In Tools, IBM Leads But Microsoft No Longer Trails Far Behind - InformationWeek

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8/8/2006
09:43 PM
Charles Babcock
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In Tools, IBM Leads But Microsoft No Longer Trails Far Behind

IBM is boasting that its Rational IDE won the highest marks in a recent Evans Data survey. But Microsoft's Visual Studio.Net was No. 2. As a matter of fact, Visual Studio was nipping at the heels of Rational, and it's got a lot more users than Rational does.

IBM is boasting that its Rational IDE won the highest marks in a recent Evans Data survey. But Microsoft's Visual Studio.Net was No. 2. As a matter of fact, Visual Studio was nipping at the heels of Rational, and it's got a lot more users than Rational does.So the same scorecard prompts some pretty loud huzzahs from the Microsoft camp.

Evans Data runs an annual survey of 1,200 programmers, called the IDE Scorecard, and IBM came out on top for the second year in a row. But IBM's Rational App Developer used to have a wide lead in application modeling and Web design features. Visual Studio.Net is closing the gap and is ranked by users as only slightly lower than Rational on those and 14 other features.

IBM's Rational "received the highest ratings for Modeling and Design Tools, Documentation, the Make/Build function and the Quality of Tech Support options," said the Evans Data report on the Scorecard survey, citing five features on which the tools were judged.

"Microsoft's Visual Studio.Net got very close to the same rankings as IBM's product and had consistently good marks from developers in virtually all the categories," the Scorecard report also noted. The quality-of-tool rankings, as measured by the Scorecard, were 1,386 for Rational App Developer and 1,310 for Visual Studio.Net.

Microsoft has always dominated tools for Windows, but there used to be a gulf between the tools that Windows developers used versus those employed by serious enterprise developers. Microsoft is so strong in tools that it's made that gap disappear over the last 10 years.

Borland's Delphi was third at 1,302. Other IDEs surveyed weren't listed publicly with a combined total score, as measured by Evans Data. If you want to find out how your IDE did, and it's not one of those three, then you have to pay for a report.

But overall, Sun's Java Studio was ranked fourth and Oracle's JDeveloper was fifth.

Macromedia Studio 8, an IDE now owned by Adobe Systems, came in eighth, behind Borland JBuilder, sixth, and IBM WebSphere Studio, seventh. Rounding out the top 10 were Sybase's PowerBuilder, ninth, and Sun's Netbeans, 10th.

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