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Jolt Awards

The 14th Annual Software Development Jolt and Productivity Awards


WEB DEVELOPMENT TOOLS

Macromedia Studio MX 2004
Macromedia


“Macromedia thanks its loyal community of developers for creating great experiences and helping to drive the creative direction of the product.”

—Jennifer Taylor, Dreamweaver Product Manager

Macromedia’s Studio MX 2004 with Flash MX 2004 Professional is a winner! With improvements to three of its component parts, as well as better tool integration and support for team development, this bundle enables developers and Web designers to quickly create dynamic, standards-compliant websites.

The centerpiece of the suite, Dreamweaver MX 2004, solidified its hold on the GUI Web development tool market with improved support for CSS, and built-in support for popular languages and platforms such as XML, PHP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion and JSP.

Flash now includes features Actionscript 2.0, an object-oriented scripting language that’s compliant with ECMAScript (based on Netscape’s JavaScript). Flash also has a new “screens” interface, which lets developers work with a more familiar, and more appropriate, interface than the standard Flash timeline. You’ll also find better security, strict data-typing, Unicode support and a new generation of components.

Finally, Fireworks boasts better speed and UI, and now lets you create PNG graphics from HTML tables. All three tools have integrated help and a consistent look and feel.

—Chris Minnick

Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe

For years, Adobe’s Photoshop has set the standard for image manipulation software used by photographers and Web designers alike, and the firm’s Illustrator package was a favorite among graphic designers. Along the way, San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe acquired and built several other specialized packages, such as GoLive (website creation with workflow support), Acrobat (PDF management) and InDesign, the replacement for the venerable PageMaker page layout program. What makes Creative Suite (CS) so joltable is the way Adobe has not only tweaked each application to give it a common UI, but also included a brand-new application: Version Cue. Version Cue implements Adobe’s new Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP), offering the ability to store semantic information with any CS file—and put that data under the control of what amounts to a version control system: a huge advantage for a multi-application, multideveloper shop.

—Warren Keuffel

SOAPscope 2.0
Mindreef

Anyone dealing with Web services gets involved in complex situations with different parties and heterogeneous systems, leading to numerous uncertainties when problems occur. SOAPscope, from the Hollis, N.H.-based company Mindreef, is designed to remove this uncertainty.

Like its lab counterpart, the oscilloscope, SOAPscope allows you to monitor, test and analyze your Web services. Monitoring is done by either sniffing network traffic or using the integrated proxy or port forwarding services. Captured messages are logged into an embedded database, where they can be analyzed or re-sent. Testing includes a convenient pseudo-code rendering that makes SOAP human-readable and a view that reveals non-obvious arguments, like HTTP header fields. A WS-I compliance test completes the suite. And Mindreef’s not resting on its laurels: At press time, a 3.0 release was available.

—David Dossot

WebLogic Workshop 8.1
BEA

J2EE has a tendency for program structure to disappear into XML. San Jose, Calif.-based BEA’s WebLogic Workshop addresses this problem by making the relationships between the entities in your enterprise application visually explicit and editable.

The design views enable you to spend less time fiddling with sources and more solving your problems. For example, callbacks show up as arrows between classes. Database connectors and transactions have a similar graphical representation. Understanding XQuery mappings is as simple as following lines to the corresponding classes and members.

Workshop’s visual representations of J2EE APIs should help developers get up-to-speed without drowning in infrastructure.

—Mik Kersten


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