Throughout the year, in SQL Server Magazine's New Products section, Vendor Briefs, Buyer's Guides, Market Watch features, and product reviews, we put you in touch with vendors who provide database products and services.This year, we took a look at the products we've covered and realized that a few of these vendors and products truly stand out. To recognize these exceptional vendors, the editors and writers of SQL Server Magazine created the first annual Editors' Choice Awards.
To conduct the Editors' Choice Awards, we first divided the products we've covered since January 2005 into 16 product categories. Then, the editors and writers of SQL Server Magazine chose platinum and gold winners in each category based on the product's strategic importance to the market, its competitive advantages, and value to the customer. These vendors produce superior products that solve specific database problems, make your businesses more productive, save you money, help you grow your company and look to the future—and might even help you go home earlier.
AVIcode Intercept Studio
The platinum winner of SQL Server Magazine's 2006 Editors' Choice award for Application Development tools is AVIcode Intercept Studio, an application-monitoring tool that can help you diagnose application exceptions and application performance bottlenecks. Intercept Studio doesn't require any changes to your application's source code. Instead, you simply load the Intercept Studio agent onto the server hosting your ASP.NET applications. AVIcode's exception monitoring lets you see the call stack of the application at the time of failure along with variable values from the failed module. For further diagnosis, you can drill through to the source code. Tight integration with Visual Studio lets you open the problem source module in the Visual Studio IDE. For performance monitoring, Intercept Studio lets you set user-defined thresholds to monitor the response time of crucial application components. The product comes with a set of six basic prepackaged reports, including a Critical Exceptions and Critical Performance Hotspots report, which lists the most frequent application exception and performance-problem areas. Contact AVIcode at 443-543-0030 or http://www.avicode.com/productsinterceptstudio overview.htm.
MicroFour StrataFrame Application Framework
The gold winner in the Application Development category is MicroFour StrataFrame Application Framework, a layered application framework written for .NET 2.0 and designed for SQL Server, Oracle, and OLE DB. StrataFrame works with any .NET language and is completely integrated with theVisual Studio IDE. The StrataFrame Application Framework is an application class library that promotes simplicity, scalability, maintainability, and code reuse in three layers: a Data Access Layer, a Business Layer, and a Presentation Layer. By providing the overall application design and class libraries, the product eliminates the effort of creating a multi-layered application. For example, StrataFrame's data-access class library handles all data access and data binding for the developer. The only thing the developer needs to code is the UI and custom business logic. Although StrataFrame performs many common developer tasks, developers can also customize tasks to extend the scope of the application framework. And hooks into the framework let the developer interact with events and dataflow sequences. Contact MicroFour at 866-491-6162, 806-463-7007, or http://www.strataframe.net.
Backup and Remote/Disaster Recovery
Quest Software LiteSpeed for SQL Server
The platinum winner for Backup and Recovery tools is Quest Software's LiteSpeed for SQL Server, software that provides high-performance, low-impact data compression to reduce storage costs and backup-and-recovery windows by compressing data up to 95 percent. LiteSpeed gives DBAs complete control over the backup-and-recovery process with features such as Object Level Recovery, which lets you restore individual database objects and encapsulates a complete database restore into a single file.You can also perform a full database restore to a different server, eliminating the time needed to install new software. LiteSpeed can restore a single backup of data and attached files, eliminating the need to complete two separate database restores. Additional features include the ability to attach files to your backup to document your archives.With the Enterprise Command Level Interface (CLI), you can use LiteSpeed's command-line and query-scripting capabilities to integrate with an existing enterprise backup solution. Lite-Speed's layered encryption feature guards your data from unauthorized users. And the product supports all SQL Server 2005 backup-and-restore features. Contact Quest Software at 949-754-8000 or http://www.quest.com/litespeed_for_sql_server.
