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Jolt Awards

The 14th Annual Software Development Jolt and Productivity Awards


IBM developerWorks

“We’re honored by this award. We’re committed to providing developers with a wide array of resources for building and deploying applications across heterogeneous systems.”

—Marc Goubert, IBM alphaWorks Manager

IBM’s developerWorks website hits the sweet spot for enterprise developers, focusing on old favorites like Java and XML, current stalwarts like Linux and Web services, and up-and-comers like grid computing. You can find news, tutorials, forums, technical articles, software downloads and more here. If you want to know how to use AspectJ to ease the pain of maintaining legacy Java code, walk through the changes in Java 1.5, learn about the Linux 2.6 kernel, or explore the latest on the JXTA front, it’s all here, in authoritative depth. IBM has managed to find a decent balance between ease of learning—it takes perhaps 10 seconds to locate introductory XML materials, for example—and ease of use for the experienced developer.

There are no dancing graphics: The website wins no awards for flashiness, but won the judges over with its readability and sheer technical merit. Remarkably enough for a huge company, IBM doesn’t claim the entire universe of knowledge; offsite references to standards and documentation are common. Of course, you can also find product information for IBM’s own stable (Tivoli, Rational, DB2 and so on), and the site supports their paid-subscription developer network, too.

—Rick Wayne


Two-time Productivity Award-winner JavaRanch.com is a friendly, diverse and intellectually stimulating place for beginners and pros alike. As the largest independent Java site, its biggest attraction is the “Big Moose Saloon,” which hosts some of the best and most active Java discussion forums on the Internet. In 2003, 12 new forums were added, ranging from the latest Sun Mobile Application Developer certification-exam discussion forum to a private forum for book authors.

JavaRanch doesn’t just support the community through forums—it hosts a Wiki, which lets users submit and manage FAQs and other tips. There’s also the JavaRanch Journal, a monthly e-mail featuring the latest tips and technical tutorials. JavaRanch Radio is a blog site that not only publishes the latest hot discussions and book reviews, but also hosts the personal blogs of volunteer moderators. JavaRanch has become one of the best resources around for Java developers.

—Michael Yuan

O’Reilly Network

Almost anyone who writes code has several titles from Sebastopol, Calif.-headquartered O’Reilly & Associates close at hand. And, increasingly, anyone who writes code—particularly for Unix, Mac or open source software—has a frequently used bookmark to www.oreillynet.com. Featuring a vast array of websites, blogs, conferences and other resources, O’Reilly Network provides resources on almost any kind of programming topic: From Perl to C++, networking to databases, digital media to bioinformatics, there’s a good chance that a visit to the free Oreillynet.com site will give you the answers you need. Also part of O’Reilly Network, the fee-based Safari Bookshelf gives programmers subscriber access to electronic versions of hundreds of books on software development from several publishers, including O’Reilly.

—Warren Keuffel


If you’re trying to decide where to host your next open source project, consider Tigris.org. As with other solutions, it has all the right pieces: source repository, mailing lists, Web docs, issue tracking and donation support. All of these come with the high quality that you typically pay for with CollabNet, on which Tigris.org is hosted. Tigris.org has addressed the problems found in similar hosting solutions. For example, it presents a more unified view that makes it easier to browse project categories to find related tools. Another common gripe that it handles well is emphasizing active projects to keep the signal-to-noise ratio high, preventing dead projects from proliferating.

—Mik Kersten

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