh—don’t let your competent software engineers get their hands on this package. If they load it onto their PCs, they and eventually you will understand why Network Computing machines have more than a fighting chance. Suddenly a Pentium 233MHz displays the muscle and responsiveness that gets bogged down in today’s bloatware, registries, and operating system overhead. Internet Appliance Toolkit also provides the operating system, compiler, GUI interface, application builder, TCP/IP, and Internet utilities. Now that QNX has concluded licensing of Java with Sun, you can do just about anything. But, shhh—and if your head office is in Redmond, Wash., don’t bother to read this.
—Jacques Surveyer

DbComplete
Sybase / Visual Components

Cross a treeview with a database grid, and you have a major innovation in GUI components. Created by the same folks who brought us OCX fixtures like Formula One, an Excel spreadsheet look-alike, and First Impressions for sophisticated graphing, dbComplete provides a simple way to present master detail database tables and sophisticated drill-downs straight out of decision support systems. Its grids can display cells in text mode, icon or picture mode, drop-down combo mode, or check boxes. It also has a supercharged data control more like the versatile data navigator of Borland’s Delphi. And the cost of about a 1.5MB run time is well worth the price of admission.
—Jacques Surveyer

Great Circle
Geodesic Systems

If you’re thinking that one of Java’s great features—garbage collection—is great enough to risk migrating your C and C++ legacy code and rearchitecting and reengineering your entire code base, then we advise you to take a look at Great Circle. With Geodesic Systems’ garbage collection technology, you can automatically eliminate memory leaks in C and C++ source code, legacy code, and third-party components like libraries, X Windows, shared-libraries, DLLs, and windowing libraries. One way to think about Great Circle might be as a real-time “debugger on steroids” since it can track down memory leaks and fix them at run time.
—Roger Smith

Jolt Award

The San Francisco Project
IBM Corp.

The San Francisco Project is a sophisticated, complex set of business object frameworks written in Java that IBM developed during the past three years. In August, IBM released the first products to come out of the effort: the San Francisco Foundation and Utilities and the San Francisco Common Business Objects. David Andrews and Maria DeGiglio of the D.H. Andrews Group, wrote, “Without a great deal of fanfare, IBM has quietly developed a product that could change how application software is created. The product will allow developers to spend less time creating more sophisticated applications.”

San Francisco includes business objects that encapsulate persistent business data and logic, and business objects that represent business tasks that may be executed either as a single transaction or as part of a larger transaction. The business objects are implemented and used according to a programming model that has two major goals: making the use and development of business objects as simple as possible, and facilitating their broad reuse.

The software is a complicated entity that comprises more than 2,500 classes that are divided into three layers: Foundation, Common Business Objects, and Core Business Process. The layers provide distinct segmentation of the overall functionality: the Foundation layer contains basic services and definitions; the Common Business Objects layer contains intermediate, somewhat complex entities that are useful aggregations of Foundation layer classes; and the Core Business Process layer is a set of full-featured business frameworks, such as General Ledger, AP/AR, Order Management, and Logistics.

The San Francisco Project is a sophisticated effort that may result in one of the first widely used, powerful business object frameworks. The design clearly takes advantage of the art of understanding object-oriented analysis and design, design patterns, and multiple rounds of reviews. Other software vendors (there are more than 200 worldwide) will use this as the base to create complex, interoperable business applications.
—Bill Lazar

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Special

Productivity Awards

RedHat Linux
Red Hat Software Inc.

One of the most frequent brickbats heaved toward Linux as a “real” operating system that is suitable for employment in corporate America is that it’s a product for “just a bunch of hackers” and lacks true support. Red Hat’s Linux distributions, along with those from Caldera, have done much to eradicate that misconception. But Red Hat has gone beyond simply repackaging the software with an install script and provided support. The company also devised and promotes RPM (Red Hat Package Manager), a utility for packaging applications that is achieving acceptance as a standard within the Linux community. Administrators who install using RPM-packaged applications are assured they can follow a standardized install and removal procedure, no small matter for a system as complex as Linux. In addition to RPM, Red Hat deserves accolades for its SPARC and Alpha distributions.
—Warren Keuffel

Jolt Award

Naturally Speaking
Dragon Systems

Words are in. Clicks are out. Voice is today’s user interface—and it will last more than the customary 15 minutes. Dragon Systems’ Naturally Speaking is a sophisticated, accurate speech recognition product. As such, it stands head and shoulders above the crowd in this year’s Jolt awards. It’s easy, however, to mistake it as merely a slick, high-productivity dictation environment. That misses one of the key features it offers—voice macros.