Sonasoft SonaSafe for SQL Server
The gold winner in the Backup and Recovery category is Sonasoft's SonaSafe for SQL Server, software that provides automated backup, point-of-failure or point-in-time recovery, and intelligent standby functionality. Users can back up and recover a single database, multiple databases, a single SQL Server instance, or an entire server through a point-and-click interface. SonaSafe provides templates for developing automated standby plans, and the software supports one-to-one, many-to-one, and one-to-many standby scenarios. SonaSafe has built-in network resilience that assures safe data transfer. Key features include the ability to recover from anywhere; compression; a Web-based interface; an automated, policy-based purging functionality; the ability to manage multiple servers through a management console; and excellent diagnostic capability. If the primary server fails, the standby server can take over instantly.The software supports local and remote recovery, safeguarding against geographic disasters and faults. Only changed information is transmitted during synchronization to minimize network traffic and provide more efficient storage. SonaSafe supports SQL Server 2000 and 7.0. Contact Sonasoft at 408-927-6200 or http://www.sonasoft.com.
The platinum winner in the Business Intelligence category is ProClarity Analytics, a complete analytics platform that lets you query Analysis Services data and presents results in dashboard and scorecard formats for business-performance monitoring and analysis. Early this year, ProClarity announced ProClarity Analytics 6.1 add-ons, including ProClarity for Business Scorecard Manager, which lets you investigate the key performance indicators (KPIs) in Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager; ProClarity for Reporting Services, which lets you create Reporting Services reports without opening Visual Studio; ProClarity for SharePoint Portal Server, which displays ProClarity analytic views within a Microsoft SharePoint Portal System; and ProClarity Publishing Server, which lets you create PDF and HTML documents that include ProClarity analytic views and author commentary. Shortly after the release of these add-ons,Microsoft announced its purchase of ProClarity. Microsoft plans to integrate ProClarity as the analytics component of Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, the software giant's comprehensive BI solution, scheduled for release late next year. Contact ProClarity at 208-344-1630 or http://www.proclarity.com.
The gold winner in the Business Intelligence category, Panorama, also has a close working relationship with Microsoft. At the same time, the company provides a BI platform that it hopes gives customers a reason to look beyond Microsoft tools. Oudi Antebi, Panorama vice president of marketing and strategy, explains that Microsoft's foray into the BI arena "is very application focused.You look at data in one app, your scorecard is in another app, \[and\] reporting is in another app.All those environments might connect to the same cube, but all have separate metadata and require separate configuration." Panorama NovaView 5, one of the key components of the company's BI platform meets a company's BI needs through a single UI. In addition, the product offers integration with Microsoft Office, real-time updates and collaboration, and "guided analytics," an interactive environment that helps users intelligently select the information they need. The Panorama 4.5 suite of products includes NovaView Dashboards, NovaView Analytics, NovaView Reporting, and NovaView Scorecards. Contact Panorama at 201-804-0144 or http://www.panorama.com.
Sybase PowerDesigner 12
The platinum winner for Database Design tools stands alone in this category. PowerDesigner 12 by Sybase supports conceptual, physical, and logical data models in addition to application and business-process modeling. In addition to standard modeling languages such as IDEF, PowerDesigner supports XML-specific modeling techniques linked to UML and data models. By using the product's metadata repository, an organization can store, manage, and maintain versions of PowerDesigner models and all other documents in a single location and analyze the upstream and downstream affects of model changes. This analysis capability can help you see the affect of changes before they are made to production databases. The common repository lets you store and maintain cross-model dependencies and supports the reuse of objects across all models and projects. Multiple modelers can work on the same model at the same time, but you can also limit access and visibility to model objects by using role-based security that defines users and permissions within the tool. In addition, you choose the relational database that will host PowerDesigner's Enterprise Repository, so the repository is highly scalable and open.This repository supports version control, configuration management, delta reports between models and versions, and comprehensive search capabilities across the repository.The enterprise edition of PowerDesigner 12 includes the T-SQL commands for opening and closing a database as part of code-generation and incorporates changes to the catalog for proper reverse engineering. PowerDesigner's UML modeling supports forward and reverse engineering ofVisual Basic .NET andVisual C# .NET. Contact Sybase at 800-792-2735, 925-236-5100, or http://www.sybase.com.
