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Jolt Awards

12th Annual Jolt and Productivity Awards

Rational Unified Process
Rational Software

It's difficult to market a development methodology as a product, but Rational (Cupertino, Calif.; www.rational.com) has done an outstanding job with the Rational Unified Process (referred to as "the RUP"). The methodology has gained wide acceptance, and the product delivers content and templates that are accessible through an intuitive browser-based interface.

The RUP is installed as a Web site (internal or external). Samples are provided to show you how to tailor a site for your needs. The RUP doesn't force you into an all-or-nothing decision; you can choose to implement as much or as little as makes sense for your team. Installing a sample provides an excellent resource for educating team members on the methodology in general, as well as the specifics of Rational's implementation.

The RUP provides a tour and overviews to bring new users up to speed. The content is concise and readable, with lots of tooltips and hyperlinks to provide more information. It's easy to navigate and adapts well to different philosophies on acquiring information: Whether you prefer an ordered page-to-page reading or would rather surf freely as topics pique your interest, the RUP delivers.

Gary Pollice, Group Curmudgeon for Rational Unified Process

The process is broken into phases (and iterations within phases) and workflows. The workflows flow across phases with varying amounts of involvement in each phase, and each workflow has a number of standard documents, provided in a variety of formats, that can be tailored for your use. A common reaction to the RUP methodology is "that's sort of what we try to do," and it just makes sense. The ease with which it can be explained coupled with the ability to implement it piecemeal make it worth considering for any development shop.

—Andy Barnhart

Embarcadero Technologies

Describe (formerly called GDPro) by Embarcadero (San Francisco, Calif.; www.embarcadero.com) has matured dramatically from its birth as a graphical design tool. Describe is now one of the most feature-rich CASE tools on the market. Describe integrates itself into leading Java IDEs: Borland JBuilder, Forte for Java, and IBM's WebSphere Studio Application Developer. Describe provides automatic synchronization of code and UML diagrams, and round-trip engineering is "markerless," so your code doesn't get cluttered with cryptic symbols. Tight integration with Embarcadero's ER/Studio provides bidirectional support for entity-relationship modeling, as well. Describe supports all nine diagrams defined in UML, plus wizard-level support for converting classes into Enterprise JavaBeans and deploying them directly to your application.

—Gary Evans


Managing large Web projects can be a real hassle when you have to manage not only developers' files, but also multiple tasks and multiple clients. Conventional configuration management (CM) systems do a good job of keeping track of changes to files, but Sitespring by Macromedia (San Francisco, Calif.; www.macromedia.com) goes beyond CM to provide browser-based tools for collaboration that enable developers and clients alike to view and discuss sites under development. If your shop is one of many using Macromedia's Dreamweaver and UltraDev, you'll find Sitespring's integration with those products especially attractive, and the workflow features will help you efficiently move projects through your shop and onto your customers' production sites.

—Warren Keuffel

Ruled White Index Cards

In the late 1980s, Kent Beck and Ward Cunningham first introduced us to Class Responsibility Collaborator (CRC) cards as a technique to teach object-oriented concepts to developers. People quickly started using CRC cards on actual projects, as low-fidelity domain models with their users and as quick design tools with other developers, proving that index cards are viable tools for software development. Today, agile developers often forsake expensive and complex tools in favor of inexpensive and simpler index cards, using them to record features, user stories, business rules, constraints and even acceptance tests. Index cards have jumped out of your mother's recipe box to become important modeling tools, jolting us in the process.

—Scott Ambler

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