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Jolt Awards

12th Annual Jolt and Productivity Awards

IntelliJ IDEA
JetBrains (formerly IntelliJ)

IntelliJ IDEA is an IDE that knows Java. The folks at JetBrains (Prague, Czech Republic; www.intellij.com) have paid attention to what Java developers do and optimized those tasks. Say you want to place a block of code within a try/ catch/finally construct—you can do it in two clicks. Want to implement an interface? Two clicks will type out the basic method structure.

Numerous other shortcuts exist that help you focus on developing, not typing. One of IntelliJ IDEA's coolest features is its live templates, which are extensible abbreviations for common code snippets. IDEA also boosts productivity by highlighting syntax errors in red as soon as you type them, and marking them in the right margin for easy scanning.

Seguei Dmitriev, CEO, and Eugene Belyaev, President and CTO of JetBrains

IntelliJ IDEA really shines when it comes to doing XP-style refactorings. Traditionally, moving methods between classes means hunting down references. Extracting code means ensuring that the new method has access to any needed local variables. That's tedious for a developer, but a snap for IntelliJ IDEA. IntelliJ IDEA's refactorings operate within the appropriate scope; for example, refactorings affecting a class work throughout an entire project, while refactorings on local variables work within the function they're declared in. References to moved or renamed elements—even those in comments—are corrected. You can review and exclude any proposed corrections.

Whether you're doing agile refactorings or cranking out Java code from scratch, IntelliJ IDEA will help you get your work done fast, and, given its reasonable price tag, without much damage to your wallet.

—Larry O'Brien and John Reitano

Delphi 6 and Kylix 2

With its Delphi development system, Borland (Scotts Valley, Calif.; www.borland.com) has gained a new platform and a new framework. Kylix is Delphi for Linux, and the two are source-code compatible. Now, all software developed for Windows can be ported to Linux with just a recompile. This is made possible by CLX, the Component Library for Cross Platform.

CLX's class library of nearly 750 objects contains all the normal visual components, as well as nonvisual controls such as databases and timers. Most editions include complete source code for CLX, and you can easily add your own components. Useful features include support for SOAP, Internet applications (both client- and server-side), and shared objects.

—Dana Cline


Borland (Scotts Valley, Calif.; www.borland.com) is a name synonymous with cool tools and tireless innovation. JBuilder 6 continues this tradition as a Java developer's single-source productivity solution. From tight integration with the JUnit testing framework to support for multiple JDKs and full support for EJB 1.1 and 2.0 standards, JBuilder is highly visual and thoughtfully engineered. A built-in UML code visualizer and two-way designer for EJBs provide powerful paths for reuse. With support for the latest Java standards, including Java 2, Java 2 Swing/JFC, XML, Java2D, Java collections, accessibility APIs, JavaBeans, JDBC, Enterprise JavaBeans, JSP/Servlets, RMI, JNI, Java archives and more, JBuilder 6 lacks only the ability to write your business logic for you.

—Gary Evans

VisualStudio .NET

One of the most difficult challenges facing any new environment is convincing developers to write code that will run in it. The first tools are often crude and complex to use; however, this is certainly not the case with VisualStudio .NET (www.microsoft.com), a best-of-breed development product for the new .NET environment. Writing and debugging code for a distributed application running on multiple machines and written in multiple languages can be accomplished from a single workstation. Visual tools allow easy creation of user interfaces and simplify connections to underlying databases. A wide variety of application wizards offers quick starts for most VB.NET, C# or C++ projects, with J# promised in the near future. Other vendors are also providing languages and tools that snap right into the environment. This product is a winner.

—Andy Barnhart

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