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Java's come a long way since its first commercial release in 1995. Perhaps the best gauge of Java's success is the growth in Java tools over the last eight years: from the first applet authoring tools, to entire enterprise application development environments, to device development kits, each year, vendors roll out more and more tools to make a Java developer's job much easier. And each year, JavaWorld honors those tools that stand out in their usefulness, innovation, and commitment to advancing the language by presenting our Editors' Choice Awards (ECA).
This year marks the seventh year that JavaWorld has presented these awards. In early 2003, vendors, readers, and JavaWorld authors and editors nominated more than 150 tools and technologies in the following 10 categories:
Nominations were accepted for any commercial, open source, or free Java-based technology shipped on or before April 1, 2003.
A panel of JavaWorld writers and editors narrowed the nominations down to three finalists in each category. In making their decisions, the judges evaluated the features and functions of each technology or tool and its influence on Java. From those 30 tools, the judges then selected the 10 winners during a second round of voting. Winners receive Awards crystals and finalists, Awards certificates.
The true winners here are Java developers, who have a plethora of tools, many of which are free or open source, to ease their development tasks. Read on to find out which tools lead the pack. Finalists are listed in alphabetical order.
Oracle9i Application Server TopLink is an advanced Java persistence architecture for developing and deploying enterprise Java applications that use relational databases. TopLink offers EJB CMP (Enterprise JavaBeans container-managed persistence), and persists regular Java objects as well as JSP (JavaServer Pages) and servlets. The tool's persistence infrastructure includes a GUI (graphical user interface) workbench, caching, Java-to-relational-mapping support, nonintrusive architectural flexibility, locking, and transactions. TopLink supports all Java technologies, J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) application servers, and relational databases enabled by JDBC (Java Database Connectivity). "TopLink distinguishes itself from other O/R [object-relational] mapping tools by offering developers fine-grained control over their persistence architecture and a long list of powerful features, including optimistic and pessimistic locking, automatic type conversion, transformational mappings, and more," says Moe Fardoost, director of Oracle9i Application Server product marketing.
TopLink's numerous features stood out for ECA judge Abraham Kang, security systems architect at Apexon, when evaluating this particular category. "TopLink has some nice features such as distributed caching of clustered Enterprise JavaBeans," he says. "It also has a functional GUI, which helps with configuration."
Xerces2 Java Parser 2.4, the Apache XML Project