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Jolt Awards

The 13th Annual Software Development Jolt & Productivity Awards



Doug Tidwell, Senior Programmer and XML Evangelist

If you’re an early adopter, bookmark this site (www.ibm.com/alphaworks). IBM continues to tantalize the alpha-geek in all of us—this is where you can keep tabs on some of the exciting work going on at IBM R&D. Big Blue not only gives a peek at up-and-coming technologies, it also lets you get your feet wet by downloading and testing samples—thus contributing to the technologies’ evolution. More than 200 items are available, spanning areas such as Java, XML, Web services, wireless and collaboration, to name just a few. Each of these areas is then broken down into subcategories, so you can keep tabs on specific points of interest that might influence your development plans in the future.

Additionally, you’ll find newsletters and update lists to keep you abreast of pet projects, and more than 100 discussion forums on the various technologies. If you want to keep an eye on the future while you’re building for today, alphaWorks is the place to go.

—Sue Spielman


JavaRanch started out as a community website to help Java developers pass Sun’s Java certification exams. It has since evolved into a generic site featuring eight certification study groups and more than two dozen vibrant discussion groups that cover every aspect of Java technology, as well as major Java products. Compared with other developer communities, JavaRanch is especially friendly to beginners. Volunteer moderators (a.k.a. bartenders) often take the time to answer even the most basic questions.

In addition to the lively discussion forums, JavaRanch also features mock exams, an informational monthly newsletter, book reviews and weekly book giveaways. Most impressively, JavaRanch offers all these features with nary a corporate backer in sight. The volunteer moderators’ elbow grease, inspired by a strong sense of community, has helped JavaRanch maintain its vendor neutrality and friendly, educational atmosphere. Mosey on up sometime, pardner.

—Michael Yuan

BEA Dev2Dev Online
BEA Systems

BEA’s Dev2Dev Developer Network has been successful in rallying their 500,000-member developer community round BEA’s WebLogic platform. The results? A wealth of knowledge and resources available in this easy-to-navigate and useful site.

The free membership includes webinars, technical presentations, code libraries and samples, downloads and white papers, as well as discounts for training, magazine subscriptions and technical books. A plethora of user and news groups is available, as well as resource libraries including tools and utilities. If you’re a web developer working with WebLogic, it’s in your best interest to sign up for Dev2Dev.

—Sue Spielman


So your company just decided it was time to get serious about bugs and QA, and you’ve been appointed to wield the swatter. Where do you start? Surf over to www.qaforums.com, where you’ll find more than 50 moderated forums covering many of today’s important specialties in the testing and QA profession. The forums are much broader than simply application testing: You can choose from among tutorial sections for beginners, reviews and user experience with many of the popular testing tools and discussions of problems specific to various platforms, as well as security and usability topics. And, of course, you can post questions. Finally, the site is not just theory: Avail yourself of the downloads of ready-to-use testing scripts. Got a bug? Add some zip to your zapper at this site.

—Roland Racko

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