Quest Software SQL Turbo
The platinum award in the Database Development tools category goes to Quest Software's SQL Turbo, a product that can dramatically increase the speed of SQL Server's full text retrieval by using the IMCEDA Search Engine.The search engine is a thin application layer that sits on top of the SQL Server database and uses SQL Server's database components. The low overhead of this database-indexing approach contributes to SQL Turbo's processing speed. SQL Turbo is designed to achieve high performance for database text retrieval and in certain cases can retrieve results more than 100 times faster than SQL Server's Full-Text Catalog.You can launch SQL Turbo from within Enterprise Manager or SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). SQL Turbo is fully integrated with SQL Server, and you can use stored procedures to access the tool, so SQL developers can easily use SQL Turbo from SQL batches or other stored procedures.The product uses indexes generated from the SQL Server database to search for information. Search query results are returned as a normal database record set exactly as if you were executing a standard SQL query. Contact Quest Software at 949-754-8000 or http://www.quest.com/sql_turbo.
The gold winner in the Database Development category is ApexSQL Edit, a development tool especially designed for SQL Server developers.The ApexSQL Edit IDE provides many advanced SQL database-development features including SQL Intellisense, formatting, and data editing. In addition, the product provides support for SQL Server 2005, centralized mapping, Object Explorer, code snippets, and object notes. For source control, ApexSQL Edit is integrated with Microsoft Visual SourceSafe. ApexSQL Edit also includes a results pane that lets you group and filter results and gives you the ability to provide automatic filtering with drop-down selections. These features are designed to save developers' time and produce higher quality code. A trial version of the software is available. Contact ApexSQL at 866-665-5500, 919-968-8452, or http://www.apexsql.com.
Red Gate SQL Bundle Pro
The platinum award for Database Management software goes to Red Gate SQL Bundle Pro (formerly SQL Bundle Developer Edition). This collection of essential database-management tools provides DBAs with an array of SQL Server management functions that aren't part of the built-in management tools for SQL Server 2005 or 2000. SQL Bundle Pro contains Red Gate's SQL Compare Pro, SQL Data Compare Pro, SQL Packager Pro, SQL Toolkit, and DTS Package Compare products. SQL Compare compares and optionally synchronizes the data between two databases. SQL Data Compare performs the same comparison for the data in a database. DTS Package identifies differences in DTS packages.The SQL Toolkit provides an API for the different Red Gate comparison products.And SQL Packager Pro lets you create database-installation packages. Contact Red Gate at 866-733-4283, (44) (0) 870-160-0037, or http://www.red-gate.com.
We had a tie for the gold winner in the Database Management category. One of our gold winners in the category is InterCerve sqlSentry, software that tackles the problem of scheduling jobs on SQL Server 2005 and 2000. sqlSentry goes beyond the capabilities of SQL Server's built-in SQL Agent.The product can schedule jobs across multiple SQL Server systems, and its agentless architecture makes it easy to deploy throughout an organization. sqlSentry provides user-friendly job scheduling, giving you an Outlook-style calendar view of a server's job schedule.In addition to job scheduling,sqlSentry provides flexible MAPIless alerting and notification capabilities. sqlSentry can monitor up to 72 different server events,and the software lets administrators choose from up to nine response actions.The product also provides a set of comprehensive charts and graphs that report job and schedule performance. Contact InterCerve at 704-895-6241 or http://www.sqlsentry.net.
Embarcadero Technologies DBArtisan
The other gold winner for Database Management is DBArtisan by Embarcadero Technologies, a product that automates and streamlines day-to-day administrative tasks such as managing space, creating user accounts, altering objects, migrating schemas between development, test, and production databases, and monitoring performance.The version-specific graphical object editors and wizards let you create, drop, or alter database objects, including tables, constraints, indexes, views, users, procedures, functions, triggers, groups, roles, profiles, and packages. DBArtisan helps you establish and maintain database security by managing users, roles, logins, profiles, groups, aliases, and password security. From a common interface, you can set privileges for multiple users, grant and revoke roles of users and other roles, and grant and revoke system-and object-level privileges. The software offers visual tools for creating and analyzing complex SQL statements and server-side code objects such as stored procedures and triggers. By using a point-and-click interface in the Embarcadero Query Builder, you can construct even complex SQL statements.Then, the Query Builder automatically generates the code. The built-in syntax-checking facility ensures that all SQL statements are built and run correctly the first time. Built-in hotkeys and code-completion features help you code SQL quickly. Contact Embarcadero at 415-834-3131 or http://www.embarcadero.com/ products/dbartisan/dbdatasheet.html.
