In-Depth

2010 Readers Choice Awards

Every year, Visual Studio Magazine turns to its readers to recognize the most highly regarded and valued third-party tools in the Visual Studio and Microsoft .NET Framework development space. This year's VSM Readers Choice Awards span 29 categories, including new component categories and additional categories in the area of team development, lifecycle management and data handling.

The Readers Choice Awards are based on the hard-won expertise and insight of Visual Studio Magazine subscribers. Every year, we invite a select subset of readers to fill out survey ballots and identify the top products across specific tooling categories. The process eliminates ballot stuffing and ensures that the Awards reflect the opinion of VSM readers, who are among the most demanding and knowledgeable developers on the planet. We also recognize four Editors Choice Award winners, based on input from an expert panel of VSM columnists and survey respondents, who are challenged to name one product in each category that they value above all others.

There were some big winners in this year's Readers Choice Awards, most notably Developer Express Inc., which enjoyed success both in the component and several non-component categories. Established and respected component makers like ComponentOne LLC, Infragistics and Telerik earned multiple Readers Choice or Merit Awards. And JetBrains once again excelled in the high-profile General Development Tool category and hauled in an Editors Choice Award.

We compiled more than 400 total developer products for our annual Buyers Guide, and provide extended coverage of key technologies and advances that will impact developer tools in the years to come.


Editors Choice Awards

Last year we asked a panel of experts to help us select and rate the products they valued most. We combined their findings with input from readers, who we asked to name the one developer tool they valued over all others. We've repeated the process this year, and here's what we found:

Most Valuable Developer Tool: JetBrains ReSharper
For the second year, JetBrains ReSharper earned top honors as the Most Valuable Developer Tool, dominating both our reader and panelist polling. Panelist and VSM Tools Editor Peter Vogel perhaps said it best: "I think I could write code without ReSharper—but I'm not sure anymore."

Standout Component Vendor: Telerik
Almost to a man, our panelists enthused about Telerik's component quality, service and rapid updates. As VSM columnist Mickey Gousset noted: "I've never gone wrong using a Telerik control." Our readers agreed, overwhelmingly naming Telerik tops among all component vendors.

Most Valuable Web or Mobile Dev Tool: Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe Dreamweaver won this category in 2009, but this year voters went big picture and elevated the entire Adobe Creative Suite as the Most Valuable Web or Mobile Dev Tool.

Data Handling and Development: Red Gate Software SQL Tools
Our panelists split their votes among multiple products, but our readers couldn't have been clearer. When we asked them to name one data-centric tool that mattered to them above all others, the Red Gate Software suite of SQL tools again came out on top.

—M.D.

Component Suite: Desktop
Readers Choice Award Winner
NetAdvantage for .NET: Windows Client - Infragistics
Starts at $995
www.infragistics.com
800-231-8588; 609-448-2000
Make no mistake, .NET component suites are a big business. When it comes to components for rich client applications for the desktop, the venerable Infragistics NetAdvantage for .NET Win Client suite gets the nod as the most highly regarded offering. Developer Express DXperience Enterprise also earned wide praise as a Merit Award winner, followed by Telerik RadControls for WPF.


Merit Award Winners
DevExpress DXperience Enterprise - Developer Express Inc.
$1,299.99 individual license
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839

RadControls for WPF - Telerik
$799
www.telerik.com
888-365-2779


Component Suite: Web
Readers Choice Award Winner (Tie)
DevExpress DXperience Universal - Developer Express Inc.
Check for pricing
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839

NetAdvantage for .NET: Web Client - Infragistics
Starts at $995
www.infragistics.com
800-231-8588; 609-448-2000
Web development continues to grow in importance, and based on the tight voting in this category, it seems developers are considering all their tooling options. In fact, Developer Express DXperience Universal and Infragistics NetAdvantage for .NET: Web Client tied for the Readers Choice Award in this category. Remarkably, Telerik RadControls for ASP.NET and AJAX was not far behind the two leaders, earning Telerik its second Merit Award.


