With ASP.NET AJAX, Redmond shows it is capable of embracing a new development paradigm with some excellent software.

Adobe Systems
Its execution on a vision for mashups with streaming audio and video, and other vector graphics, is just so far ahead of everyone else.

As AJAX became a requirement for Web development, European company Backbase was one of the first to launch products to make it easier.

Its maps are still light years ahead of anything else on the Web. And its commitment to expose everything as a Web service means Google is still the fastest horse in the barn.

AJAX + SOA = RIA and mashups. JackBe shows ardent dedication to simplified Web services and AJAX-enabled enterprises.

Nexaweb Technologies
A simple path from old-world applications to new-world Web interfaces, be they Java or AJAX. A pioneer in the RIA space keeps getting it right.

Visual Studio is still the only real game in town for Windows developers due to Microsoft’s excellent tools and competitor’s meager offerings. To top that off, MSDN provides answers to just about any question a developer could ever think of.

XMLSpy is still awesome, but the vision has expanded to include transformation, query, Web services and application design.

Business Objects
Without Business Objects, high-level managers would never understand what you’re talking about. Good reports make everyone look smarter.

Eclipse Foundation
As if Eclipse wasn’t good enough for coders, the rest of the enterprise now uses it as their rich client. A true sign of a great community and great leadership.

With robust systems for managing code, and great tools to help write it, IBM is the biggest banana in the tooling tree.

Whether you’re building or testing Java GUIs, Instantiations makes the process easy enough that even a manager could do it.

xProcess changes those lovely best practices into die-cast working frameworks for your developers. The easiest way to push some sanity into the development process.
Outsourcing coding tasks typically results in files full of copy-and-paste check-ins. Skip the outsourcing, and let your developers search the Web with Krugle’s massive database of open code.

All that fancy software you’ve written ain’t worth its weight in floppies if it can’t produce simple information for your superiors. Logi8 makes it easy to please the folks upstairs.

PreEmptive Solutions
Obfuscated code means hackers will have a tougher time figuring out how they can exploit your systems. PreEmptive means obfuscation for .NET and Java doesn’t need to be done by hand.

Agile is a way of life. And with Rally’s tools in hand, it’s a lot easier to convince your developers to build unit tests and to share code.

Sun Microsystems
NetBeans and Solaris go together like peanut butter and jelly. Sure, NetBeans runs elsewhere, but all those great Solaris tools make this combination reminiscent of workstation integrations gone by.

The A in ALM doesn’t have to stand for “Application.” For VersionOne users, it stands for “Agile.” Process management and tools to ensure proper practices make VersionOne tools transformative.

It single-handedly alleviated the need for QA folk to restart their machines once every 10 minutes. Now, they simply fire up another virtual machine.

Pick a niche and strive to be the best in that segment. That segment, for Agitar, is unit testing for Java. This company’s innovations continue to lead the industry.

With a test manager, build system, performance profiler and bug tracker, the company delivers on its name—to automate the process of quality assurance.

It continues to tickle developers’ bug-tracking sweet spot with clever, innovative user interfaces and the choice to run standalone or in a full-feature hosted environment, or to integrate tightly with Visual Studio.

Innovative tools? High-value customer base? Respected technology? Strong financial performance? Any two might be enough to make a small company an attractive acquisition target. Identify Software had all four.

With perhaps the most diverse set of test tools offered, Compuware continues to excel equally in all areas, including unit, functional, load, performance and risk-based testing, and in requirements and even test-data management.

If there’s a way to simplify Web application testing, chances are Empirix has thought of it. Its point-and-shoot functional, regression and performance test and monitoring tools lead the way.

Mercury’s test tools have been the industry standard for more than a decade. HP is now keeper of that public trust. Time will tell if it is up to the task.

In the SOA-test arena, iTKO was out front with the concept of testing for business continuity. The company continues to push the limits of availability with its complete collaboration solution.

Flagship SOAPscope helped set the standard for Web services testing before most people even knew the meaning of the term.

Focused on preventing defects before they occur, Parasoft offers a broad array of tools for multiple languages that are well suited to testing teams large and small.

Gives new meaning to the term Òintuitive interfaceÓ with its line of Web-based tools for collaborative project, defect and software life-cycle management and its low-cost subscription model that fits any budget.

A list of leading test-tools companies would not be complete without Telelogic, which continues to raise the bar on tools for all phases of development, particularly in requirements management and test automation.

BEA Systems
BEA introduced the industry’s first native SOA platform in 2006. SOA 360 sets the pace for 2007 with its unified platform for modeling, developing and deploying SOA applications.

