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Jolt Awards

Jolts 2007: Websites and Developer Networks


Jolt Winner

Sun Developer Network
Sun Microsystems

Jeet Kaul, VP Developer Products

The Sun Developer Network (SDN) is one of the most popular websites for Java developers. Unlike many other "community websites," the SDN is light on rumors, speculation, and flamewars, but heavy on useful technical content. For starters, the SDN is the official home of the Sun JDK (Java Developer Kit), which is used by almost every Java developer. SDN is also the home of the reference implementations of Java EE (the GlassFish application server) and Java ME (the Java ME Wireless Toolkit). Besides reference implementations, SDN hosts the official Java documentation. That includes the Java API doc, which many developers use on a daily basis. The Java Blueprint applications, demos, and tutorials on the SDN are widely cited as the authoritative examples on how to correctly use Java and related technologies.

Aside from Java-related content, SDN is also the most authoritative source of information for Solaris application developers (C/C++) and administrators, Fortran language developers, and developers using other Sun technologies.

Community contributed content is a big part of SDN, and sets it apart from many other corporate sponsored developer site. It has many active discussion forums with hundreds of new messages posted every day. The SDN forums are among the best places on the Internet to ask questions about Java and other Sun technologies. The SDN front page publishes featured articles and technology tutorials from well-known authors every week.

In addition to online content, SDN offers many offline programs. It is the primary educational resource for Sun's developer certification programs, including the very popular Java certification and Solaris certification. It organizes free developer events around the world, such as the Sun Tech Days road show.

Overall, the SDN stands out as one of the largest and best-run developer communities on the Internet. Part of its success comes from Sun's strong commitment and financial backing. However, for developers, that also means SDN content, as its name suggests, is heavily biased toward solutions from Sun. Developers should be aware of this and seek independent confirmations on design choices and other technical opinions from the SDN.

--Michael Yuan

Productivity Award

CM Crossroads
CMC Media

CM Crossroads delivers valuable software development knowledge to your web browser. Don't let the name of the site fool you, there's more packed in this site's pages than just configuration-management information; although that's the primary focus. CM Crossroads starts with solid information for all levels of developers who must understand configuration management. It sprinkles a liberal dose of other modern software development practices throughout the site in an easy-to-navigate format.

CM Crossroads spans the plan-driven to Agile spectrum and offers an information repository for software developers who want a balanced view of the broad terrain that is software development. The site hosts many forums--moderated and unmoderated--focusing on CM, build, and general software-development issues. The Articles section hosts the CM Journal and a CM Basics e-zine that provide essential CM knowlege, and regular columns. It has a link to the Agile journal as well. Couple this with a developer zone, resources, webcasts, and an area for job posting, and you have a site that you'll certainly want to bookmark in your web browser.

--Gary Pollice

Productivity Award

Koders.com
Koders

The promise of open source is the ability to share knowledge in the form of software source code. After the explosive growth of open source in recent years, there is a wealth of information each developer can learn by looking at other people's code. No matter if you need to implement an encryption algorithm or a complete web shopping cart, you can probably find examples in existing open-source projects, which you can adopt or simply copy and paste based on the licensing terms. However, the challenge here is to find where to look. With hundreds of millions of lines of code, how do you find a specific piece of code that does the exact thing you wanted? Here enters the source-code search engine.

Koders.com is one of the most popular source-code search engines. It searches more than 500 million lines of code in thousands of open-source projects written in over 30 programming languages. You can search by programming language or software license for the code, or both. From the search result page, you can display the entire content of each source-code file with the keywords highlighted in the code. Since source code is best viewed in context, Korders.com provides an easy mechanism to view other source files in the same project. In addition, it provides plugins for Visual Studio and Eclipse IDEs. They allow developers to look-up code directly from their development environments.

However, source code search engine is a crowded field with quite a few competing sites. Koders.com is one of the top sites but its competitors are not far behind.

--Michael Yuan

Productivity Award

Krugle
Krugle

There are a lot of websites available today dedicated to providing useful information for software developers. Some of them even have useful information. Many of the sites with useful information are hard to navigate and produce as much frustration as they do helpful information. Krugle is different. Krugle focuses upon three areas that interest developers and makes locating information easy.

The three areas that Krugle supports are code, technical papers, and projects. The Krugle interface always keeps the tabs for the areas visible. When you are in the middle of a search, new tabs are opened in Krugle interface for each item you look at, while the results of the original search appear in the first tab of your view. This avoids needless use of the Back button on your browser and makes it easy to go from one search result to another.

The Krugle approach to viewing source code is clearly made for developers. When you locate the code you want, the Krugle interface offers a directory view for navigating within projects. Krugle allows you to post notes to code listings and make them public for other Krugle users or keep them private for your personal use. Krugle may change the way developers locate, understand, and reuse code and ideas.

--Gary Pollice


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