Merit Award Winners
RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX - Telerik
$799
www.telerik.com
888-365-2779


Grid and Spreadsheet Components
Readers Choice Award Winner
NetAdvantage for Silverlight Data Visualization - Infragistics
Starts at $995
www.infragistics.com
800-231-8588; 609-448-2000
The first thing developers often look for in a new framework is a competent grid control, and component vendors have been filling that need for years. So it's fitting that a control for the fast-evolving Microsoft Silverlight framework—Infragistics NetAdvantage for Silverlight Data Visualization—should earn top honors here.


Merit Award Winners
DevExpress XtraGrid Suite - Developer Express Inc.
$299.99 individual license
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839

ComponentOne FlexGrid – ComponentOne LLC
Check for price
www.componentone.com
800-858-2739; 412-681-4343


Chart, Gauge, Graph and Flow Components
Readers Choice Award Winner
DevExpress XtraCharts Suite - Developer Express Inc.
$249.99 individual license
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839
If you need to produce professional-looking visualizations in your applications, .NET component suites that provide chart, gauge, graph and other controls are an outstanding option. DevExpress XtraCharts Suite earned top honors in our survey, but the two Merit Award winning products from Infragistics and ComponentOne weren't far behind.


Merit Award Winners
NetAdvantage for WPF Data Visualization - Infragistics
Starts at $995
www.infragistics.com
800-231-8588; 609-448-2000

ComponentOne Charts – ComponentOne LLC
Check for price
www.componentone.com
800-858-2739; 412-681-4343


Imaging, Image Processing and Drawing Components
Readers Choice Award Winner
Leadtools Imaging Pro SDK - LEAD Technologies Inc.
$995
www.leadtools.com
800-637-4699
LEAD Technologies is a company tightly focused on providing top-flight imaging controls—and it shows. Leadtools Imaging Pro SDK and Document Imaging SDK again took Readers Choice and Merit Award honors, respectively, in our voting. In fact, Leadtools has run away with the imaging component category in our awards for three straight years.


Merit Award Winners
Leadtools Document Imaging SDK - LEAD Technologies
$2,495
www.leadtools.com
800-637-4699

ImageGear for .NET - Accusoft Pegasus
Starts at $2,999
www.accusoft.com
800-875-7009

Mapping/GIS Components
Readers Choice Award Winner
ArcGIS API for Microsoft Silverlight API - Esri
Check for price
www.esri.com
800-447-9778
This year we recognize mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) as a component category in our awards. Esri ArcGIS API for Microsoft Silverlight API emerged as the first Readers Choice Award Winner in the category, joined by Scientific Component GPS ToolKit.NET and ComponentOne Maps as Merit Award winners.


Merit Award Winners
GPS ToolKit.NET - Scientific Component
$299
www.scientificcomponent.com
800-840-5991; 267-448-4929

ComponentOne Maps – ComponentOne LLC
Check for price
www.componentone.com
800-858-2739; 412-681-4343


Text, OCR, Scanning and Barcode Components
Readers Choice Award Winner
DevExpress Rich Text Editor - Developer Express Inc.
Check for pricing
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839
The 2010 Readers Choice Awards reflect the richness and diversity of the .NET component space, and the addition of a category for Text, OCR, Scanning and Barcode is a case in point. DevExpress Rich Text Editor produced more votes than any other product to garner a Readers Choice Award. Leadtools Document Imaging Suite SDK and Accusoft Pegasus Barcode Xpress emerged as Merit Award winners.


Merit Award Winners
Leadtools Document Imaging Suite SDK - LEAD Technologies
$4,995
www.leadtools.com
800-637-4699

Barcode Xpress - Accusoft Pegasus
Starts at $1,399
www.accusoft.com
800-875-7009


UI, Toolbar, Menu and Ribbon Components
Readers Choice Award Winner
DevExpress XtraBars Suite - Developer Express Inc.
$219.99 individual license
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839
Developers often turn to component suites to enable rich UIs and application controls, such as those inspired by the Microsoft Fluent UI, based on the Office Ribbon interface. In a crowded market loaded with alternatives, DevExpress XtraBars Suite stood alone in our survey, finishing well ahead of Merit Award winners ComponentOne Menus and Toolbars and Janus UI Controls for .NET.