Red Gate Software SQL Log Rescue
The platinum winner for Data Recovery tools is SQL Log Rescue by Red Gate Software. SQL Log Rescue lets you undo and redo individual SQL Server database transactions, protecting users from losing data and eliminating downtime. The tool examines backup files and live transaction logs, letting you browse the row history, recover deleted data, undo updates, and recover dropped tables.The log record records Time,Table, User,Action Type, and Transaction ID.Transactions are laid out in a grid that lets you filter and search for problems. Once you identify the specific transaction you're looking for, selecting that row on the grid brings up the transaction in a detail window that shows the Row Data, Row History, Undo Script, or Redo Script. From this window, you review the scripted SQL for redoing the transaction. The tool interface provides T-SQL Undo and Redo scripts that can be copied and stored for reuse. In addition to the columns listed above, the product includes the Log Sequence Number and a view of the precise data affected. In the case of an update, the data before and after the update are shown. Contact Red Gate Software at 866-733-4283, (44) (0) 870-160-0037, or http://www.red-gate.com.
Lumigent Log Explorer
The gold winner in the Data Recovery category is Lumigent Log Explorer 4.0, software that provides a transaction-analysis and data-recovery solution that improves the availability and integrity of your data.Through Log Explorer's extensive database transaction log, you can identify the source of data changes, selectively recover modified, deleted, dropped, or truncated data, and export data for follow-up analysis and reporting. You can identify the source of any data, schema, or permissions change; receive instant email notification when key database events—including DROP and CREATE DATABASE—occur; browse and filter all the activities recorded in the transaction log, including filters byWindows workstation username, SQL Server login name, client host name, and SQL Server application name; repair data at various levels of granularity by selectively undoing or redoing individual transactions or entire transaction sets; and export transaction information for analysis. In addition, the software supports undo and redo features for stored procedures, triggers, views, and functions. And a RestoreTables from Backup Options feature lets you find dropped tables and quickly restore them.You can export selected log records to XML, HTML, or comma-delimited text files or to a SQL Server table for unlimited analysis and reporting. Contact Lumigent at 866-586-4436, 978-206-3700, or http://www.lumigent.com.
The AMD64 hardware platform is the platinum winner of the Editors' Choice award in the Hardware category. The AMD64 architecture lets OEMs use dual-coreAMD Opteron processors to build up to four-way systems. AMD x64 Opteron processors are 100-percent binary compatible with existing 32-bit x86 applications, plus the processors support native 64-bit x64 applications. A primary advantage of the x64 architecture is that it increases available system memory from 4GB (the limit of the 32-bit platform) to a full 1TB. To reduce memory latencies associated with legacy front-side bus system designs, the AMD architecture uses an integrated memory controller and the high-performance Direct Connect Architecture, which is built with HyperTransport bus technology and supports CPU and I/O connect speeds of 8GB per second.The performance of this architecture has been proven in many scenarios—including worldrecord performance for 4-P systems in the Transaction Processing Council's (TPC's) TPC-C online transaction processing benchmark. In the record-setting test, an HP ProLiant DL585 server equipped with four Opteron 880 dual-core processors scored 202,557 tpmC, the highest mark for any four-processor system. Contact AMD at 919-840-8080, 919-840-8062, or http://www.amd.com.
HP ProLiant DL585 Server
The gold winner in the Hardware category is the HP ProLiant DL585 server,a 4U rack-mounted server equipped with four dualcore AMD Opteron 880 processors.The ProLiant DL585 is one of the fastest systems we'd ever tested in our labs; the four Opteron dualcore processors ran at 2.4GHz. In its maximum configuration, the system supports 128GB of RAM.The ProLiant DL585 also offers a battery-backed, embedded Ultra3 Smart Array 5i.The server has two 64-bit 133MHz PCI-X slots, six 64-bit 100MHz PCI-X slots, a 1GB dual-port NIC, two USB 2.0 ports, an optical drive, one serial port, an Integrated Lights Out (iLO) management port, and hot-plug redundant power supplies.The ProLiant DL585 is bundled with HP's Systems Insight Manager and the iLO technology. Insight Manager lets you perform remote systems management directly over the network through a browser interface or interactively through the Insight Manager console. Insight Manager provides system monitoring, the ability to send alerts, and asset management. The iLO feature enables remote management through virtual KVM over IP. Contact HP at 800-752-0900 or http://welcome.hp.com/country/us/en/prodserv/servers.html.
