JDJ Readers are clearly out of touch

Or is JDJ’s list of contenders tainted by marketing money? Maybe we just had some electronic ballot stuffing. The so-called “Reader’s Choice” awards, just released by SYS-CON Media, publisher of Java Developer’s Journal (JDJ) are so completely out of touch with the reality of the current Java development community, I can’t even begin to guess how they arrived at their conclusions. Either the readers are clinically insane, they Christmas treed the survey, or they just sat through a bunch of marketing presentations from these vendors before responding.

It’s called journalistic integrity, and perhaps JDJ ought to look into it before they put together their list of contenders next year.

Best Java Application Server
Winner: BEA WebLogic Server, BEA Systems (
First Runner-up: JBoss 3.x Application Server, JBoss Group (
Second Runner-up: IBM WebSphere Application Server v5.0, IBM (
Third Runner-up: Fiorano ESB, Fiorano Software (
No problem with the top 3, but what is Fiorano ESB? I can honestly say that I’ve never heard of it, and I’ve heard of a TON of Java App servers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an ad for this product between the articles of JDJ. I don’t dispute that it may be a good product, but find it quite hard to believe that an unknown product would be a readers’ choice.

Best Java Data Access Tool
Winner: IBM WebSphere Studio (Application Developer v5.0), IBM (
First Runner-up: Fiorano ESB Data Access Service, Fiorano Software (
Second Runner-up: Kodo JDO, SolarMetric (
Third Runner-up: Oracle TopLink, Oracle (
Once again – Fiorano as the #2 choice?! Where is the fervent yet mute community of users that loves this product so much? And what about ANY of the open source data access tools (Hibernate, OJB, etc)? Or was this description tweaked to only accomodate vendor products?

Best Java Persistence Architecture
Winner: Oracle TopLink, Oracle (
First Runner-up: Kodo JDO, SolarMetric (
Second Runner-up: Describe, Embarcadero Technologies (
Third Runner-up: The Open For Business Project, The Open For Business Project (
Once again, was this category designed to omit almost all the open source options? I’ll buy that TopLink and Kodo belong here, but ofbiz? I’ve looked at it – it’s a set of applications, based on (I think) Castor for persistence. Good project? possibly. But it’s not a “Persistence Architecture”.

Best Java IDE Environment
Winner: JBuilder, Borland (
First Runner-up: Eclipse, (
Second Runner-up: IBM WebSphere Studio v5.0, IBM (
Third Runner-up: IntelliJ IDEA, JetBrains (
No big gripe here, though based on the pulse of the Java community, I’d expect IDEA and Eclipse to outpace the other two.

Best Java Web Services Toolkit
Winner: BEA WebLogic Workshop, BEA Systems (
First Runner-up: IBM WebSphere SDK for Web Services, IBM (
Second Runner-up: Oracle9i JDeveloper, Oracle (
Third Runner-up: Advantage Plex, Computer Associates (
Ever heard of Apache’s Axis? What about Glue? I’ve heard more people rave about Glue than the rest of the “winners” combined. Or were they drinking from the vendor fire hose again?

Most Innovative Java Product
Winner: IntelliJ IDEA, JetBrains (
First Runner-up: Fiorano ESB, Fiorano Software (
Second Runner-up: Eclipse, (
Third Runner-up: WebSphere Application Server Enterprise, IBM (
Innovative, eh? An IDE, the unheard of Fiorano, another IDE, and a J2EE app server. Wow, if that’s innovation…

Best Java Virtual Machine
Winner: BEA WebLogic JRockit, BEA Systems (
First Runner-up: IBM Developer Kit, Java 2 Technology Edition, version 1.4.0, IBM (
Second Runner-up: Oracle JVM, Oracle (
Third Runner-up: Excelsior JET, Excelsior (
So you mean to tell me that Sun’s JVM isn’t even the 4th favorite JVM out there? Or did Sun neglect to pay for placement?

Best Enterprise Database
Winner: Oracle9i Database, Oracle (
First Runner-up: DB2 Universal Database v 8.1, IBM (
Second Runner-up: JDataStore 6, Borland (
Third Runner-up: Advantage Ingres, Computer Associates (
How much did Borland and CA pay to get on this list?

Best Java Profiling/Testing Tool
Winner: JProfiler, ej-technologies (
First Runner-up: Quest JProbe, Quest Software (
Second Runner-up: IBM WebSphere Studio (Application Developer v5.0), IBM (
Third Runner-up: Oracle9i JDeveloper, Oracle (
A couple of IDEs in the mix? Even if they did come in 3rd and 4th, are they truly better for testing/profiling than JUnit, OptimizeIt, or DevPartner?