The whole purpose of SOA is software reuse, but to reuse a service you have to trust it—and Mindreef measures that trust.

It fleshed out a potent platform in 2006 with Oracle SOA Suite 10g, encompassing everything from governance, security and events monitoring to business rules.

Rogue Wave libraries demonstrate that SOA and Web services aren’t just for managed code; C/C++ developers can participate with ease.

Roy Fielding
The father of HTTP long ago laid out the plans for Representational State Transfer (REST). Today, it’s gaining popularity as an alternative to the WS-* standards.

TIBCO’s BPMS and business integration software is among the best in the industry, surpassing many of the biggest players in both implementation and strategy.

It took SOA and turned it into a tangible, actionable system for enterprise integration. Likewise, it ran at the head of the pack in the BPMS space.

An acknowledged leader in software testing moves into the security arena with a white- and black-box testing tool upgraded to scan potential security flaws from inside Microsoft Visual Studio.

It led the way in the open source space by creating the Java Open Review Project, a free Web site to help developers detect security vulnerabilities.

Static code analysis, now brought to the individual developer’s desktop, sends a clear message that application security is no longer someone else’s problem.

Ounce Labs
Strong visualization and reporting capabilities mean that Ounce Labs’ security scanner won’t confuse the developers it was meant to help.

SPI Dynamics
It turned up the AMP and integrated it with its testing tool to manage security risks across the application life cycle. It took on Web applications too.

It continued to bolster its flagship AppScan black-box testing tool by adding the ability to test Web services code for vulnerabilities.

Whether modeling applications in UML or visualizing document-centric apps, IBM quietly maintains its leadership position in this space with mature, yet up-to-date tools.

Domain-specific languages that raise the level of abstraction are the way modeling will become a more efficient way to develop software. MetaCase is leading the charge.

The former N8 Systems uses a plain English-to-UML converter to help business people create visual requirements that IT can make sense of.

SysML Partners
The original group of software companies that created a version of UML for systems engineering called SysML, which picked up steam in 2006.

It moved to bring application modeling and systems engineering together in the embedded space while continuing to emphasize model-driven development.

Visual Studio isn’t going away anytime soon, despite delays for the next version. Microsoft sings the songs that make the developers sing and dance with a smile.

Apache Software Foundation:
Tomcat, Axis, Harmony, Xerces, ANT, Maven, ActiveMQ, Jakarta, Geronimo, Struts… the list goes on and on, and the projects just get better and better.

Eclipse Foundation:
From open source project to religious movement: The foundation not only laid the groundwork for years to come, but also fostered a development community that adds new projects faster than Oracle buys competitors.

Free Software Foundation:
With GPLv3 still winding its way to completion, the FSF helped to keep the discussions going, and turned 2006 into the most introspective year yet for free software.

Its Web Toolkit alone makes this unstoppable juggernaut of innovation a corporate development player. Google’s online offerings make it the headquarters for mashups, gashups and post-ups, thanks to code repositories, APIs and online office tools.

Corporate software begins and ends with IBM tools. Whether it’s Eclipse on the front, Rational at the back or WebSphere under the hood, IBM knows more about software than most nation-states.

Compilers and tools that link directly to the processor just can’t be beat by offthe-shelf solutions. And as those processors add cores, it means developers have horsepower to spare.
Disruptive technology as a mission statement. With in the water, no fish is safe from having its lunch eaten out from under its nose.

Love or hate the agreement with Microsoft, Novell is in the news, on the Web, and now all over the GPLv3.

Sun Microsystems:
Despite its characteristic shrugs from time to time, Sun still has some of the brainiest buildings in Silicon Valley. With an open source Java, it’ll soon be tapping external brains as well.

If it isn’t enough that Windows CE and Windows Mobile are showing up on an ever-increasing number of devices, the company is staking out turf in robotics as well.

Green Hills
The RTOS provider is turning heads with embedded middleware, operating systems and platforms focused on security and performance. 2006 saw dramatic acceptance, and 2007 already looks promising.

QNX Software Systems
The company has taken the lead in upgrading software and tooling to support multicore processor setups, as their roles in embedded devices evolve from whiteboard to shipping product.

With iAnywhere providing a vast suite of middleware resources, Sybase is covering its flanks by offering tools for building smarter mobile devices.

Texas Instruments
The legendary chipmaker has left its DSP competitors in the dust with the DaVinci line’s SDK for Windows CE. Giving it away just makes it that much more attractive.

Smartphone developers are learning what cross-platform developers have known for years—Trolltech’s application library is a can’t-do-without resource for high-performance code.

