By Jerry Coffey
It's Your Turn
asp.netPRO Readers Choice Awards 2004
No editorial picks, no advertising hype - just readers of this magazine sharing their opinions regarding 160-plus-products in 24 categories. Here are the results of the inaugural asp.netPRO Readers Choice Awards.
The criteria for entry are simple: the product must be useful to an ASP.NET developer in a direct way, and it must be a commercial product, i.e. it cannot be freeware or open source. There's one exception to the commercial rule, and that's the category for Best Community Site which does include free Web sites.
So let's get to it!
The first winner in the first category is clear cut; CodeRush for Visual Studio .NET (from Developer Express) takes first place with 37% of the votes. In case you're not familiar with it, CodeRush integrates tightly with the Visual Studio.NET IDE to "improve the development environment from the inside out - bringing you new ways to look at code, new ways to generate code, new ways to navigate through code, and new ways to create your own extensions to your development environment." Runner-up honors provides us with our first tie, as DevPartner Studio Professional Edition (from Compuware), and Visual Perl (from Active State) each have 17% of the vote.
Best Charting & Graphics Tool
Dundas Chart for .NET (from Dundas Software) has first place to itself with 27% of the vote. Microsoft seems to think highly of Dundas as well, since they decided to make it part of SQL Server Reporting Services. Any way you care to chart it, this category shows four strong contenders; second place goes to Chart FX for .NET (Software FX) with 22%, while third and fourth place follow quickly behind with 20% and 18%, respectively.
Best Chat Application
The Best Chat Application category also exhibits four strong contenders, although the winner is plain; Absolute Live Support .NET (from Xigla Software) wins hands down with 36%. ChatSpace from Akiva has runner-up status to itself with 27%, while third and fourth place are a near tie between Active Data Online WebChat and Adventia Chat Server .NET.
Best Code Editor
This is another hotly contested category, but top honors go to Textpad of Helios Software Solutions with 36%. Was it the low low cost, or the try-before-you-buy strategy? Macromedia's HomeSite was a solid second-place finisher with 32%, and ASP Express did well for itself with 15%.
Best Communications Tool
This category is dominated by two products, but with 41% of the votes, it's easy to understand that IP*Works! .NET Edition (of /n software) took the Communications Tool top spot. Runner-up went to TraceRoute .NET Component (from aspNetTraceRoute) with 35%.
Best Community Resource
This is the only category devoted to non-commercial (i.e. free) products, and it was no contest; kbAlertz.com overshadowed the competition with a whopping 68% of the vote. Many vendors work hard to "get out the vote" for their products, but kbAlertz.com did an outstanding job of mobilizing their user community for this win. Far behind, The Code Project (with 10%) edged out Microsoft's ASP.NET Site for a distant second place (with 8%).
Best Component Set
Developer Express returns for another win (their CodeRush took Best Add-in) with .NET Subscription, winning with a dominating 41%. Runner-up goes to Infragistics' NetAdvantage 2004 Vol. 1 with a solid 24%, while ComponentOne Studio Enterprise runs a strong third with 19%.
Best Content Management System
myKB Knowledge Base Software (from myKB.com) managed to blow away their competitors with 70%. With 8%, telerik's r.a.d.designer and Rich Content Rotator from ComponentArt (CYBERAKT) finished in a dead heat for a distant second place.
Best e-Commerce Package
Taking care of business with 32% of your votes, BV Commerce (from BV Software) has first place all to itself. Runner-up however, is a jump ball between LaGarde's StoreFront 6 - .NET Cart, and /n software's IP*Works! CC Charge .NET Edition (each with 21%), leaving a close fourth place finish to netCART Shopping Cart from Corporate Web Solutions.
Best E-mail Control
aspNet Email, from Advanced Intellect, swept this category easily with 47% of the votes, while EasyMail .NET Edition (from Quiksoft) placed a convincing second with 15%. Dart Communications' PowerTCP Mail for .NET and ExclamationSoft's Smtp.Net Email Component followed closely for third and fourth place, respectively.
Best Forum Application
This one wasn't close either, as dotNetBB Forums (from dotNetBB.com) garnered 59% of the votes. Instant Forum .NET (from Instant ASP) took runner-up with 19%, while ASPPlayground.NET made a respectable third-place showing with 12%.
Now this is one hotly contested category, with plenty of solid players. Despite this, Developer Express takes first place easily, with their ASPxGrid product and 40% of the votes. It's the third win for Developer Express. ComponentOne WebGrid for ASP.NET takes runner-up convincingly with 20%, and Janus Systems makes a respectable third-place showing with 14% for their Janus Web GridEX Control for .NET.
Best Hosting Service
The winner in this category is clear as well, with MaximumASP roundly defeating all comers with 47%. DiscountASP.NET is runner-up with 21%, while ActiveHost can boast of a solid third-place finish with 19%.
