The Hottest & Coolest Products for '99

 
The Hottest & Coolest Products for '99
 
Short Shorts
Short Line  
The Categories
——
Application Servers

Compilers & VMs

Database Middleware

Database Tools

GUI Components

IDEs

Servlet Tools, Components, & Frameworks

Testing Tools

Third-Party Components

Utilities

Web Authoring & Management Tools

Java Report's
Annual Writers' Choice
of Great Java Products

EVERY YEAR, Java Report corrals its stable of writers and asks them which Java products are their preferred choices. This year, that question was tougher to answer than ever before, both because of the high quality of competing Java products currently available and the sheer number of them.

Our approach was simple and straightforward: We sent a list of more than 750 products to some 60 Java Report writers and asked them to cast their votes for the top 3 in each of 11 categories. We didn't expect every writer to possess intimate knowledge of every product on this daunting list, but we were determined to give everyone the opportunity to consider all the colors on the ever-expanding Java pallet. Note: The responses here are strictly the opinions of our writers. There was no formal evaluation process.

To their credit, our writers plunged in, unintimidated, and made the most of that opportunity. We heard from Java Report contributors from all over the U.S., as well as England, Europe, and South America. We even received votes from Slovenia. All our voters are experts in their various fields, from in-the-trenches programmers to big-picture architects, and they ranged in temperament from the hard-core Java faithful to enthusiastic agnostics. And all have written articles published in Java Report this year.

As we suspected, the top three products were already on their radar screens, but most of our contributors weren't satisfied until they'd given additional high marks in many of the categories. "It's great to spotlight the top three," one writer told us, "but some products that might be a step or two behind the front runners still deserve a mention." We agreed, and have included several products in honorable-mention lists in each category. As far as we're concerned, every product listed here is worth a look!

John K. Waters, Product Editor


APPLICATION SERVERS
WEBSPHERE APPLICATION SERVER:
IBM
websphere

IBM's Java servlet-based Web app server for the deployment and management of Web-based applications, from simple Web sites to powerful e-business solutions. Includes a servlet runtime engine, high-performance database connectors, CORBA-compliant ORBs, and application services for session and state management.

"This product signals that Java Application Servers have 'grown up.' It moves Enterprise Java into the Fortune 500 in a big way."
—Kyle Brown

WEBLOGIC:
BEA SYSTEMS' WEBXPRESS DIVISION
BEA

A Java app server for developing, integrating, deploying, and managing large-scale, distributed Web, network, and database applications. Release 4.0 introduces clustering of EJB/RMI/JNDI, high availability for EJB/RMI/JNDI, dynamic JDBC connection pools, platform-specific performance packs, and TUXEDO connection pools.

"A company with which I work employed WebLogic for a Web application they were creating. It was the only thing on the market that would let them do what they needed to do. What impressed me most was that after two or three system upgrades and a couple revs of the major browsers, everything still worked!"
—Tig Tillinghast

POWERTIER FOR EJBS:
PERSISTENCE SOFTWARE
persistence

Provides container-managed persistent objects, and optimizes performance with shared transactional caching. Integrates with leading component modeling and development tools, delivering an open solution for server-based rapid application development. power tier

"Many application servers merely focus on EJB technology and are often lacking in their support for the full J2EE platform. Persistence PowerTier provides a complete enterprise Java solution."
—Tyler Jewel


COMPILERS AND VIRTUAL MACHINES
HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPILER FOR JAVA:
IBM ALPHAWORKS
alphaworks

Compiles Java byte code into optimized platform-specific native object code. The resulting code is generally significantly faster than the byte code executed in a JVM/JIT environment. The degree of performance improvement depends upon the application.

TOWERJ:
TOWER TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION
alphaworks

A native Java deployment compiler and runtime environment. It compiles Java byte code into optimized self-contained native executables for a range of server-class computers allowing software developers to "write once, compile anywhere."

