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Jolt Awards

The 14th Annual Software Development Jolt and Productivity Awards


MOBILE DEVELOPMENT TOOLS

Sun J2ME Wireless Toolkit 2.0
Sun Microsystems


James Allen, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Mobile Development Tools

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun has a winner in the Java 2 Micro Edition. With 250 million devices sold worldwide, J2ME is the most important development platform for mobile applications, and more than 3 million Java developers already know the language and basic APIs. Mobile development does have its quirks, however, making developer tool support crucial.

The Wireless Toolkit (WTK) is a must-have for all J2ME developers, containing the reference implementation for several J2ME specs, including the Mobile Information Device Profile 2.0, Wireless Messaging API 1.1 and Mobile Multimedia API 1.0. WTK lets you compile and preverify J2ME code against base class libraries, and automatically generates the required J2ME Application Descriptor file and JAR file using application-specific meta-attributes. Then, you can test the application in the WTK device emulator, which features a UI similar to Nokia series 60 smart phones and can emulate both IP- and SMS-based connections. It can mimic real-life device CPU speed, memory space and network conditions. WTK also lets you test application provisioning and lifecycle management via an embedded OTA server. And though it can’t replace vendor-specific SDKs and on-device testing, it’s an essential tool for learning J2ME specifications and prototype apps.

—Michael Yuan

Crossfire 5
AppForge

Mobile devices are constrained environments in RAM, processor speed and screen real estate. Don’t fret, though; you needn’t hand-tweak processor opcodes for each platform. In fact, you can use a GUI designer, write in Visual Basic and leverage a healthy library, to boot. With AppForge’s Crossfire 5, you write not to the hardware, but to a virtual machine (the booster) allowing your applications to run unmodified on Palm OS, Pocket PC or Symbian OS. Crossfire lets you iterate the test-develop cycle from within Visual Studio .NET; you don’t have to deploy to an actual device until you’re ready—and when you are, a single menu click performs the synchronization, still in Visual Studio. Atlanta, Ga.–based AppForge has also thoughtfully tucked in a library of visual UI, timers, telephony, database, barcode and multimedia components.

—Rick Wayne

IBM WebSphere Studio Device Developer 5.6
IBM

This IDE brings productivity features of the open source Eclipse to device developers. WSDD includes the IBM WebSphere Micro Environment (WME), which supports both the J2ME Personal Profile (PP) and Mobile Information Device Profile runtimes and comes factory installed on many Palm, PocketPC, embedded Linux and Symbian OS devices. IBM’s IDE lets you develop and test WME applications on desktop PCs. In addition to desktop emulator testing, its debugger also supports on-device debugging on WME devices.

Support for the Personal Profile makes this the best IDE for high-end Java devices. Developers can easily add other PP libraries, such as drivers for IBM DB2 Everyplace mobile database or IBM Service Management Framework.

—Michael Yuan

Pocket PowerBuilder 1.0
Sybase

If you loved the desktop version of PowerBuilder developer, you’ll love Dublin, Calif.-based Sybase’s PocketPC version equally.

Much more than just a drag-and-drop UI builder over SQL Anywhere, Pocket PowerBuilder provides an IDE for mobile rapid application development in no time flat to create mobile and wireless enterprise apps for the Windows CE-based environments. Yes, there’s a tight integration with SQL Anywhere Studio, a mobile database and enterprise synchronization solution, and, as in the desktop version, you’ll notice the familiar DataWindow application development interface in PocketPC that allows SQL queries to be encapsulated with the result set in a single control. Developers can migrate applications to PocketPC PowerBuilder relatively easily and take advantage of existing code written for desktop applications.

—Sue Spielman


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