I suppose it's no surprise, but Microsoft Visual Studio.NET effectively took all the oxygen in the Best IDE slot, with a category-killing 89% of the vote. Macromedia's Studio MX took most of the rest with 8%. Everyone else was left in the virtual dust.
Best Navigation Control
They're back! Developer Express chalks up another win with their ASPxNavigation Suite and 33% of the vote. They have to share first place this time however, with ComponentArt's (CYBERAKT) ASP.NET Menu. ComponentOne WebMenus and WebBars makes a decent showing in third place, with 15%.
Best Online Editor
There are quite a few viable players in this space, but Richer Components took first place handily with their RichTextBox product and 32% of your votes. Next up is CuteEditor for .Net (from CuteSoft), which got 17% of the vote. PowerWEB TextBox for ASP.NET (from Dart Communications), r.a.d.editor (telerik), and DevEdit ASP.NET (Interspire) follow closely in third, fourth, and fifth places, respectively.
Best Polling Tool
Polling very well indeed was Peter's Polling Package (from PeterBlum.com), amassing 52% of the electorate. HostedTools' NetPolls took runner-up with 27%, while Online Voting/Survey Web-App (from Comrie Software Solutions) made a respectable third-place showing with 21%.
Best Printing/Reporting Tool
They've dominated this space for some time now, so it's no surprise that Crystal Reports (from Business Objects) controls this category as well with 45% of the votes. ActiveReports for .NET (from Data Dynamics) is a solid runner-up however, with a quarter of the votes, and Developer Express places third with their XtraReports and 15% of the votes.
Best Project Management/Defect Tracking
This one was close, with AQdevTeam (from AutomatedQA) edging out runner-up FogBUGZ (from Fog Creek Software). Axosoft's OnTime Defect Tracker placed a solid third with 19%, and Xapware Technologies made a respectable showing in the category with 15% for their Active! Focus product.
Best Scheduling/Calendar Tool
PeterBlum.com returns for another win, taking 40% of the vote with Peter's Date Package. Runner-up is a tie between WebPlanner (ComponentScience), and ASP.NET DateTime Selector (Silk Webware), each with 21%.
Best Security Tool
It's another tie, as IP*Works! SSL (from /n software) finishes neck-and-neck with Dotfuscator (from PreEmptive Solutions). Considering that a free version of Dotfuscator is bundled with Visual Studio (see Brad McNamee's review on page 42), /n software should be quite proud to share first place in this category. PowerTCP Secure FTP for .NET (from Dart Communications) and Demeanor for .NET (from Wise Owl) round out the field with solid third and fourth place finishes, respectively.
Best Testing/QA Tool
They must be doing something right, because relatively diminutive AutomatedQA takes first place in our other project management category, this time with a resounding 47% of the vote for their TestComplete product. Heavy hitters Mercury Interactive and Compuware must settle for runner-up and third place, respectively, for their products QuickTest Professional and QACenter Performance Edition.
Emerging from a crowded field, Transcender easily outpaced its competition by taking 31% of your vote. The next four finished in a close pack with runner-up developmentor (16%) edging out third-place Wintellect (14%), fourth-place AppDev (13%), and fifth-place ASPTraining (11%).
I admit it; this is a catch-all category where products wind up that don't fit in easily elsewhere. So any product that makes a decent showing is worthy of a look. Having said that, XMLSPY (from Altova) rules the category with 45% of the vote. Runner-up goes to AutomatedQA's AQtime .NET with 16%. Also worthy of note are /n software's IP*Works! Zip (9%) and FMS's Total .NET Analyzer (7%).
Company of the Year
This award is a bit different in that it's not voted on directly. Company of the Year goes to the organization with the most first- and second-place finishes for the year. As you've probably guessed by now, Developer Express is the clear winner of Company of the Year for 2004, with four first-place finishes. No one else was close, although there were three companies with wins in two categories: /n software, AutomatedQA, and PeterBlum.com.
Congratulations and Thanks
I'd like to thank the third-party vendors who create the products that are the subject of these awards. Their efforts make ASP.NET development easier, more efficient, more profitable, and even more fun. Of course, I thank all of you in the ASP.NET community for voting. Here's to another year of great development tools!
Jerry Coffey is Editor-in-Chief of asp.netPRO. You can reach him at mailto:[email protected].
Contacting the Winners
/n software http://www.nsoftware.com
Advanced Intellect http://www.aspNetEmail.com
Business Objects http://www.businessobjects.com
BV Software http://www.bvsoftware.com
Developer Express http://www.devexpress.com
Dundas Software http://www.dundas.com
Helios Software Solutions http://www.textpad.com
PreEmptive Solutions http://www.preemptive.com/products/dotfuscator/index.html
Richer Components http://www.richtextbox.com/richtextbox
Xigla Software http://www.xigla.net