Merit Award Winners
ComponentOne Menus and Toolbars - ComponentOne
Check for price
www.componentone.com
800-858-2739; 412-681-4343

Janus UI Controls for .NET - Janus Systems
Starts at $449
www.janusys.com/controls
888-850-9911; 770-250-6100


Software Design, Frameworks and Modeling Tools
Readers Choice Award Winner
DevExpress eXpressApp Framework - Developer Express Inc.
$1,999.99 individual license
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839
In case you haven't noticed, Developer Express is on something of a roll. The company's eXpressApp Framework (XAF) streamlines ASP.NET and Windows Forms development, and earned the most votes in the Software Design, Frameworks and Modeling Tools category. Last year's winner, IBM Rational Rose Developer for Visual Studio, earned a Merit Award, as did Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.


Merit Award Winners
Enterprise Architect - Sparx Systems Pty Ltd.
$199 for Professional Edition
www.sparxsystems.com
+61-3-53-451140

Rational Rose Developer for Visual Studio - IBM Rational Software
Check for price
www-01.ibm.com/software/rational
800-426-4968


Performance, Profiling and Debugging Tools
Readers Choice Award Winner
ANTS Performance Profiler Pro - Red Gate Software Ltd.
$595 per user
www.red-gate.com
866-997-0381; +44-1223-437-908
Red Gate Software continues to rule the roost in the arena of Performance, Profiling and Debugging Tools, earning a Readers Choice Award for the third straight year with ANTS Performance Profiler Pro. JetBrains, best known for its ReSharper productivity tool, earned a Merit Award for dotTrace, while GoDaddy.com Inc., best known for its Web hosting services, earned a Merit Award for its Website Protection Site Scanner offering.


Merit Award Winners
dotTrace - JetBrains
$199
www.jetbrains.com
888-672-1076; +420-241-722-501

Website Protection Site Scanner - GoDaddy.com Inc.
$9.99 per month
www.GoDaddy.com
480-505-8877; 866-463-2339

General Development Tools
Readers Choice Award Winner
ReSharper - JetBrains
$149
www.jetbrains.com
888-672-1076; +420-241-722-501
The General Development Tools category is the most prestigious and competitive category in the VSM Readers Choice Awards, and for the second straight year, JetBrains ReSharper is the top vote-getter. The powerful JetBrains refactoring and productivity tool edged out Developer Express CodeRush, itself a back-to-back Merit Award winner.


Merit Award Winners
DevExpress CodeRush - Developer Express Inc.
$249.99 individual license
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839

CodeSmith Professional 5.1 - CodeSmith Tools
$299
www.codesmithtools.com
214-299-8120; 800-719-3309


Collaboration, Project Management and Agile Solutions
Readers Choice Award Winner
Quince Pro - Infragistics
Check for price
www.infragistics.com
800-231-8588; 609-448-2000
Like Developer Express, Infragistics has branched out beyond component tooling. The Quince Pro UX design library and resource is a relatively new product, but that didn't stop it from earning a Readers Choice Award in the new Collaboration, Project Management and Agile Solutions category. JetBrains TeamCity and AxoSoft OnTime 2010 earned Merit Awards.

Merit Award Winners

TeamCity - JetBrains
Starts at $1,999
www.jetbrains.com
888-672-1076; +420-241-722-501

OnTime 2010 - Axosoft LLC
$395 for 5 users
www.axosoft.com
800-653-0024; 480-362-1900


Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), Software Configuration Management (SCM) and Requirements Management
Readers Choice Award Winner
IBM Rational ClearCase - IBM Rational Software
Check for Price
www.ibm.com/rational
888-426-3774
The IBM Rational ClearCase SCM tool outpaced the Telerik TeamPulse Agile project-management solution to earn a Readers Choice Award in the new ALM, SCM and Requirements Management category. Perforce Software Configuration Management System and SourceGear Fortress tied for third place in our voting—behind Telerik TeamPulse—to gain Merit Award recognition.


