Magnus Nirell, Manager, Software Engineering
Capturing screenshots of your applicationsor better yet, actual videois fundamental to product documentation and promotion. And there's no better choice for this work than Captivate 2004, an extremely feature-rich utility by San Francisco–based Macromedia.
Captivate goes well beyond making simple screen movies. You can add synchronized audio narrations and apply a variety of different highlighting techniques. You can even build walk-throughs that let your users experience what it's like to use your program. The program's storyboard interface arranges your recordings as a series of slides that logically separate major portions of the action. You can easily edit the activity on a single slide without having to rerecord an entire session.
When you're done, Captivate can publish your work as either a stand-alone EXE or a Flash SWF file that can be easily incorporated onto a Web page. There's also support for exporting the various storyboard slides into Word, forming the basis of end-user documentation.
Perhaps most importantly, Captivate 2004 does it all unobtrusively and without much of a learning curve. Sexy? No. But Macromedia Captivate 2004 represents the best in utilities for 2004.
Productivity Award Winners
Want to perfect your C# code? DevAdvantage 2.1, from Evanston, Ill.–based Anticipating Minds, is an automated code-review tool that analyzes .NET C# code and automatically fixes many of the problems found. DevAdvantage integrates with Visual Studio as a .NET add-in, with integrated menu, help and undo support. It performs static analysis of your C# code, applying predefined rules on Design, Error Handling, Naming Conventions, .NET Usage, Performance and Threadingor you can define your own.
Handy explanations clarify cryptic violations and those requiring human intervention. DevAdvantage then guides you through each step of the correction. A free Community Edition is available, providing specialized subsets of rules evaluation. All rules are included in the Professional Edition. All in all, devAdvantage helps your code approach perfection.
Can't find that got-to-have-today file that you stored in a perfectly logical place? Well, look no further than Prague, in the Czech RepublicJetBrains' OmeaPro may be the lost car keys-finder you've always hoped for. OmeaPro is your single interface to your entire world of dataor resources, in OmeaPro-speak. On the Web side, it manages RSS and ATOM feeds, and provides NNTP support for reading and posting to newsgroups. On the workstation, OmeaPro lets you organize and index your resources the way you want to: Now you can search multiple ways for everything related to "Acme Corporation" and get proposals, quotes, contracts and object models returned for selection. One of the product's to-die-for features is associating files and other resources with OmeaPro tasks. You create a task, say "Write a Product Review," and voilà! You can populate that task with notes, bookmarks to Web pages, e-mails and IMs, screenshotsall kinds of stuff.
Quest JProbe 5.2
Quest's JProbe is an old friend to Jolt aficionados, and with good reason. As long as Java remains an interpreted language with a big class library, heavy runtime checking and built-in memory management, it will be way too easy to write sloppy, resource-hogging programs. JProbe optimizes the way it's supposed to be done. You write your code. You make your best algorithm and speed/space trade-offs. Then you point JProbe's analyzers at the result, and hunt down the hogs in their wallows.
JProbe covers the gamut of corporate Java development on just about every platform of interest. The profiler lets you detect cycle sinks; the memory profiler ferrets out leaks and bloat; the thread analyzer can show up deadlocks and race conditions; the coverage analyzer pinpoints where you need to pay more attention to testing.
Think you've written tight Java code? After pointing JProbe at it, you'll be sure.