The process of building websites and Web pages is different, in many ways, from creating traditional client and server applications. Not only is the Web paradigm unique, but Web developers are also often using special languages and protocols. They also have specific issues regarding functional testing and load testing. What’s more, requirements may be vague, agility paramount, and the rollout process abbreviated. These companies and organizations have demonstrated a profound understanding of the needs of enterprise Web developers, and they help developers build Web applications faster than ever before.
Ruby on Rails
The bigger the project, the more important modeling becomes to achieving success. We’ve learned, of course, that modeling can take several forms; while many extol the virtue of the Unified Modeling Language, the most important element in a successful model-driven approach to software development is that developers actually use the models, no matter whether the models are standards-based or not. We recognize four organizations that have demonstrated leadership by advancing the state of modeling in software development, whether through the use of specifications, integration or tool usability.
Object Management Group
What determines developer productivity? While sophisticated platforms are essential for teams, an individual programmer is only as effective as the tools on his or her desktop. Some programmers like to choose a selection of discrete tools, bringing together code editors, compilers, linkers, debuggers, analyzers and makefile utilities. Others like to work in a cutting-edge integrated development environment, preferably one that ties into other enterprise development platforms like SCM systems. The SD Times 100 recognizes these companies and organizations as the leaders in tools and IDEs for enterprise developers.
You got your peanut butter in my chocolate… and we ended up with a new type of candy. Your developers wanted to add a geographic display of your company’s retail locations to your website, and so they incorporated Google Maps. Development teams have mashed applications together for years, of course, through ad hoc integration of disparate applications and data sources. Service oriented architectures accelerated the trend, making mashups easier to make—and less brittle—than ever before. We recognize three leaders that have taken the concept farther than any others.
Break free of your silos, cry advocates for service-oriented architectures. Extend the usefulness of your applications by tying them together using standards-based middleware, such as those based on the various Web service specifications. By using smart middleware, and by adding Web services to existing or new applications, enterprise software can become smarter as well, and the cost to create new functionality can drop by an order of magnitude. These companies have demonstrated leadership and innovation in the areas of SOA-enablement and in creating enterprise middleware.
It has become hard to tell where the application server ends and the database server begins. Over the past several years, database servers, which we used to call relational database management systems, have grown in complexity and sophistication while offering new flexibility for scalability and performance. Similarly, database tools have evolved as well. Yesterday’s DBA wouldn’t recognize today’s RDBMS. This year, we recognize those organizations that have led the advancement of database technology through their leadership in servers, developer and DBA tools, and data access technologies.
Nothing ruins your day more than finding that hackers stole your company’s most sensitive data. Unless, perhaps, it’s that someone did something worse. Security vulnerabilities can be introduced at any stage of the application life cycle, perhaps because of simple coding errors, or because sophisticated enemies found and exploited a flaw that you never knew existed. There are many techniques for detecting security vulnerabilities, and the innovative companies recognized in this category have demonstrated that their products and services make a real difference.
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Smart software developers like to write software. Smarter software developments—and their managers—know that it’s often better to reuse code than write it from scratch. Code reuse has been the goal of developers from time immemorial, whether it’s grabbing a box of math routines punched onto Hollerith cards or loading a library of GUI widgets. This year, the SD Times 100 recognizes the innovators and leaders in reusable components and libraries, focusing on those companies that have stayed on top of the latest platforms and protocols.
It may not be the sexiest area of software development, but SCM is the bread and butter of application life-cycle management. Without a platform to manage source code, control check-in and check-out, store artifacts, and exercise version control, development projects can’t scale and can’t succeed. Today’s leading SCM platform makers, recognized in this year’s SD Times 100, do even more: They integrate with defect management, requirements management and build systems; provide reports to team leaders and business executives; enable team communication; and foster a culture of quality.
Last year may have been The Year of the Cloud. It was hard to attend any software-development forum (or any information technology event) without seeing the phrase “cloud computing” in 20-foot letters. The economic recession, combined with emerging hardware and software platforms, combined to create a perfect storm. Behind that storm stood three companies, whose names became ubiquitous. While their approaches to cloud computing were different, these companies have gained early momentum. Today, the industry now looks to them for leadership during nascent standardization efforts.
Hybrids between client/server and Web applications, rich Internet applications combine the power of remote hosts with the performance and resources of locally running code. While there are many approaches to RIAs, the strongest success has come to those industry leaders that have taken a broad, platform-agnostic approach to the problem. This year, the SD Times 100 recognizes three players whose RIA platforms have become the de facto standard. While other RIA platforms fill important needs, they lack the broad appeal of solutions from these companies.
No two developers—or development tools providers—will ever agree about what’s included within application life-cycle management. How much does ALM focus on an individual developer’s productivity? The team? The organization? The lack of a clear definition hasn’t stopped some of the industry’s most innovative companies from offering tool suites that encompass the entire application life cycle. In some cases, these organizations have demonstrated leadership by creating innovative ALM solutions from the ground up. In other cases, they have led by integrating once-distinct products.