Merit Award Winners
TeamPulse - Telerik
$249
www.telerik.com
888-365-2779
Perforce Software Configuration Management System - Perforce
Check for Price
www.perforce.com
510-864-7400; +44-0845-345-0116

Fortress - SourceGear LLC
Starts at $299
www.sourcegear.com/fortress
217-356-0105 x680


Bug, Defect and Feature Tracking
Readers Choice Award Winner
IBM Rational ClearQuest - IBM Rational Software
Check for price
www.ibm.com/rational
888-426-3774
For the third year running, IBM Rational ClearQuest won the VSM Readers Choice Award in the Bug, Defect and Feature Tracking category. Fog Creek Software FogBugz also returned as a Merit Award winner from last year. Seapine Software TestTrack Pro emerged as a Merit Award winner as well.


Merit Award Winners
FogBugz - Fog Creek Software Inc.
Starts at $999
www.fogcreek.com
866-364-2733; 212-279-2335

TestTrack Pro - Seapine Software Inc.
Check for price
www.seapine.com
888-683-6456; 513-754-1655


Quality Assurance and Test
Readers Choice Award Winner
WebUI Test Studio - Telerik
$1,499 per machine license
www.telerik.com
1-888-365-2779
Split out from last year's Performance, Profiling, Testing and Debugging Tools category, the new Quality Assurance and Test category honors WebUI Test Studio from Telerik as the VSM Readers Choice Award Winner. Parasoft .TEST and NCover each won Merit Award distinction in our voting.


Merit Award Winners
Parasoft .TEST - Parasoft
Check for price
www.parasoft.com
888-305-0041

NCover - NCover
Check for price
www.ncover.com
866-994-6676

FTP, E-Mail and Network Connectivity
Readers Choice Award Winner
Go Daddy Email - GoDaddy.com Inc.
$1.19 per month
www.GoDaddy.com
480-505-8877; 866-463-2339
First-time candidate GoDaddy Email upended last year's winner, Xceed FTP for .NET, in the FTP, E-Mail and Network Connectivity category to earn a VSM Readers Choice Award nod. Last year's Merit Award winner, /n software IP*Works!, also returned to earn a second consecutive Merit Award this year.


Merit Award Winners
Xceed FTP for .NET- Xceed Software Inc.
$299.95
http://xceed.com
800-865-2626; 450-442-2626

IP*Works! - /n software Inc.
$399
www.nsoftware.com
800-225-4190; 919-544-7070


Data Reporting, Analysis and Visualization
Readers Choice Award Winner
DevExpress XtraReports Suite - Developer Express
$499.99 individual license
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839
The DevExpress train keeps rolling, this time with a Readers Choice Award in the hotly competitive Data Reporting, Analysis and Visualization category for its DevExpress XtraReports Suite product. SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports, a two-time winner of the category in 2008 and 2009, earned a Merit Award this year, alongside Telerik Reporting.

Merit Award Winners

SAP Crystal Reports - SAP BusinessObjects
$495
www.sap.com
888-333-6007

Telerik Reporting - Telerik
$399 per developer
www.telerik.com
888-365-2779


Databases and Data Development and Modeling
Readers Choice Award Winner
SQL Source Control - Red Gate Software Ltd.
$295 per user
www.red-gate.com
866-997-0381; +44-1223-437-908
The new Databases and Data Development and Modeling category reflects the increasing challenges .NET developers face when trying to corral and leverage vast stores of data. Red Gate Software earned an Editors Choice Award last year for its SQL tooling, and its SQL Source Control product continued that trend this year. SQL Source Control outpaced DevExpress eXpress Persistent Objects and CA ERwin Data Modeler by a wide margin to earn top billing.