A voice macro lets you capture and encapsulate an arbitrary series of keystrokes (and mouse clicks) into a format that can be triggered by a normal office utterance. A second feature, text to speech, enables the computer to talk back. Say “Read my mail” and the whole sequence of connecting to the Internet, clicking the right icons, and such happens for you with the computer’s voice doing the reading. These two features, combined with careful attention to dialog design, let you build powerful interfaces that operate outside of the dictation context. These voice-controlled interfaces are user-friendly, convenient, and natural.

Dragon Systems has been an innovator in speech products for 15 years. Naturally Speaking was the first market offering featuring high accuracy and continuous speech recognition. Its continuous speech facility lets users talk to their computer just like they’d talk to friends. The masses will soon be demanding speech recognition, and corporate initiatives will then require designers and consultants who understand the subtleties of dialog design. Dialog design suggests, in fact, a complete renaissance of conversational skills. Marconi is being reborn.

Will voice interfaces eliminate all hand movement? No. Hardware will still need to be plugged in, turned on, and occasionally whacked with your fist. But given Dragon’s proven inventiveness, perhaps a voice macro will be created for that, too.
—Roland Racko (Dictated with Naturally Speaking)

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Hall of Fame

Visual Basic
Microsoft Corp.

In Version 5.0, Microsoft’s Visual Basic team once again proves the adage that they do their best work when the version number isn’t evenly divisible by two. This division test seems to also represent how programmers feel about the language, with about half of us loving it, and the other half not. Regardless of the camp they’re in, I don’t know any developers whose lives haven’t been touched by the collection of technologies that make up Visual Basic. No other release of the language has been so widely distributed, from the look-alike and act-alike syntax of LotusScript to the embedded Visual Basic for Applications support in top-shelf products like Visio and more than 50 other non-Microsoft products. If you’ve had to do much programming in a Windows environment, you’ve had to pick up at least a passing familiarity with the syntax rules of Visual Basic.

As Jolts go, we take the Hall of Fame award seriously. Only those products that have consistently come to the table with serious content release after release make it into the short list. Unlike the other categories, this award is reserved for products that have received Jolts in the past so many times that special recognition is due. This year, the tremendous capabilities brought to bear in Visual Basic 5.0 once again were enough to qualify for a Jolt in the development tools category. Features like compile to native code, support for both remote automation and DCOM, and the ability to generate ActiveX controls that run in web browsers answered the most die-hard critic’s “wish list.”

Language features simplify code reuse and introduce polymorphism into the Visual Basic class designer’s tool chest. The capable wizards and design tools like Visual Modeler are no longer toys, but represent serious productivity aids that easily adapt to support a software engineering culture. A revamped development environment object model is completely exposed, letting developers and tool vendors alike easily extend the capabilities of the toolset (as we see in NuMega’s Jolting DevPartner Studio). It all adds up to another release of Visual Basic that cannot be ignored, based on the judging criteria for tools that “jolt” the software development industry. It was these features, this broad penetration of the language into so many development tools, and the strong position that Visual Basic has in Internet development that made it impossible to dismiss it from being a serious Hall of Fame contender. We judges debated long and furiously about this, with anti-Microsoft sentiments dominating the discussion. Despite the arrogance shown by Msr. Balmer and company, the justice department suit, and the slip-ups that made it necessary for three service releases before the product stabilized, we decided the accomplishments of the Visual Basic development team deserve the highest of Jolt award categories, the Hall of Fame.
—Dan Rogers

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