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Winners of the 18th Jolt Product Excellence Awards & Recipients of the Jolt Productivity Awards

ColdFusion 8 (Adobe Systems)
Reviewed by Mike Riley
ColdFusion has come a long way since its inception in the pre-ASP and PHP days of web application development. Three different companies and eight different versions later, it has emerged as one of the top Java-based application servers optimized for rapid development and deployment practices. Unlike recent updates, the new features in CF8 are quite significant. These include significant performance improvements, full Ajax, Java/J2EE and .NET library support, Microsoft Exchange integration, the ability to debug CF8 applications in Eclipse via a custom debugger plug-in. A multi-server monitor for analyzing application performance bottlenecks, RSS and Atom feed generation support, strong encryption, and new image manipulation libraries are also among the product's numerous additions. And given that ColdFusion is now officially part of the Adobe family, full support for dynamic PDF documents and forms interaction is also part of the feature set. If you haven't revisited the ColdFusion server in a while, this Jolt award should prompt you to take another look so you can see for yourself just how mature and feature-rich this remarkable web application delivery platform has become.

3rd Rail (CodeGear)
Reviewed by Mike Riley
Recognizing that not all web developers interested in exploring the Ruby on Rails framework are satisfied with using a terminal window and a text editor for code generation, CodeGear has answered this audience by supplying an Eclipse-based IDE optimized for the Rails developer. While alternatives to this concept exist in free and lower cost commercial alternatives, none of them currently match the powerful features that 3rd Rail offers. Most notable among these highlights is 3rd Rail's remarkable refactoring ability--this ability alone is worth the price of admission for any Rails developer working on anything more than a simple web exercise. CodeGear anticipates quarterly IDE updates to deliver major new features (not just bug fixes), such as full Rails 2.x compatibility and a rich, robust debugging experience.

NetBeans IDE 6 (Sun Microsystems)
Reviewed by Gary Pollice
Have you used NetBeans lately? After years of being overrun by the Eclipse bandwagon, NetBeans 6 emerges as a worthy competitor to Eclipse and other IDEs. The web development tools provided in NetBeans are first rate. There is comprehensive support for Web applications, SOA, RESTful services, and EJB development. A free plug-in provides excellent development tools for Ruby on Rails. The IDE exhibits impressive performance. It has a peppy response to user actions, and the tools speed development along. Web developers can select the technologies and tools they want for their applications and develop with top-notch, state-of-the art tools in a consistent environment. If you haven't looked at the new Net Beans, you might want to download it and give it a try.

RSSBus Feed Server (/n software)
Reviewed by Mike Riley
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) has risen to become one of the most important notification mechanisms on the web today, finally giving web sites a standard way to inform people and machines of changes and updates to content and processes. From podcast feeds to Wiki and blog updates, RSS is in some cases called upon more often than HTML for many high-volume web sites. /n Software has acknowledged this reality and developed a remarkable utility that allows developers to quickly wire up, read, and write RSS feeds from nearly any character-based data source. Jolt judge Peter Westerman discovered that RSSBus is "the ultimate information mash-up tool."

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