Merit Award Winners
DevExpress eXpress Persistent Objects - Developer Express Inc.
$199.99
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839

CA ERwin Data Modeler - CA Inc.
$4,794
www.erwin.com
800-225-5224


SharePoint Components and Tooling
Readers Choice Award Winner
DevExpress DXperience ASP.NET Edition - Developer Express Inc.
Check for price
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839
Last year was the first time VSM recognized SharePoint-specific tooling, and it's clear that voters continue to evaluate the available tools in this arena. This year's winner, DevExpress DXperience ASP.NET Edition, finished ahead of Quest Web Parts for SharePoint and last year's winner ComponentOne Studio for SharePoint. The Readers Choice Award in this category is the seventh, and final, award for Developer Express in this year's survey.


Merit Award Winners
Quest Web Parts for SharePoint - Quest Software Inc.
Check for price
www.quest.com
800-306-9329; 949-754-8000

ComponentOne Studio for SharePoint – ComponentOne LLC
$1,300 subscription per developer
www.componentone.com
800-858-2739; 412-681-4343


PDF and Print/Preview Components and Tools
Readers Choice Award Winner (Tie)
activePDF Toolkit - activePDF
Starts at $499
www.activepdf.com
866-468-6733; 949-582-9002

ComponentOne PDF for .NET - ComponentOne LLC
Check for price
www.componentone.com
800-858-2739; 412-681-4343
Two years ago, activePDF Toolkit earned top billing in the PDF Tools category, and the product retook the top spot this year in the expanded PDF and Print/Preview Components and Tools category. ComponentOne PDF for .NET shares the spotlight, tying activePDF Toolkit for most votes in the category. DevExpress XtraPrinting Library earned a Merit Award in tight voting.


Merit Award Winner
DevExpress XtraPrinting Library - Developer Express Inc.
Check for price
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839

Mobile Development Tools and Frameworks
Readers Choice Award Winner (Tie)
ComponentOne Studio for Mobile- ComponentOne LLC
$800 subscription per developer
www.componentone.com
800-858-2739; 412-681-4343

Readers Choice Award Winner
(Tie)
Leadtools Mobile Imaging SDK - LEAD Technologies Inc.
$595
www.leadtools.com
800-637-4699
The Mobile Development Tools and Frameworks category features a lot of familiar faces, as all three winning entries from last year returned in 2010. ComponentOne Studio for Mobile and Leadtools Mobile Imaging SDK share top honors, as they finished in a dead heat in our reader survey.

Merit Award Winner
Resco MobileForms Toolkit – Resco sro
Starts at $799.95
www.resco.net
+421-2-2090-2019


Middleware, SOA and Server-Based Tools
Readers Choice Award Winner
SAP Crystal Reports Server - SAP BusinessObjects
$2,495
www.sap.com
888-333-6007
Once again, last year's champion returns triumphant, as SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports Server earned the Readers Choice Award in Middleware, SOA and Server-Based Tools for the third consecutive year.


Merit Award Winners
Apollo 7 - Vista Software
Starts at $129
www.vistasoftware.com
None

JNBridge Pro - JNBridge LLC
Check for price
www.jnbridge.com
303-545-9371


Web Design and Development Tools
Readers Choice Award Winner (Tie)
Adobe Dreamweaver - Adobe Systems Inc.
$399
www.adobe.com
877-822-3623

Sitefinity ASP.NET CMS - Telerik
Starts at $899
www.telerik.com
888-365-2779
Web design and development continues to be a hot topic and the voting in this year's survey reflects that. Adobe Dreamweaver once again topped all comers, earning a Readers Choice Award in the Web Design and Development Tools category, though the voting this year was much closer than last year.


