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Jolt Awards

12th Annual Jolt and Productivity Awards

The .NET Framework

Microsoft's .NET Framework is that company's biggest and boldest API release since Win32. Combining a huge OO framework with just-in-time compilation of a portable intermediate language, the .NET Framework turns Java's value proposition upside down. Where Java's appeal stems from the notion of "Write once, run everywhere," the .NET Framework's proposition is "Any language, one platform." Both are nice promises, but programming the .NET Framework makes it clear that the platform matters, and Windows is the platform that matters the most.

John Montgomery, group product manager for the Microsoft .NET Developer Platform

My favorite aspect of the .NET Framework is that it provides a solid foundation for the future. While the rise of object-oriented imperative languages has been generally positive, the development world has put on blinders when it comes to alternative models of programming. More than a dozen languages already target .NET, including productivity languages like Microsoft's C#, old favorites like Fortran, and newer languages such as Ruby and Haskell. Components can be mixed and matched (even inheriting from classes written in different languages), all can use powerful subsystems like Windows Forms and GDI+, and all can expose themselves as Web services.

I look forward to the day when business rules are expressed and edited using declarative statements in an easy interface, where new concepts in debuggers and testing tools are available to the widest audience, and where new languages facilitate evolutionary and grid computing. With the .NET Framework, those days are near.

—Larry O'Brien

Sun Microsystems

The Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (J2EE) by Sun (Palo Alto, Calif.; java.sun.com) is virtually the only contender in multitier enterprise solutions written in Java. To the benefit of developers and businesses, the J2EE component model standardizes the diverse behaviors and interfaces needed for enterprise systems. The J2EE application model hides the complexities inherent in enterprise applications, including transaction management, lifecycle management and resource pooling. Business logic is encapsulated in Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) components. Client interaction can be presented through plain HTML Web pages, Java applets, XML, Java Servlets API or JavaServer Pages technology, or through stand-alone Java applications. The J2EE standard also includes complete specifications and compliance tests to ensure application integrity and portability.

—Gary Evans


Business rules: They're part of any corporate system, but they become the core focus of development in teams using agile methods, where changing requirements are embraced, and in teams developing Web services, where the interface is usually an industry-specific XML standard and back-end issues are (hopefully) abstracted behind the persistence layer. JRules by Ilog (Mountain View, Calif. and Gentilly, France; www.ilog.com) is targeted (and priced) for corporate teams working in Java that understand the value in isolating and editing business rules in the language of the domain user, not in code. However, as with Ilog's other products, JRules is designed to aid, not replace, the programmer. Perfect for expressing, editing and activating business rules, JRules does those tasks without binding the programmers' hands in terms of display, manipulation or behavior.

—Larry O'Brien


Trolltech's Qt hit the spotlight in the last year. A well-recognized de facto standard in the UNIX world for cross-platform GUI development, it got widespread publicity in the Windows market when Borland used the Qt libraries in their new Kylix product.

The 3.0 release, from the Oslo, Norwaybased company (www.trolltech.com), moves the product from a primarily code-based tool to a two-way development tool. It also has some unique tools of its own, including Qt Linguist to store and manage your user text in several languages and direct editing of Qt's elegant slots, which connect widgets to other Qt components. Finally, Qt has expanded its cross-platform support to include the Macintosh platform.

—Hugh Bawtree

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