Neverfail for SQL Server
In his review of The Neverfail Group's Neverfail for SQL Server (April 2006, InstantDoc ID 49362), Michael Otey reported that this platinum winner provides the high availability that businesses are demanding. Neverfail provides server-level and site-level protection for SQL Server, as well as automatic failover capability. The product monitors your SQL Server application and looks for changes, including new database creation or data changes, and makes the appropriate updates for its replication set. In addition to monitoring your SQL Server application, Neverfail monitors your entire SQL Server environment, including your OS and network infrastructure.And Neverfail takes preemptive actions to correct problems without resorting to a full system failover. The solution runs on Windows Server 2003 Standard and Enterprise Editions and Windows 2000 Server SP4, and it supports SQL Server 2000 SP3a and later. Contact Neverfail at 512-327-5777 or http://www.neverfailgroup.com.
Stratus Technologies Active Upgrade
Stratus Technologies' gold-award winning software,Active Upgrade, works with the company's fault-tolerant ftServer W Series 4000 servers for Windows Server 2003 environments. Active Upgrade lets customers perform online software upgrades and critical OS hot fixes without having to take the server or application offline.The Active Upgrade process splits one logical server into two independently running physical servers. While one physical server runs the application, the other is updated with new software.The two sides then remerge, resynchronize, and return to fault-tolerant, lock-step operation. The Active Upgrade process reduces the planned server downtime that IT departments need to install upgrades and enhancements to OSs, service packs, applications, and system software. Active Upgrade software makes the updating process much less disruptive to business continuity.
ATERAS DB-Shuttle .NET
The platinum Migration tools winner is DB-Shuttle .NET from ATERAS (formerly Sophisticated Business Systems). DB-Shuttle .NET analyzes the mainframe environment and its applications; automates the conversion of databases, applications, and languages; and assures the integrity and completeness of the converted data. The product can then tune the new environment for optimal performance. Older applications are converted to new languages such as MicrosoftVB.NET 2005 and C# 2005.When a migration to the .NET Framework is complete, the client has the functional equivalent of the legacy application. Contact ATERAS at 800-801-9005, 972-664-9005, or http://www.ateras.com.
AdventNet SwisSQL Database Stored Procedure Migration Tools
Gold winner AdventNet SwisSQL is an automated database migration solution that offers migration of both schema and data across SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, MySQL, and other databases.The tools support migration of complex proprietary stored procedures, SQL dialects, database schema,and enterprise data between database platforms.The Database Stored Procedure Migration Tool automates migration of stored procedures, tables, views, indexes, and SQL statements across all supported platforms. Oracle to SQL Server Online Migration offers accurate, automated conversion of Oracle PL/SQL to SQL Server T-SQL syntaxes without requiring you to install software binaries.And you can verify the integrity of the data and the database objects you migrate for SQL Server to Oracle migrations by using AdventNet's Database MigrationVerifier tool. Contact AdventNet at 925-924-9500 or http://www.swissql.com.
Performance and Monitoring
Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager
The platinum winner of the Editors' Choice award in the Performance and Monitoring category is Idera SQL diagnostic manager, software that's designed to ease SQL Server performance-problem diagnosis and correction. SQL diagnostic manager lets you view information for one server or multiple SQL Server systems.The product uses a dashboard-style interface to display real-time SQL Server performance information that helps you quickly access crucial database information and resolve problems. SQL diagnostic manager collects and displays real-time activity and performance information for processes, caches, alerts, memory, transactions, logs, locks, replication, reorganization status, and trace data.To access underlying system activity, you can drill down from the displayed charts. In addition, SQL diagnostic manager provides a collection of built-in database-health information that helps both experienced and novice DBAs understand and solve database-server performance problems.And the product features built-in tasks, including starting and stopping a SQL Server Agent job, stopping a blocking process, terminating a user connection, rebuilding indexes on a table, and updating statistics. Contact Idera at 877-464-3372, 713-523-4433, or http://www.idera.com.