"Tower/J fills an important need for speed in server-based Java applications. Java's original developers envisioned it as a client-side environment, but Java's true home has emerged on the server. That's caused some performance problems, the needs of single-user client applets and multi-user server-side applications differ. That's where Tower/J comes in. It isn't and won't be the only solution."
—Philip J. Gill

CODEWRIGHT PROFESSIONAL:
PREMIA
codewright

A stand-alone *code editing system* from which users launch multiple compilers or debuggers. Includes syntax coloring, alignment styles, templates and addition of keywords, Java source file symbols parsing, compiler error parsing, Java API database assistance, and synchronization with Visual J++ in Microsoft Developer's Studio.


DATABASE MIDDLEWARE
JCONNECT FOR JDBC:
SYBASE INC.
jconnect

A 100% Java Type 4 JDBC driver that translates JDBC calls directly into Sybase's native protocol, TDS (Tabular Data Stream). The product directly supports SQL Server, SQL Anywhere, and more than 25 other data sources (e.g., Oracle, DB2, Informix, etc.) through Sybase's Middleware products, OmniConnect and DirectConnect.

"Very fast, reliable library from Sybase to communicate with its database, System 11 and up. Implemented in pure Java."
—Lowell Kaplan

DB2 UNIVERSAL DATABASE:
IBM
db2

A multimedia, Web-enabled database for decision support, data warehousing and data mining, OLAP and OLTP.

"IBM's commitment to Java is shown in the Java programming support features they've included in DB2, as well as their goal to become the No. 1 database vendor."
—Kyle Brown

POET OBJECT DATABASE:
POET SOFTWARE CORPORATION
poetlogo

A multi-platform ODBMS with language bindings for Java, Visual Basic/ActiveX, and C++. It supports the ODMG 2.0 Java API (the Sun-endorsed standard for persistence in Java), which enables database functionality without SQL programming. Features include native object persistence, navigational access, and client-or-server-executed queries.

"A powerfull and easy to use object database. It lets me think about things other than object persistence; it allows me to think about the content. I haven't had a single negative experience with it. The level of reliability really convinced me."
—Tomaz Domajnko


DATABASE TOOLS
TOPLINK:
THE OBJECT PEOPLE
the object people

A robust, object-to-relational mapping tool that maps Java objects to both legacy and new databases. It lets developers work at the object level, so no SQL programming is required. Supports 2-tier, fat client architecture or a 3-tier application server architecture with thin clients.

"A rock-solid, mature product that fits a lot of needs. The better you understand the problems of object-to-relational mapping, the more you appreciate how well TOPLink addresses those problems."
—Kyle Brown

SQL ANYWHERE STUDIO:
SYBASE

Provides a comprehensive package for mobile computing business needs. The integrated product set includes: Sybase Adaptive Server Anywhere 6.0, a small footprint, feature-rich SQL database; Sybase SQL Remote for bi-directional replication; Sybase Central for simplified administration; SQL Modeler for graphical database modeling; InfoMaker for query and analysis; PowerDynamo for Web-enabling corporate data; ODBC and JDBC drivers.

"A real industrial-strength product, very strong on leveraging the power of Java with some particularly smart integration of Java and SQL. Stands up well in performance, too."
—John Miller Crawford

STYLE REPORT:
INETSOFT TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION
inetsoft

A pure Java report generation package. It sports an easy to use API for generating and printing reports from any Java application or applet. The package includes built-in report previewing, large number of pre-built table styles, and adapters to quickly add report elements from application and database data sources.

"This is a really well-designed, stable, powerful API for report programming. I hope a future version will bring a more powerful report designer, but right now I can live with a top-notch API."
—Michael-Franz Mannion


GUI COMPONENTS
JAVA FOUNDATION CLASSES:
SUN MICROSYSTEMS, JAVA SOFTWARE DIVISION
sunlogo

Sun's GUI Class Library for Java and the hands-down top vote-getter in this category which came as no surprise.

