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Jolt Awards 2015: Coding Tools

, December 16, 2014 The best tools available for creating, testing, and debugging code.
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Coding environments are the tools with which we spend most of our development time. They're the ones we both love and hate as we get to know their benefits and, especially, their foibles intimately. Nonetheless, the quality of IDEs is so much higher than most other tools we use that the slight inconveniences here and there are easy to forgive…more so because the cost of switching IDEs and losing the benefits of considerable muscle memory honed over years of work are too much to accept.

Despite their benefits, one consistent issue is the size of today's IDEs. Installation is now becoming a large and troublesome process that tends to spray clumps of bits all over your hard drive. If you only use one IDE, this is survivable, but install two or three for projects in different languages for separate platforms and they become unwieldy, hard to manage, difficult to switch between, and recalcitrant in their own small ways.

In this regard, cloud-base IDEs begin to tell an interesting tale. They're light, as most of the heavy bits are remote. Add to this lightness the ability to code from anywhere on any device and the cloud options gain appeal. I expect that if we were to examine the IDE segment two or three years from now, cloud-hosted environments might well predominate among the entrants. Until then, though…

These Jolt Awards for coding tools recognize the past 12 months of advances for the tools used in creating, testing, and debugging code. The judges in this round were Robert DelRossi, Jonathan Harley, Gastón Hillar, Atul Khot, Mike Riley, and I. We put the nominees through their paces and selected six finalists, which we tested in our respective business environments to identify the best coding tool, to which we accorded the 2015 Jolt Award. The two runners-up receive Jolt Productivity Awards. Three notably elegant products are identified as finalists.

Our very special thanks go to Rackspace for providing products and support to us during this and other Jolt evaluations. And now, to the winners…

— Andrew Binstock

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