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

JOLT Winner

Corticon Business Rules Modeling Studio (Corticon Technologies)

(left) Mark Allen and Pedram Abrari

Reviewed by Gary Pollice
Analysts who use decision tables to specify complex business rules know the inherent problems that easily lead to inconsistencies and incompleteness. Furthermore, developers who translate these rules from the tabular descriptions to working code face additional opportunity to introduce errors and create even more work for testers. But Corticon is changing the way development teams think about decision tables. Corticon Business Rules Modeling Studio presents an interface resembling a spreadsheet to the analyst. The analyst creates a set of business rules using a simple set of operations, then mind-blowingly, the product generates all the missing scenarios, reduces redundancy, and makes the set logically complete and verifiable. It also generates an executable service that encapsulates the decision tables. Developers don't need to modify the code, they simply access the services of the generated components. This UML-based design product is a different breed from all others and may well change the way your team works on future complex projects.

BigLever Software Gears (BigLever Software)
Reviewed by Gary Pollice
BigLever Software Gears may be the forerunner of the next big thing in software development. The notion of composing families of products, or product lines, from reusable components has intrigued software professionals for years. Gears allows organizations to do just that. Using sophisticated software tools and a well-defined methodology for constructing software product lines, Gears delivers much needed capability to those organizations that are interested in managing and expanding their software portfolios. Product lines are constructed by using the Gears IDE to compose products from components. The "product configurator" uses a feature profile to automatically produce a product matching the profile. Not all organizations are ready for Gears, but those who have significant software portfolios and product lines will certainly want to check out BigLever Software Gears.

Enterprise Architect (Sparx Systems)
Reviewed by Steven Weiss
You either now need a UML-savvy analysis tool or design tool or you will. When you do, look at Enterprise Architect. It's one of those rare combinations of modest cost and immodest competence that we need more of. EA is a repository-based tool for Windows platforms that allows teams of people to model in UML 2.1, for analysis, design, code generation (in ActionScript, C, C++, C# and VB .NET, Java, Visual Basic 6, Python, PHP, XSD, WSDL and a few others) and testing (five kinds: unit, integration, system, acceptance and scenario tests). The help and examples will get you going right away. Casual and hard-core modelers will find something to like.

Structure101 (Headway Software)
Reviewed by Meilir Page-Jones
Structure101, from Headway Software Technologies, is a versatile and powerful tool for analyzing the structure--design, architecture and packaging--of code written in one of several popular programming languages. It exposes the hidden knots, whirls and complexities in modern object-oriented software that would forever elude even the practiced eye given only acres of raw code to scrutinize. The main Structure101 product family is geared towards Java, C, C++ and Ada code bases. However, there is also a generic version of the product that is not language specific. Structure101 assesses code from many perspectives. It has a qualitative perspective, in that it enhances human understanding of the code structure. It has a graphic perspective, in that it can construct diagrams of the various organizational/reference structures within a body of code. It has a quantitative perspective, in that it can assess numerically the complexity of the code and thus provide metrics. It also has an historical perspective, in that it can reveal changes and trends in the code's structure. In short, if you're serious about the structure of your code base, then Structure101 is a product to look at. It's an indispensable tool for both professional shops and university teaching labs in which refactoring, general maintainability, architectural control or design quality good of code is important.

Development Environments

NetBeans IDE 6 (Sun Microsystems)
Reviewed by Rick Wayne
Selecting an IDE is an intensely personal decision. And selecting an IDE for your team really puts you on the spot. Feature lists are important, but the feel is hardly less so. Does the IDE adhere to the Principle of Least Surprise? Are common things obvious, and are rarely used features intuitive enough to decipher? Does the environment itself fade from your attention, letting you focus on your work? For NetBeans 6.0...yes. In use, the environment is fast under the fingers and stays out of your way, but a whole army of feature genies await your command. Building a multiplatform desktop app in Swing? NetBeans' GUI Builder has you covered with in-IDE profiling and debugging. Aiming at the enterprise side? The IDE provides code-completion and wizards for EJB 3 and simple deployment onto Glassfish, Tomcat, WebLogic, JBoss, and more. If you're a Rails developer, you'll love how NetBeans can simply adopt a Rails project with minimal fuss and add debugging, database integration, syntax highlighting, and more to your toolbox. Web services? Got it--SOAP, RESTful, JAX-WS, server--or client-side, including mobile devices. In short, if you're writing code in Java, Ruby, C/C++, Javascript, JSP, or any of the *ML family, NetBeans should be on your short list. It's world class.

CodeRush/Refactor! Pro (Developer Express)
Reviewed by Robert DelRossi
It's unlikely you'll ever use all the functionality inside the combined bundle of CodeRush and Refactor! Pro from Developer Express. The capabilities are just tremendous. Still, if you're a Visual Studio developer, you owe it to yourself to have a look. CodeRush supplements the Visual Studio editor with dozens of time-saving shortcuts that can dramatically reduce the time you spend on repetitive tasks. Refactor! Pro, meanwhile, identifies spots for improving your code with impressive results. We especially like the company's commitment to rolling out new refactorings with each version and how they've stayed current with the latest VB and C# language enhancements.