CHART.J:
ROGUE WAVE SOFTWARE INC.
sunlogo

Incorporates customizable, dynamic charts into Java applets or applications. Provides prebuilt chart types, or developers may use the charting primitives. The product's data model provides for dynamic updates of charted data, and built-in callback mechanisms provide drill-down capability for various portions of a chart.

TEA SET WIDGETS:
INETSOFT TECHNOLOGY CORP.
tea set widget

A large collection of JavaBeans GUI components including Grid, Tabbed Folder, Tree, Graph, MultiList, ComboBox, and many more.


INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT
VISUALAGE FOR JAVA ENTERPRISE:
IBM
visual age

Application development environment that works with existing business data (JDBC), applications (CORBA, Java RMI, SAP, R/3) and transactions (CICS, TXSeries). New Enterprise Toolkit (Win95/NT,OS/2, AIX,OS/400,OS/390) contains a high-performance compiler to maximize speed of server code and a remote debug facility to test enterprise Java solutions from browser through to server. The team repository manages large-scale development projects by providing automatic version control for Java applications, JavaBeans components, applets, servlets, and IDL (CORBA)-based applications.

"Unlike other so-called 'visual' development environments which simply offer graphical construction of interfaces, VisualAge fosters visual manipulation of object interactions and collaborations."
—John Miller Crawford

VISUAL CAFÉ ENTERPRISE SUITE:
SYMANTEC CORP.

The Enterprise Suite supports distributed Java application development, debugging, and deployment of server applications and servlets. Wizards for Server, Servant, and Client Adapter mask the complexities of distributed communications, RMI, and CORBA. Single-View technology simplifies the development and debugging of distributed applications. A central console provides a seamless view into multiple processes running on different VMs, platforms, and operating systems. It supports NetDynamics, Netscape, Novera, Persistence, and WebLogic application servers; OrbixWeb and VisiBroker ORBs; and Tuxedo and Oracle8.

"More than anything else Visual Café proves that there is no single IDE of choice in the marketplace. If you want solidity and can live with being tied to a specific JDK, choose VisualAge; if project scalability is your bag, look at JBuilder; but if a super fast compiler and flexible environment is what you need, then Café may be the IDE for you."
—Michael-Franz Mannion

JBUILDER:
INPRISE/BORLAND
jbuilder

JBuilder features JavaBeans component creation, a scalable database architecture, visual "Two-Way" development tools, and the ability to produce 100% Pure Java, platform-independent applications, applets, servlets, and JavaBeans. The product's open environment supports JDK 1.1.x, JDK 1.2, JFC/Swing components, JavaBeans, Enterprise JavaBeans, CORBA, RMI, JDBC and all major corporate database servers.

"JBuilder is the current winner when it comes to developing large-scale Java projects. Principle features in this regard are a powerful, customizable editor, cross-project libraries, and a general philosophy of 'openness'."
—Michael-Franz Mannion


SERVLET TOOLS, COMPONENTS, FRAMEWORKS
COM.OREILLY.SERVLET PACKAGE:
JASON HUNTER
jason hunter

The com.oreilly.servlet package was written in conjunction with the book, Java Servlet Programming (O'Reilly), and contains a set of useful utility classes for servlet developers. Included are classes to help servlets parse parameters, handle multipart requests, generate multipart responses, negotiate locales for internationalization, return files, manage socket connections, and act as RMI servers. There's even a class to help applets communicate with servlets.

SERVLETEXEC:
NEW ATLANTA COMMUNICATIONS
new atlanta

A Java-based Web application server with complete implementation of the Java Servlet API 2.0, Java Server Pages (JSP), support for Microsoft IIS, Netscape FastTrack & Enterprise servers (UNIX & Windows), and the Apache Web server (UNIX & Windows).

WEBMACRO SERVLET FRAMEWORK:
SEMIOTEK INC.