Best Java Producer Platform
Winner: IBM WebSphere Application Server v5.0, IBM (
First Runner-up: BEA WebLogic Workshop, BEA Systems (”)
Second Runner-up: Sun ONE Web Server, Sun (
Third Runner-up: Compuware OptimalJ,`Compuware (
A producer platform is… what? A J2EE app server, an IDE, or an MDA tool? This category seems to exist as nothing more than a place to repeat vendors’ names. There’s no one category of problem that all of these solve

Best Java Messaging Tool
Winner: Fiorano MQ, Fiorano Software (
First Runner-up: IBM WebSphere MQ 5.3, IBM (
Second Runner-up: SwiftMQ 4.0, IIT Software (
Third Runner-up: Oracle9i Application Server, Oracle (
Ahhh, one last dose of Fiorano. Once again they get the nod of inclusion over several more common players, such as SpiritSoft, OpenJMS…

It’s not that I don’t expect this sort of thing from Gartner, Forester, etc. It’s that I expect better out of a publication that purports to be for the developers. Don’t give me marketing BS, give me straight talk, a real reflection of what Java developers are actually choosing when they’re in the trenches building apps. THAT would be a true “Reader’s Choice”.


6 thoughts on “JDJ Readers are clearly out of touch

  1. There are times when it seems like the blogs on JavaBlogs is a somewhat insular world. Perhaps there are people out there (somewhere) gushing about how Fiorano saved their careers.

    I certainly find it hard to believe that Hibernate is not included in the persistence category. OFBiz does have an “Entity Engine” persistence package, so it is not an unreasonable package to have listed. (JIRA uses OFBiz for persistence, for example.)


  2. It’s possible that the “pulse of the Java community”, by which I assume you mean “people who blog about java”, does not reflect the reality of all 3 million java developers out there. The blogging crowd is very open-source-centric and even within that group of projects they tend to have their favorites.

    That being said, I agree with most of your conclusions 🙂

  3. Kevin is pretty much right on. In the corporate world, most of the products you hear people “rave” (ie blog) about are almost non-starters. Hibernate, Axis, etc. Eclipse is making headway because it’s an IBM thing. Meanwhile, Weblogic is still the app-server du jour (a standing I agree with. BEA has outstanding docs and support. And if you have dumb coders, Workshop can minimize the damage they do). As for Fiorano, I’ve heard of them once or twice. They are not a player as far as I know. I’m thinking they flooded the ballots.

  4. It is a fair question, and one I asked myself when forming my opinion – what am I basing my perceptions of popularity on? Were it purely based on the blog community, I would certainly esteem JRuby, Hibernate, Spring, Groovy, etc. as the be-all-end-all solutions for Java projects. Of that list, all I really use is Hibernate, and I find it flawed but useful, and better than many of its bretheren.

    My sources include the Atlanta Java Users’ Group, the content and attendees at Java-related conferences, skills required in job listings (although by this criteria alone, ATG Dynamo would be a top choice), and discussions with my peers, people I know in the area who work in Java.

    While not a perfect slice of the 3 million Java developers out there, it blends people from a variety of sources, and I think should at least give an indication of the mega-trends in the industry, though perhaps not the nuances.

  5. Here are some comments I made in an email about the sys-con xml journal awards in 2002:

    “I circumvented the awards’ implicit vendor advertising objectives by nominating jEdit and several other open source efforts late in the nominations period. …

    Unfortunately I feel that for *some* categories there is lower correlation between award winners and the overall importance of their technologies/products/sites. The lack of category definitions meant some category titles were ambiguous. Only vendors were [explicity] invited to nominate their products, I was cheeky and got in some nominations for the open source side.

    All that was required to submit a vote was a valid email address. … A large company could just ask all their staff/customers to vote to jump up the rankings. Smaller vendors interested in boosting their placings could have got their marketing departments to spend a morning registering emails and submitting votes.”

  6. I strongly suspect anyone who claims BEA is the best hasn’t used it much. I’ve used it since 2001 and neither the product nor the support are production quality. From stuck threads on database connection hangs leading to denial of service to enormous session loads when using their portlet support, one can assert it is not the best production quality. From Workshop which is the worst performing tool I’ve used in 15 years and takes me back to VAX days in perforance and which is not even on par with Eclipse or VC++ in features for that matter. Ever have a problem with WebLogic? I’ve had several across two large projects. BEA never helped solve the problems. On the latest, we even had three BEA consultants working on site full-time!

    Not only are JDJ readers clearly out of touch with real SW dev, many other bloggers on this thread are as well.

    Good software requires good developers. The UNIX design requirement of KISS allows good developers to write good software. Bloatware and layers of spaghetti require enormous effort to produce a reliable product. This is why the WebLogic projects cost in the 10’s of millions. From what I understand, the same story for WebSphere.

    BEA is a middle of the road company with a middle of the road product. They may improve but with the Spring Framework and other better design architecture, they probably are history. Certainly they are history for any project I architect.

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