IBM Rational Wins IDE Battle Again

IBM's Rational Application Developer edges out Microsoft's Visual Studio to take the top spot in an Evans Data study.

IBMs Rational Application Developer tool set has achieved top rankings for the second year in a row, according to a market research study.

Evans Data, of Santa Cruz, Calif., said Rational Application Developer came out as top among 11 IDEs (integrated development environments). The IDEs rated consisted of Adobe Systems Macromedia Studio 8, Borlands Delphi and JBuilder, Eclipse, IBMs Rational Application Developer and WebSphere Studio, Microsofts Visual Studio .Net, NetBeans, Oracles JDeveloper, Sun Microsystems Java Studio, and Sybases PowerBuilder. Evans Data conducted surveys of 1,200 developers in the spring.

The Evans Data study is not the first top ranking for the IBM Rational development environment this year. Last month, market researcher Gartner, of Stamford, Conn., named IBM the worldwide market share leader in the application development and project and portfolio management software marketplace based on total software revenue for 2005. IBM officials said this marks the fifth consecutive year that the company has led the application development software market.

The Evans Data study, "The Developers Choice—IDE Scorecard," ranked 16 different categories, from best debugger and compiler to best Web design tools.

Developers surveyed rated Microsofts Visual Studio as the most widely used IDE. Nearly 60 percent of the developers surveyed said they used Visual Studio, while only about five percent said they use IBM Rational Application Developer. The second most widely used IDE in the ranking was Macromedia Studio 8, which 22.2 percent of developers said they use, followed by Eclipse, which 21.2 percent of the surveyed developers said they use. NetBeans came in sixth—behind Delphi and Java Studio, respectively—with 8.6 percent of the developers saying they use it.

Meanwhile, in overall rankings, Visual Studio placed second, followed by Delphi in third place. In fact, Rational Application Developer just barely edged out Visual Studio for the top spot in the overall rankings, the Evans Data report showed.

"IDEs are a fundamental key ingredient of a developers success, and, in fact, we find that most use two to three in their workflow," said John Andrews, president of Evans Data, in a study. "Its a tribute to IBM that, in this highly competitive segment, they continue to hold the lead in overall developer ranking."

Meanwhile, IBM officials said the companys focus on open standards makes it more attractive to developers than other development environments, such as Microsofts.

"IBMs commitment to open standards allows the individual developer and development teams to more easily develop cross-platform applications," said Roger Oberg, vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM Rational Software, in a statement.

Meanwhile, the two open-source IDEs received the lowest scores in the study. NetBeans was 10th and Eclipse came in 11th, or last, overall. The Evans Data study said this is "due to their open and evolving nature."