Application & Web Services Development

WINNER

Microsoft Corp.s Visual Studio .Net 2003

Considering Microsofts dominant role in tools and languages, its surprising that this is the companys first Excellence victory in this strategic category. Looking back at judges comments over the last several years, we find that previous entries have triggered concerns about whether the company was pushing too quickly to introduce new features while failing to ensure the security and industrial-strength robustness that our in-the-trenches corporate IT judges demand before engraving an Excellence Awards crystal pyramid.

This years winner in Application & Web Services Development lives up to the potential of Microsofts toolmaking talent. One of our Corporate Partner judges called Visual Studio .Net 2003 "a polished and feature-rich product."

When eWEEK Labs reviewed this product upon its release last May, we reported that Visual Studio .Net 2003 "walks hand in hand" with Microsoft Server 2003 for distributed service deployment. At the same time, though, we found that the updated tool set "expands the charter of enterprise development" into handheld-device applications.

Improved migration aids from pre-.Net languages completed the 2003 products mission of converting developers to the .Net way of work—as evidenced by Microsofts announcement this year that Visual Studio 2005 will quietly drop ".Net" from the product name. Yes, Visual Studio paves a path of least resistance to Microsoft-centric development, but one cant fault the company—indeed, one must rather congratulate it—for consistently wooing developers with affordable and compellingly productive tools.

FINALISTS

Borland Software Corp.s Enterprise Studio For Java Version 7

Borland took the first trophy given in this category for Version 4 of JBuilder. Three years later, JBuilder X is still our standard; it is also the core of the Enterprise Studio offering that now heads Borlands Java lineup.

We expected the worst when Borland went on an acquisition spree in 2002, seeking to broaden its best-of-breed competence across the entire application life cycle. To our pleasant surprise, Enterprise Studio benefits from the results, offering an outstanding package for those who choose not to drink the .Net Kool-Aid.

LogicLibrary Inc.s Logidex 2.0

LogicLibrarys flagship product solves the problem of managing code as an asset instead of merely adding to the pile. "We had a need to promote our internal reusable frameworks and design patterns," said one satisfied buyer, seeking "a place ... where they could be searched, related, retrieved and maintained."

Visualization tools and responsive vendor support were among the strengths reported to judges; IBMs recent adoption of Logidex technology supports those commendations.

Excellence Awards Winners and Finalists: