VMWare Workstation 6 (VMware)
Reviewed by Mike Riley
VMWare returns yet again with another Jolt award, this time for the impressive features in their latest version of the product that started it all for the company, VMWare Workstation. In its 6th major iteration, VMWare Workstation manages to deliver outstanding multi-monitor (this has to be seen to be believed), high-speed USB 2.0 and even built-in VNC support. And don't forget its proven ability to virtualize numerous 32-bit and 64-bit flavors of Microsoft Windows (including Vista) and various Linux distribution environments within 64-bit or 32-bit Microsoft or Linux host computers. VMWare's consistent level of product excellence has elevated this product to achieve Jolt's highest honor, induction into the Jolt Hall of Fame.
ANTS Profiler v3 (Red Gate)
Reviewed by Mike Riley
The ANTS Profiler is no stranger to the Jolts and this year is no different, given its continued dedication to assisting developers with locating performance bottlenecks, memory leaks and other annoyances that would be extremely difficult to identify without such a tool. Unlike other commercial .NET profiling utilities, ANTS Profiler is quite reasonably priced and delivers a feature set typically found in competing products that are at least three times more expensive. Besides the native Visual Studio context-sensitive code integration, ANTS line-level timing feature provides valuable performance details on a one-line-of-code-at-a-time basis - excellent for zeroing in on trouble spots that are keeping an application from performing at its peak.
Captivate 3 (Adobe Systems)
Reviewed by Jon Kurz
Adobe Captivate 3 blurs the line between demo tool and visual development environment for creating demonstrations. Captivate is well suited for anyone who wants to create presentations, training videos, quizzes, and even podcasts. The branching feature allows you to create highly interactive presentations by having multiple paths that the demo can take, instead of just one. Usually one slide simply goes to another, but other events are available, such as sending an email or linking out to a web site. The editing features are very powerful. For example, while viewing all elements of a slide, you can open an edit window for the audio and make changes without the need to edit in an external tool. If you use background music, it intelligently blends the primary audio with the background, adjusting volumes as needed. Finally, with multiple publishing options, you can not only create Flash files, but standalone executables files as well.
DemoWorks (Component One)
Reviewed by Rick Wayne
Any phone support vet can testify that talking someone through software is as frustrating as using a robot to play ping pong. Blindfolded. After Phone Hell, seeing a moving, talking, captioned demonstration of a program seems miraculous, and DemoWorks provides a delightfully straightforward way to capture precisely that. Its innovative "timeline" interface mimics nonlinear video editors, letting you reduce the raw "take" into a tight presentation. And, the demonstration need not depend on Flash at the other end; you can produce a self-contained Windows EXE or a Java application, or even pack the video into an animated GIF.