Each year, the editors and reviewers of the InfoWorld Test Center gather to look over the list of products that earned the highest marks in stand-alone reviews or came in first in multiproduct shoot-outs. We then determine which ones were particularly praiseworthy and present the very best with Technology of the Year awards. These awards inherently reflect the changes in technology that have occurred during the past year and serve to highlight emerging trends.
Stories by Andrew Binstock
With virtualization's popularity soaring, it was predictable that hardware vendors would eventually bring to market specialized servers that cater to the needs of virtual machines. The market leader in this category is Dell, which currently offers three models of virtualization-optimized systems: the entry-level R805 server, and the larger R900 and R905 servers. Although these systems make perfectly good generic servers for all standard IT uses, they have specific features that endear them to virtualization users.
The agile revolution that began in software development in the 1990s has been inexorably making its way into mainstream IT organizations. Today, one of the most adopted agile practices is unit testing, where developers write hundreds of small tests for exercising their own code. Although the benefits of unit testing are widely recognized, there's growing evidence that unit testing might have reached its high-water mark and be entering a period of stagnation or even decline.
There was a time when workstations occupied a highly competitive niche in the hardware market. In those days, some 10 years ago, companies such as Sun Microsystems, SGI, IBM, HP, and Dell competed fiercely to deliver the top desktop systems characterized by powerful graphics and processing engines. An added element to this competition was the vendors' reliance on vastly different processor architectures to deliver the knockout performance. A decade later, the market segment is significantly different.
IT's rise to prominence as a core competence that delivers competitive advantage has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the number of software development projects it must complete. Well aware of the hidden costs of unfulfilled tasks, enterprise IT managers are fast shedding their prejudices against dynamic languages in search of a quick way to cut down the backlog.
The world of Java depends on two established GUI toolkits: Swing and SWT (standard widget toolkit). Both software packages provide the widgets, controls, menus, and user interface components in most Java applications today. Swing, which Sun bundles with Java, first shipped with Java 1.2 in 1998. SWT, developed by IBM, must be downloaded separately. Its most famous application is the Eclipse development environment.