Quest Coefficient for SQL Server
The gold winner in the Performance and Monitoring category is Quest Coefficient for SQL Server, software that provides SQL statement profiling and database analysis for SQL Server 2005, 2000, and 7.0. Coefficient is designed for use in all aspects of the softwaredevelopment life cycle from development to quality assurance and production troubleshooting. The product identifies database performance problems and generates statistical reports for all stored procedure calls and SQL statements executed against the database.The database activity that Coefficient monitors includes call frequency, CPU usage, duration, reads, writes, best-and worst-case executions, top and worst individual calls, and table and index scan analysis.The product also tracks stored procedure recompilation and caching, missing column statistics, deadlocks, timeouts and attentions, and errors and exceptions. Coefficient requires no server components; instead, it runs on a client system that's connected to the SQL Server database server. The reports the product generates can be output to a network share or Web server for internal distribution. Contact Quest at 949-754-8000 or http://www.quest.com/coefficient.
Tableau Software Tableau
The platinum winner in the Reporting category is a product that impressed our editors with its unique approach and ease of use. Tableau Software's Tableau is a visual analysis and reporting solution that quickly and effectively reveals data relationships and anomalies that might take hours, or even days, for a traditional database tool such as Microsoft Excel Pivot Tables to identify. Unlike other data-analysis tools, Tableau doesn't present you with a daunting display of data. Rather, the product automatically builds a visual representation of the query results, displaying data in a way that's both meaningful and easy to manipulate and query. Tableau's interface lets you find data anomalies quickly, and you don't have to be an analytical genius to use the product effectively. In June,Tableau released version 2.0 of the product, which includes new usability features that further extend the product's ability to help end users use and understand data. Contact Tableau Software at 206-633-3400 or http://www.tableausoftware.com.
Panorama Software NovaView Reporting
The gold winner in the Reporting category is Panorama NovaView Reporting, a solution that integrates ad hoc query capabilities, analysis, and report authoring. The product gives end users the ability to create enterprise reports such as invoices, production reports, and financial statements from any Web browser, without technical assistance. By using guided report-authoring wizards, users can create custom reports that draw from multiple data sources across the enterprise. And global query and parameter libraries support reusable enterprise report designs. While in report mode, users can use filtering, parameters, and slicing functionality; format report entities such as headers, footers, or formulas; and add free text, images, or legend to the report.The product also integrates with SQL Server Reporting Services. Contact Panorama Software at 201-804-0144 or http://www.panorama.com.
Lumigent Audit DB
The platinum winner in our Security category is a product that lets companies not just collect audit information, but also understand and use the data they collect. Lumigent's Audit DB lets companies record database activity and also identify and verify the effectiveness of the IT controls that are in place.The product collects audit information in a centralized repository that enables separation of the security function from DBA functions. In contrast to network-based auditing systems, the information in the Audit DB central repository reveals the context of the activity, so you can perform long-term trend analysis by examining the history of your sensitive data assets. In addition, Audit DB monitors the activity of privileged users. Contact Lumigent at 866-586-4436, 978-206-3700, or http://www.lumigent.com
Guardium SQL Guard
The gold winner in the Security category, Guardium's SQL Guard, is a self-contained family of network-based servers that efficiently monitors, reports, and manages database-access activities. Guardium positions its network appliance in opposition to agent-based and other log-mining technologies.The platform can be deployed in passive or firewall mode and gives you the option of managing environments independent of database server choice or specific database expertise. The platform integrates with Guardium's SQL Guard Security Suite (including SQL HealthGuard, SQL PolicyGuard, and SQL AuditGuard) and Guardium Accelerators for Database Compliance. Contact Guardium at 877-487-9400, 781-487-9400, or http://www.guardium.com
SQL Server Express/MSDE
Vale Software Express Agent
Vale Software's Express Agent is the platinum winner in the SQL Server Express/MSDE category. Express Agent fills the gap in SQL Server Express left by the omission of SQL Server Agent. Like SQL Server Agent, which is included in the full-featured editions of SQL Server 2005, Express Agent lets you create and schedule jobs that can automatically perform routine functions such as backup maintenance and database backup.You can set up the product to provide email notifications about job-completion status. Express Agent comes in two parts: a job builder and a Windows Service. The job builder has a graphical UI and runs on Windows 2003, XP, 2000, NT, Me, 98, and 95.The service requires Windows 2003, XP, 2000, or NT. Contact Vale Software at 866-775-8253, (44) (0) 1162-988-622, or http://www.valesoftware.com.
