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Jolt Awards

Fresh Faces

On March 16, 2005, the 15th Annual Jolt and Productivity Award winners were announced at SD West 2005, recognizing 15 Jolt winners and 45 Productivity winners for books, products and websites that have "jolted" the industry. Editor in Chief Alexandra Weber Morales and I presided over the ceremony, which honored new entrants and old standbys, with a preponderance of fresh faces at the front of the queue.

From a field of 300 entrants narrowed down to 90 finalists, eight of the 13 Jolt winners (excluding the two book categories) had never captured the coveted Lucite-encased Jolt can, only three are repeat Jolt winners, one had previously won a Productivity Award, and one had been nominated in 2003, but hadn't received an award.

O'Reilly was the big winner this year, capturing Jolts in both book categories and the Website and Developer Networks category, as well as two Productivity Awards. "O'Reilly really cares about and works on learning; the company approaches technical material from a variety of directions to accommodate various learning styles," says Rick Wayne, Software Development's New and Noteworthy editor and Jolt judge. Gary Pollice concurs: "I think they've 'jolted' the way we look at books by bringing fairly technical topics to people in a way that will help them learn."

Besides reading great books, judges also get to add tools that impress them to their permanent library, such as Agitar's Agitator and Dashboard 2.0 for automated testing. Judges who found themselves using Agitator regularly for testing were "very impressed."

But this year saw some challenges due to the products' increased complexity, installations and documentation. "The products that I was most impressed by were easy to install and get running," says judge Andrew Binstock. "Macromedia's products are prime examples." The other judges agreed: Macromedia also won two Jolts and two Productivity Awards.

Changing Markets, New Categories

This year, more first-time entries challenged the previous year's incumbents than ever before, and we're finding that certain niches warrant new categories. For example, Project Management Tools became Management Tools this year to include analysis and portfolio management entries, and Design and Analysis Tools was renamed Design Tools to accommodate the growing number of products in that field. This constant refinement also extended to Testing Tools: This year, we distinguished between Automated Testing Tools and Defect Tracking Tools.

Software Development judges evaluated entrants in 15 categories: Books (General); Books (Technical); Business Integration and Data Tools, Change and Configuration Management Tools; Design Tools; Languages and Development Environments; Libraries, Frameworks and Components; Mobile Development Tools; Management Tools; Security Tools; Automated Testing Tools; Defect Tracking Tools; Utilities; Web Development Tools; and Websites and Developer Networks. One product in each category received the coveted Jolt Award, while the three runners-up were honored with a Productivity Award plaque.

The Esteemed Judges

Software Development thanks these 26 gurus for

dedicating three months to the evaluation process.

  • Scott Ambler

  • Hugh Bawtree

  • Andrew Binstock

  • Sylvain Chery

  • Donna L. Davis

  • Robert DelRossi

  • David Dossot

  • Gary K. Evans

  • Mik Kersten

  • Warren Keuffel

  • John Lam

  • Rosalyn Lum

  • Chris Minnick

  • Alexandra Weber Morales

  • Larry O'Brien

  • Gary Pollice

  • Roland Racko

  • Johanna Rothman

  • Sue Spielman

  • Rick Wayne

  • Michael Juntao Yuan

Coming Next Month:

Coverage of the inaugural Stan Kelly-Bootle Eclectech Award, presented at the Jolt Award ceremony.

Steve Bourne, author of the Bourne shell for Unix and a past president of the ACM, accepted the award on Stan Kelly-Bootle's behalf.

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