Winners of Builder's 2nd Annual Readers' Choice Awards

See the results of Builder's Second Annual Readers' Choice Awards. Compare the award winners in each category with your favorite development tools.

Not too long ago, we asked you to cast your vote for your favorite development tool in the 2nd Annual Builder Readers' Choice Awards. After tallying the votes from over six hundred participants, we are ready to reveal the winners in each of the seven categories. Check out the results to see if your favorite development tool is also a favorite among your peers.

Other votes
Each category on the ballot had both an Other and an Abstain option. If your favorite tool didn't appear in the list, we asked you to vote Other and to suggest an alternative. No individual write-in candidates in any particular category drew more than two votes.

Best Java IDE
Winner: Borland JBuilder

Best Java IDE

For the second year, Borland's JBuilder 6.0 took first place in the best Java IDE category, coming in with 24 percent of the votes cast.

Best Java Application Server
Winner: Apache Tomcat

Best Java Application Server

Just like last year, the majority (29%) favor Apache Tomcat for serving Java applications. One might say that the popularity stems from the fact that the server is free and open source, but it is much more than that. Apache Tomcat works and works well, with the initial lack of cost being an added benefit but not the determining factor. It will be interesting to see if any of the other choices in this category can dethrone Apache in next year's survey.

Best Windows Development Tool
Winner: Visual Studio .NET

Best Windows Development Tool

Visual Studio .NET trounced the competition in this category, earning 62 percent of the votes cast. This was in direct contrast to the 2002 Awards, in which VS.NET inched out Borland's Delphi development application. Apparently, in this category, Microsoft has pulled ahead to be the clear leader. Could it be that the .NET Framework really offers a superior environment for Windows application development?

In an interesting development, the second runner up in this category was a newcomer to the survey, Advantage Plex from Computer Associates. We will have to watch for the CA platform to make advances in this category next year.

Review request
Do you use Advantage Plex from Computer Associates? We want to hear about it. Would you like to write a review of Advantage Plex for Builder? E-mail your review, and, if we publish it, we will send you a sample Book or CD from our library.

Best Web Development Tool
Winner: Dreamweaver MX

Best Web Development Tool

The 2003 results in this category are similar to the results in 2002 with Dreamweaver MX again coming in as the winner carrying 39 percent of the votes. VS.NET again comes in second, while newcomer, Mozilla Composer, sneaks in to run a distant third. Mozilla's relatively high showing is a bit of a surprise because, frankly, I never considered it to be a development tool. Perhaps those members using Mozilla would like to share with us what they like about it as a Web development tool.

Best Linux IDE
Winners: Borland Kylix, Oracle9i/10g JDeveloper, and Eclipse

Best Linux IDE

This category was the most hotly contested this year; a definite change from last year where Borland Kylix ran away from the field. This year, Kylix can only achieve a dead heat with Oracle JDeveloper and Eclipse. And therein lies the real story; Eclipse was not even on the ballot last year. It seems Eclipse has the momentum in this category, and, if the trend continues, it will be the winner next year. If you haven't taken a look at this newcomer, perhaps you should.
  • Honorable mentions: CodeWarrior for Linux and KDE Studio

  • Review request
    Do you use Eclipse 2.1? We want to hear about it. Would you like to write a review of Eclipse for Builder? E-mail your review, and, if we publish it, we will send you a sample Book or CD from our library.

    Best Mobile Development Tool
    Winner: Visual Studio .NET + .NET Compact Framework

    Best Mobile Development Tool

    The Mobile Development category was highly fragmented last year with several tools receiving considerable amounts of backing in the 2002 survey. However, the 2003 survey reveals a clear-cut winner in Visual Studio.NET and the .NET Compact Framework. Once again, this seems to indicate that the .NET Framework is more than just Microsoft marketing hype. The results also reflect the downturn in popularity of the Palm platform in favor of more powerful Pocket PC platforms. Until the nascent mobile telephone application market shakes out completely, however, development tools in this category are likely to continue to be volatile.

    Best Modeling Tool
    Winner: Visio 2003

    Best Modeling Tool

    Similar to last year's results, this category is dominated by two heavyweights in Visio and Rational Rose. The only difference between this year and last is the spread. Visio has increased its lead over all competitors coming in at 37 percent. The next closest tool to the two dominating the category was Oracle JDeveloper, which did not even make the survey last year.

    Mac OS X
    For the last question in the 2003 survey, we asked if development tools for Mac OS X should be added to next year's survey. Truth be told, I was expecting the answer to be yes in a landslide, but that's not what happened. Only 40 percent voted for Mac OS X coverage next year, while 34 percent voted against it and 26 percent abstained. Not an overwhelming endorsement of this Apple platform in terms of application development. Is development for the Mac OS X really a niche area, barely worthy of a category in the survey? I'd be very interested in hearing members' views on that question.

    Take a look at the results. Were there any surprises? Perhaps you believe your favorite tool is under appreciated—convince us of its merit with a comment in the discussion forum. Who knows, maybe you can sway the voting for next year's survey.

    About Mark Kaelin

    Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.

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