Software Components and Middleware
ComponentOne Studio Enterprise
The platinum winner in the Software Components and Middleware category is ComponentOne Studio Enterprise, a suite of more than 180 best-of-breed grid, reporting,charting,data,UI, and e-commerce components. ComponentOne Studio Enterprise 2006 edition includes an ADO.NET Data Extender, Smart-Designers, and SmartFramework technology that lets you use a design surface to set common component properties, as well as a suite of 28 natively compiled components forVisual Studio 2005. Controls and components in the suite provide support for COMbased ActiveX development as well as .NET Framework 1.x and .NET Framework 2.0 development.The suite also provides a set of components for mobile-device development. Contact ComponentOne at 800-858-2739, 412-681-4343, or http://www.componentone.com.
Red Brook Software WiredNav
The gold winner in Software Components and Middleware is Red Brook Software's WiredNav, a unique, self-wiring .NET control that uses ADO.NET data tables for filling, navigating, searching, validating, updating, and reporting. The WiredNav control uses ADO.NET DataAdpaters to connect a .NET database application to ADO.NET tables without requiring the developer to write a single line of code or make any initial property settings for the control. The WiredNav control has no DataAdapter, DataSet, DataSource, BindingSource, or DataTable properties. At runtime,WiredNav automatically connects to all of the data objects on the Windows form that it's added to.When you use WiredNav, you need only one navigator per form instead of one per data table. Contact Red Brook Software at 518-248-3450 or http://www.redbrooksoftware.com.
Layton Technology Layton Database Manager
The gold winner in the SQL Server Express/MSDE category is Layton Technology's Layton Database Manager, a graphical database-management console for MSDE. Like Enterprise Manager, Layton Database Manager lets you create, view, and manage databases and their objects.The product also lets you schedule jobs, perform database backups, and restore, create, and execute T-SQL scripts. Layton Database Manager can also import, export, and execute DTS packages. The product is priced at $745 for an unlimited site license and $2495 for an unlimited enterprise license. Contact Layton Technology at 813-319-1390 or http://www.laytontechnology.com.
Altova XMLSpy 2006
In the XML category, the platinum award goes to Altova for its XMLSpy. XMLSpy 2006 provides a full-featured XML-development integrated design environment (IDE). The product lets you easily create and edit XML and XSD documents. However, XMLSpy goes way beyond these basics. Although the product's entire feature set is too lengthy to fully discuss in this short summary, some of its high points include XMLSpy's ability to provide visual XML Schema development, graphical WSDL development, schema-aware XQuery development, XML-to-relational database mapping, and the ability to generate Java, C#, and C+++ XML access code. In addition, XMLSpy 2006 is integrated with Visual Studio and the open-source Eclipse development environment.And XMLSpy provides the ability to perform Web services development, testing, and debugging. Contact Altova at 978-816-1600 or http://www.altova.com.
DataDirect Technologies Stylus Studio 2006 XML Enterprise Edition
The XML-category gold winner is DataDirect Technologies Stylus Studio 2006 XML Enterprise Edition. Stylus Studio provides an integrated XML development environment that includes an array of XML development tools. An XML Editor supports viewing, parsing, and editing XML documents; XSLT tools include an XSLT editor and debugger; XQuery tools include an XQuery editor, debugger, and mapper; and there's an XPath evaluator and generator tool. Plus, Stylus Studio has XML Import and Export tools, including CVS-to-XML and ADO-to-XML conversion tools. The product also provides support for Web Service testing. One of the unique features of the Stylus Studio 2006 XML Enterprise Edition is its EDI support.The product provides EDIFACT-to-XML as well as X12-to-XML conversion and validation tools. Contact DataDirect Technologies at 781-280-448 or http://www.stylusstudio.com.