Merit Award Winner
DotNetNuke Professional Edition - DotNetNuke Corp.
Check for price
www.dotnetnuke.com
650-288-3150


Silverlight and Rich Internet Application (RIA) Development
Readers Choice Award Winner
RadControls for Silverlight - Telerik
$799
www.telerik.com
888-365-2779
A new category this year, Silverlight and RIA Development reflects the changing nature of Web and desktop programming, and also reveals the dominance of major component makers. Telerik RadControls for Silverlight emerged as the favorite among VSM readers, drawing nearly one-third of all votes.


Merit Award Winners
DevExpress DXperience Silverlight Edition - Developer Express Inc.
Check for price
www.devexpress.com
888-463-3839

ComponentOne Studio for Silverlight – ComponentOne LLC
$800 subscription per developer
www.componentone.com
800-858-2739; 412-681-4343


Security and Copy Protection
Readers Choice Award Winner
Code Signing Certificates - GoDaddy.com Inc.
$199.99 per year
www.GoDaddy.com
480-505-8877; 866-463-2339
In a close vote, GoDaddy Code Signing Certificates outpaced the Red Gate Software SmartAssembly code obfuscation and error reporting tool for top honors in the Security and Copy Protection category.


Merit Award Winners
SmartAssembly - Red Gate Software Ltd.
$795 per user
www.red-gate.com
866-997-0381; +44-1223-437-908

Desaware Licensing System – Desaware Inc.
$495 Single Application Edition, $1,495 Standard
http://desaware.com
408-404-4760


Installation, Setup and Deployment Tools
Readers Choice Award Winner
InstallShield - Flexera Software Inc.
$3,999 Premiere Edition License
www.flexerasoftware.com
800-809-5659; +44-0870-873-6300
The names may change but the results stay the same. Flexera Software InstallShield earned a Readers Choice Award in the Installation, Setup and Deployment Tools category for the third straight year—despite the company changing its name from Acresso to Flexera in October 2009. Sytmantec Wise Package Studio, a Merit Award winner last year, finished a close second to InstallShield in our voting.


Merit Award Winners
Wise Package Studio – Symantec Corp.
Check for price
www.symantec.com
734-456-2100

InstallAware Developer – InstallAware Marketing Corp.
$599
www.installaware.com
808-447-5817

Help Authoring
Readers Choice Award Winner
RoboHelp - Adobe Systems Inc.
$999
www.adobe.com
800-585-0774
When our readers look to produce help, they look to Adobe Systems RoboHelp. This year 40 percent of survey respondents tabbed RoboHelp, making it a three-time Readers Choice Award Winner in the Help Authoring category. The two Merit Award winners in the category also earned merit distinction in last year's survey.


Merit Award Winners
Doc-To-Help – ComponentOne LLC
$1,000 subscription per developer
www.componentone.com
800-858-2739; 412-681-4343

HelpStudio – Innovasys Ltd.
$450 single license
www.innovasys.com
+44-844-884-2673


Training and Education (Online, Disk-Based or Instructor-Led)
Readers Choice Award Winner
AppDev Products LLC
www.appdev.com
800-578-2062; 952-943-1363
The rich get richer, as training firm AppDev once again dominated the voting in our Training and Education category. Also returning as a Merit Award winner this year is New Horizons.


Merit Award Winners
New Horizons Worldwide Inc.
www.newhorizons.com
484-567-3000

Learning Tree International
www.learningtree.com
888-843-8733; 703-709-9019


Web Hosting
Readers Choice Award Winner
GoDaddy.com Inc.
Starts at $4.99 per month
www.GoDaddy.com
480-505-8877; 866-463-2339
Maybe Danica Patrick is onto something, because in the world of Web Hosting in our survey, there's GoDaddy, and then there's everyone else. GoDaddy drew nearly 40 percent of all votes and once again more than doubled the vote tally of the next-closest competitor. DiscountASP.NET and 1&1 Internet Ltd. also returned as Merit Award winners in 2010.


Merit Award Winners
DiscountASP.NET
www.discountasp.net
626-628-3430

1&1 Internet Ltd.
https://order.1and1.co.uk
0871-641-21-21

comments powered by Disqus
Upcoming Events

.NET Insight

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.