Wind River Systems
Already the leader in embedded development, Wind River is getting the open standards religion in a big way.

New tools integrating Visual Studio with SQL Server give developers and DBAs a chance to resolve conflicting perspectives with the same tools.

DataDirect Technologies
Its connectivity and integration tools continue to set the mark for others in the industry. In 2006, the company’s new XQuery technology joined the fray and made its mark.

DB2 9 “Viper” offered its users improved compression and data management, and accessed data in Oracle and MySQL databases without special tweaking.

Caché 2007 introduced the Zen framework for rich platform-independent applications, and the Jalapeño component that enables object persistence without mapping, reducing development cycles.

Although not quite a big boy yet, the open source database continues to gain acceptance as it adds industrial-strength features.

Oracle remains the 800-pound gorilla of enterprise database management systems. Although the increased concentration on services may detract from the company’s core competency, it hasn’t yet.

Builders of .NET applications find Web user interface and charting controls that stay current, even with major platform changes like Windows Vista and ASP.NET AJAX.

Reusable code doesn’t just have to be for GUIs; new components for ASP.NET AJAX, SharePoint and data reporting keep VS.NET coders in the suite spot.

Data Dynamics
Data is active, and business reports should be active too, thanks to ActiveX controls that support data reporting, data mining and user interface design.

Developer Express
Leading-edge application frameworks for business applications and refactoring remove limitations from Visual Studio, Delphi and C++Builder development, whether for the Web or the desktop.

Dundas Data Visualization
The vision drives developer productivity: From charting to OLAP to mapping, if your users can visualize it, Dundas can save your programmers from manually coding it.

Maybe you can’t go home again, but your software can navigate you there, thanks to an ever-expanding development library and data services for geographic and cartographic applications.

FarPoint Technologies
Never underestimate the power of a spreadsheet to view and manipulate data, and innovations keep FarPoint’s reusable functionality on the cutting edge of BizTalk, COM and .NET.

Vast collection of reusable Java and .NET code hits major platforms, major technologies, even those that aren’t ready, like Windows Vista and WPF.

N Software
Communications protocols, from WebDAV to EDI to SNMP, are hard to write and test, but fortunately these guys save your guys from that dreary yet essential task.

Software FX
Charts, graphics, gauges, statistics: Whether for Windows, Java, COM, the Web or now SQL Server Reporting Services, Software FX’s reusable components save enterprise developers time and money.

Building apps with the latest Microsoft Office look-and-feel is easier with Syncfusion’s essential controls that put the new ribbon and toolstrips into your own software.

Do it fast, do it right, with reusable assets for rapid UI development—and Telerik’s tools keep evolving to handle new platforms, new apps, even new shapes.

.NET continues to impress and surpass expectations with the new development model and new-exciting twists on old-boring designs. With ASP.NET and C#, the Ruby and JSP crowds have virtualy nothing to crow about; except, perhaps, utter jealousy.

BEA Systems
The upstart shows benchmarks that impress, and offers a surrounding development environment that eliminates the blood, sweat and tears of application hosting.

WebSphere is the biggest, baddest application server on the block. And with a free community edition, anyone can give it a test drive.

Red Hat/JBoss
It’s the only company to offer an entire stack around the application server, so going right to the source means fewer problems down the line.

Sun Microsystems
Glassfish is the future. Sun’s application stacks are the present. The folks that built Java prove they still know it best.

Rolling out as a place for developers to tinker and collaborate on projects using Subversion has the software development world cooing.

Electric Cloud
This company is ahead of the curve with its browser-based tool for automating the build process. Keep an eye on this Cloud because it tends to move fast.

Rational people understand that IBM continues to dominate corporate ALM with a complete, mature package of tools and services.

Its change management simulator helps organizations see costs before deciding if change is necessary. A great tool that makes managers look smart.

One of the first to advance build beyond a nightly chore to incorporating it into a life-cycle approach, the company formerly known as Catalyst Systems sparked a change in thinking.

It sticks to its knitting, and now expands into stronger compatibility with other players. Concentrating on SCM means Perforce remains a focused and professional system.

From defects to SCM to QA, the company’s offerings ran circles around bigger competitors. Successfully improved control of test runs and test cases in 2006.

As the potent force behind the Application Lifecycle Framework, Serena had a stellar year in the ALM market. It cast Dimensions 10 as the new nucleus for its product base.

Organizations switched over in fairly large numbers from CVS to Subversion during 2006. Distributed teams mean distributed commits, and Subversion handles them with aplomb.

By integrating its three main development products into one package, Tech Excel elbowed its way to a much greater piece of the ALM pie. Protection Status