A free Java development package that allows users to keep HTML and presentational issues out of Java servlet code, while providing Web designers with a simple template language capable of displaying any Java object.


TESTING TOOLS
OPTIMIZEIT:
INTUITIVE SYSTEMS

Profiling tool for Java VMs that shows how an application uses resources. Java programmers can easily spot the code responsible for excessive memory allocations or inefficient CPU usage. It includes a real-time memory profiler, object reference graph, CPU profiler, source code viewers, and ASCII/HTML report generator.

"OptimizeIt allows me to run and monitor my product on different platforms and configurations. I can easily see how my code is performing on each platform by using OptimizeIt's Attach to Remote Process feature."
—Todd Lauinger

JCHECK:
COMPUWARE NUMEGA LAB
numega

A visual thread and event analyzer that dramatically reduces the amount of time it takes to debug difficult problems in multi-threaded Java applications and components.

JPROBE PROFILER:
KL GROUP INC

JProbe ServerSide Suite provides powerful performance profiling, memory debugging, code coverage and thread analysis capabilities in one conveniently integrated suite, designed for server-side Java development.


THIRD-PARTY COMPONENTS
VISIBROKER FOR JAVA:
INPRISE CORPORATION

A complete CORBA 2.0 ORB environment for building, deploying, and managing distributed Java applications that interoperate across multiple platforms. It includes Java ease-of-use, scalability, customization for advanced development, secure IIOP, and monitoring and management tools.

"An easy-to-use, reliable ORB with relatively good performance. It's Caffeine tool (java2idl) first allowed developers to specify an interface in Java and turn it into standard IDL."
—Lowell Kaplan

TENGAH/JDBC:
BEA SYSTEMS, WEBXPRESS DIVISION
BEA

A pure-Java implementation of JDBC that supports servlets and dynamic HTML generation. Tengah/JDBC includes features such as security, HTTP servlet support for server-side programming, name services, and access control lists. Tengah/JDBC comes with one of WebLogic's industry-leading two-tier jdbcKona drivers for Oracle, Sybase, Informix, or MS SQL Server.

JAVA DEVELOPMENT KIT:
SUN MICROSYSTEMS

The JDK-2 software adds new functionality in many areas including Java 2D, Accessibility, Drag-and-Drop, Application Services, Extensions Framework, Collections, Input Methods, Version Identification, Weak References, Java Interface Definition language (IDL), Java Virtual Machine Debugger Interface (JVMDI), and Javadoc Doclets.

"The JDK has gone through many rigorous OOAD sessions, ensuring that the core, packages are designed correctly. By using these, developers are picking up good techniques and habits and not even realizing it! It's that feature that makes the JDK so important."
—Tyler Jewel


UTILITIES
TOGETHER/J:
OBJECT INTERNATIONAL INC.

A pure-Java UML modeler that delivers simultaneous round-trip engineering. TJ Whiteboard features UML class and package diagrams, multiframe HTML documentation generation, wall-chart printing, plus external tools access.

"Together/J has changed the way I develop Java systems. Thanks to its simultaneous design and code synchronization, I use Together/J to ensure that the design of my Java code remains consistent, principled and comprehensible."
—John Hunt

INSTALLANYWHERE, STANDARD EDITION:
ZERO G SOFTWARE

Allows for creation of highly customized installers for multiple platforms. Advanced Designer mode provides for a tailor-made product; its Project Wizard offers quick builds and the ability to set the project's main class and classpath automatically.

XML PRODUCTIVITY KIT FOR JAVA:
IBM ALPHAWORKS

Contains a variety of tools and protocols for enabling XML processing applications.

