Business Management: Application & Web Services Development
Iona Technologies plc.
Orbix E2A Web Services Platform 5.0
Visual Studio .Net
Rational Software Corp.
Rational ClearCase 2002
Application & Web Services Development attracted an impressive field of 65 entries, more than any other category in this years eXcellence Awards program. Going beyond the usual suspects of programming and process management tools, the judges also noted the entry of third-party services that offered real-time intelligence off the shelf as raw material for strategic enterprise projects.
Our finalists addressed different facets of the application development challenge. Microsofts Visual Studio .Net redefines the category of integrated development environments, with its portal-like packaging of Web service resources in addition to its comprehensive development tools. However, its formidable learning curve, and maturity issues that were all too quickly noticed in the spotlight of the products gala launch, kept it off the top step of the podium.
Rational Softwares ClearCase demanded the judges attention with return-on-investment figures in the hundreds of percent for several enterprise case studies. Without the configuration management discipline embodied in this type of product, no enterprise should even think of embarking on a services-based transformation of its application base. We were restrained, though, by doubts that small-to-midsize companies would be able to afford the commitment of various resources that ClearCase demands.
The category winner, Ionas Orbix E2A Web Services Platform 5.0, got the nod by preserving IT buyer choice while aiding mastery of Web services complexity. Rather than going to the mat in the war between Java 2 Enterprise Edition and .Net, Iona has leveraged its impressive track record in distributed object management into an effective integrating tool that lets buyers use the best features of more than one Web services framework. That makes developers winners. Peter Coffee