Your guide to InfoWorld's best tech of the year

Last week's 2014 Technology of the Year Awards honored 35 products, the best we encountered in 2013 -- and the ones that animate the most important enterprise technology trends

The Technology of the Year Awards is InfoWorld's most important article of the year. It's the living, breathing manifestation of InfoWorld's dual mission: To call out the best new enterprise technologies and deliver deep tech analysis, written in plain English, by thought leaders who possess meaningful hands-on experience.

In our 2014 edition of Technology of the Year, we've served up 35 of the best products we evaluated, with links to original product reviews for those on the cusp of purchasing anything from specialized data center hardware to programming tools and frameworks. If you know enterprise tech, it's pretty stunning to see all that innovation lined up end to end.

[ See all the winning hardware, software, development tools, and cloud services in our slideshow, "InfoWorld's 2014 Technology of the Year Award winners." | For quick, smart takes on the news you'll be talking about, check out InfoWorld TechBrief -- subscribe today. ]

Here, I haven't called out every winner, but I've done my best to surface the major themes and high points. Allow me to highlight the winning products with the broadest appeal first: Microsoft Office 365 and Apple iOS 7. As I noted a couple of weeks ago, the great work Microsoft has done with Office 365 bodes well for its cloud future. While iPhone and iPad hardware might have been a bit of snooze in 2013, iOS 7 delivered, helping to cement iOS's position as the post-BlackBerry platform of choice for the mobile enterprise.

Catering to coders
The first thing you'll notice about this year's winners is the preponderance of application development products and projects. That was inevitable. Developers continue to rise in importance -- and it takes only a glance at InfoWorld's traffic patterns to see the high degree of interest generated by app dev topics. Plus, the innovation in this area simply won't quit.

You'll find only one traditional dev product in the winners circle: Microsoft Visual Studio 2013, which Microsoft has enhanced to create a powerhouse enterprise development environment, with a rich set of debuggers, frameworks, diagnostics, and ALM features. Support for agile development has been beefed up, and Visual Studio now supports Git version control.

JavaScript development is a runaway train, so this year we've deepened our coverage, with a nod to no fewer than four JavaScript frameworks: Bootstrap, D3, Ember, and Node.js. The last one is a server framework, of course, and wins for the third straight year. The other three help coders build advanced browser-based apps, with D3 devoted to the increasingly important task of data visualization. Plus, contributor Martin Heller offered heartfelt kudos to JetBrains WebStorm, which he terms "a serious IDE for serious JavaScript developers."

The collision of cloud and coding has yielded all kinds of innovation. It's no surprise that Pivotal Cloud Foundry won: In 2013, this PaaS (platform as a service), which offers great usability and broad language support, became the center of an open source cloud ecosystem and earned the backing of IBM. We also gave an award to CloudBees, an independent Java PaaS that stands out in its enablement of continuous delivery. Of course, we'd be remiss if we failed to call out the new center of the coding universe, the cloud repository and versioning platform GitHub.

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