"My favorite choice when it comes to XML and Java combination. Quite easy to use, very powerful, and reliable."
—Tomaz Domajnko


WEB AUTHORING & MANAGEMENT TOOLS
DREAMWEAVER:
MACROMEDIA

A visual tool for Web site design. It supports Dynamic HTML features for users of 4.0 browsers while maintaining compatibility with 3.0 browsers, and includes an enhanced library of JavaScript behaviors. In addition to rollover effects, form validation, drag-and-drop, image swapping, and Shockwave controls, Dreamweaver 1.2 now also includes new behaviors such as check browser, drag- and-drop layers and pre-load images.

"I like DreamWeaver for [its] easy transition from visual editing to raw HTML tweaking and back again; automatic production of JavaScript behaviors; thorough checking against a range of browsers."
—John Miller Crawford

FUSION:
NETOBJECTS INC.

A site-oriented visual Web-authoring application that combines automatic site building, professional design, rich media, and data publishing features. Version 3.0 adds 150-plus features/enhancements.

"Very powerful. You get great results even if you are not an HTML expert. It can make a Java developer look like he/she has a flare for graphics and page design."
—Garry Grandlienard

JRUN:
LIVE SOFTWARE INC.

A server-side Java Web application deployment environment that extends your current Web server to support Java Servlet functionality. JRun also has a built-in Web server.

"A Java servlet engine that is valuable not just as its own Web server with a servlet engine, but because it can be plugged in to so many other standard Web servers, including Apache, Netscape Enterprise Server, and Microsoft IIS."
—Lowell Kaplan

Honorable Mention

APPLICATION SERVERS
SilverStream: SilverStream Software
Sapphire/Web: Bluestone Software Inc.


COMPILERS AND VIRTUAL MACHINES
High Performance Compiler for Java: IBM alphaWorks


DATABASE MIDDLEWARE
FastForward: Connect Software Inc.
dbANYWHERE Server: Symantec
Oracle Lite: Oracle Corporation
ObjectStore DBMS: Object Design
Versant ODBMS: Versant Object Technology
ObjectStore PSE for Java: Object Design Inc.
jdbcKona: BEA Systems
VisiChannel for JDBC: Visigenic


DATABASE TOOLS
Cloudscape JBMS: Cloudscape Inc.
CASEtalk: Danish Object Company
DBTools.J: Rogue Wave Software Inc.


GUI COMPONENTS
Remote AWT for Java: IBM alphaWorks
JClass Enterprise Suite: KL Group Inc.
ChartBlaster: Chart Works Inc.
StudioJ: Rogue Wave Software Inc.


INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENTS
VisualAge for Java Professional: IBM
Visual Café Professional Edition: Symantec Corp.
Visual Café Standard Edition : Symantec Corp.
2LKit for VJ++: JStyle
NetBeans Developer: NetBeans Inc.
SuperCede for Java Professional Edition: SuperCede Inc.
Kalos Architect: Espial Group
Kawa: Tek-Tools Inc.
Parts for Java: ObjectShare


TESTING TOOLS
jtest!: ParaSoft Corporation
SockPerf: IBM alphaWorks
Distributed Application Tester: IBM alphaWorks
Plum Hall JVS: Plum Hall Europe Limited


THIRD-PARTY COMPONENTS
Autodesk MapGuide Viewer Java Edition: Autodesk
iBus publish/subscribe Middleware: SoftWired Inc.
JGL - Generic Containers for Java: ObjectSpace Inc.
JClass Chart: KL Group Inc.
Kalos Espresso: Espial Group
MediaBeans: IBM alphaWorks
OrbixWeb: Iona Technologies
StudioJ: Rogue Wave Software Inc.


UTILITIES
XML BeanMaker: IBM alphaWorks
Dynamic XML for Java: IBM alphaWorks
AssemblyLine Basic: InLine Software Corporation
Jikes Parser Generator: IBM alphaWorks
Zelix KlassMaster: Zelix Pty Ltd.
CodeWizard for Java: ParaSoft Corporation
Jshrink: Eastridge Technology
StructureBuilder: Tendril Software Inc.


WEB AUTHORING & MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Fireworks: Macromedia

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