IntelliJ IDEA (JetBrains)
Reviewed by Mike Riley
In the age of free yet very powerful Java IDEs, JetBrain's IntelliJ IDEA stands out as one of the few commercial Java IDEs available on the market today. But like Jolt judge Larry O'Brien states, "It's still the IDE that I use whenever I code Java." New features in the 7.0 release, such as its full support for Groovy, Ruby and JRuby for Grails and Rails developers, its exemplary ability to create web applications using the Java-based Spring and Hibernate frameworks, and its ability to detect and view code changes made to a file before committing, better project configuration management, along with debugger and refactoring improvements keep IntelliJ IDEA and IDE worth paying for.

Komodo IDE 4 (ActiveState)
Reviewed by Mike Riley
The Komodo IDE continues to become a more useful, relevant and staple environment for my everyday coding. Unlike many other IDEs that have become bloated over time with features for features' sake, Komodo's multi-platform improvements are spot-on smart, helping to make it the first tool I execute when writing any Javascript, Perl, Python, or Ruby code. The latest additions, including Ruby on Rails and Ajax debugging, as well as across-the-board auto-complete and code intelligence updates for the core languages, provide great productivity gains while staying out of the way of my flying fingers.

Enterprise Tools

Kapow Mashup Server--Web 2.0 Edition (Kapow Technologies)
Reviewed by Roland Racko
Internet searches frequently return thousands of entries. What if there were a way to sift through those thousands of returns in a deterministic way and load only selected pieces of each search return item into your favorite analytical application? That is exactly what Kapow Mashup Server can do. Using a pattern matching language, it allows you to isolate and describe that part of any web page that contains information you'd like to capture. The matching language is flexible enough to work with any arbitrary web site. It works because there is generally a predictable arrangement of interesting fields in a page from that web site. After the page is described, the server then reads the underlying rendered HTML of any live instance of the page and extracts the text values from the sections you specified. Once acquired, the server has ample facilities to transport that captured information into an RSS feed, database, Java app, Wiki, Yahoo Pipes and so forth. The major insight of this product is that web pages and services on the public Internet have a describable regularity that can be turned to a new advantage. In particular, it can be useful in cross-correlating or collecting data across multiple web sites without requiring eyeballs to do manual inspection. The possibilities really are endless.

Foglight (Quest Software)
Reviewed by Meilir Page-Jones
Quest's Foglight is a first-rate tool with which operational management can control critical operating environments and help ensure compliance to service levels agreed upon between IT and the business. The Foglight system comprises the Foglight Experience Monitor, the Foglight Experience Viewer, and the Foglight Server. These components unite business services with information infrastructure, end users with databases, and development with production, thereby helping to bridge IT and the business. Foglight also spans production and development environments, giving development/production/operations managers command over current incident and release management processes. Some of the advantages of Foglight include: flexible dashboards, which can be customized to provide multiple models and views of the managed environment; views of services from the business-service level to low-level traces; and the ability (via innovative models and rules) to set alarm points when user-defined combinations of values are exceeded. It facilitates rapid resolution of incidents as well as greater compliance with internal and external policies and regulations. In short, Foglight is sophisticated, holistic, seamless, and adaptive. It is an especially useful tool for diagnostics against a live Web e-commerce environment.

LiveCycle Enterprise Suite (Adobe Systems)
Reviewed by Roland Racko
PDF documents tend to be static things, give or take a few form fill-in possibilities. But wouldn't it be nice if a PDF document could do a little more, such as pop up a warning to you if the return period window was expired or fill in fields automatically? Wouldn't it be nice if the document could be immediately routed to any subsequent work flow or approval process departments? In a remarkable way, Adobe Live Cycle has taken the lowly PDF and enlarged on it--making these things happen in a new and attractive way, streamlining tasks such as order processing, or claims adjustment. The Adobe Live Cycle Server organizes and manages a formal PDF document work flow that can be inside, outside, and across the company firewall. Encryption facilities and viewer identity security are combined with new rich Flash-enhanced interactivity. We've been saying for years that offices should be paperless, but results have generally merely replaced fibers with electrons without much change in perceived value or processing ease. Live Cycle is the first application that really delivers--making electronic paper more engaging and productive than the physical.

Rally Enterprise (Rally Software)
Reviewed by Jon Kurz
Rally Enterprise is not simply a tool to manage projects; it is a true enterprise tool geared toward the lifecycle of large and small projects across multiple teams. One of the key strengths of Rally Enterprise is that it is not targeted toward any single group. It becomes a tool that can be used by developers, project managers, testers and stakeholders alike. The dashboard is the center of activity. The layout is clear and well organized, providing information that is both qualitatively and quantitatively relevant, without unnecessary clutter. One of the key features is the available integration connectors. For developers, stories and tasks can be updated through their own IDE, such as Eclipse and VisualStudio. For project managers who use MS Project, there is also a connector to allow a familiar view of project metrics. There are many more connectors available for test automation and source control among others. The graphs and charts are well designed and provide quick visuals into the overall status of projects. With an interface and set of features that adapts to the needs of Agile environments, teams can adopt Rally Enterprise as the tool to help them achieve their goals.

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