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Jolt Awards: Coding Tools

, February 06, 2013 The best IDEs and coding tools of the past year
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Jolt Awards: Coding Tools

When I consider how my time is spent, it's mostly passed living in one of three tools; my browser, my email client (ugh!), and my coding environment (ah!). If my browser and email tools were as robust and well designed as my IDE, I think life at the keyboard would be a lot happier for me. Development environments are a category of almost breathtaking sweep and quality. In my view, they represent the very best aspects of the tool chain, and quite possibly the very best of client-facing software. They represent an extraordinarily rich world of features and capabilities

The Jolt Awards for coding tools recognize the past 12 months of innovation in the products where most developers reside; that is, where they do the actual work of creating, testing, and debugging code. This year has seen many updates to existing products and a few new tools that are starting to change the coding paradigm as more technologies move to the cloud. For example, one product, Stackato from Active State, heralds that trend, which I think will gain traction between now and these Jolt Awards next year. Increasingly, cloud platforms will host the code, SCM, testing, and build functions; and IDEs will serve only as coding front ends and management consoles into that arrangement. As this evolution proceeds, we'll be covering it, and helping you sort out which are the best products.

The judges in this round were Robert Del Rossi, David Dossot, Gary K. Evans, Jonathan Hartley, Larry O'Brien, Gary Pollice, Mike Riley, Rick Wayne, and I. We pored over the nominees, selected finalists, and put the top products through their paces to identify the best coding tool, to which we accorded the 2012 Jolt Award. The two runners-up (in a very close competition) received Jolt Productivity Awards. And then we list the remaining finalists.

Special thanks go to Rackspace and Safari Books Online for providing products and support to us during this and other Jolt evaluations. And now, to the envelopes…

Andrew Binstock

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