IBM Rational IDE tops survey

Other players, including Visual Studio, rated highest in other categories, but the Evans Data survey found that IBM's RAD was tops in overall user satisfaction

Despite trailing rivals in several individual categories, IBM's RAD (Rational Application Developer) nonetheless had the highest user satisfaction scores among several IDEs rated in an Evans Data study being released on Wednesday.

Users of RAD scored it higher than users of other IDEs had rated their own development platforms of choice. Some of the other entrants included Oracle JDeveloper, Microsoft Visual Studio, and NetBeans.

"It's safe to say that RAD's users love their IDE and tools as well as the support and care they get from IBM," the Evans report, known as the company's "IDE Scorecard," said.

There were 1,200 developers worldwide who were involved in the study, which was funded by Evans. The company calculated user satisfaction based on user rankings in 15 different categories. RAD scored 170 points based on Evans' rating system, but only about five points separated it from the third-place finisher, Visual Studio.

Ranked in descending order were: RAD, JDeveloper, Visual Studio, Sun Studio, Adobe Creative Suite, Delphi, NetBeans, and MyEclipse. The seventh- and eighth-place finishers were the only open source IDEs included in the study. Originally, 15 IDEs were rated, but the number was pared down to eight.

Even with the growing prominence of SaaS, IDEs still are critical, said John Andrews, Evans president and CEO. "They still remain very, very important and core," Andrews said.

"There's still a huge amount of development [that] is contingent upon IDEs," he said.

Missing from the survey, though, was the base open source Eclipse IDE, which instead serves as the basis for other IDEs rated in the study, such as MyEclipse and RAD.

"It's really not an out-of-the-box IDE. It's an IDE that you've got to assemble, whereas [the] others are out-of-the-box IDEs," Andrews said.

In other categories pertaining to individual characteristics of IDEs, RAD did not fare so well. It was ranked seventh out of eight in ease of use, last in its editor capabilities, and fifth in availability of third-party tools to work with it. RAD did finish tops in the application modeling tools, quality of technical support, make/build functions, sample applications, and profiler categories.

Other winners in individual categories included:

* Visual Studio, for its debugger, editor, and size and quality of its user community.

* Delphi, for ease of use, compiler performance, ability to integrate third-party tools, and availability of third-party tools.

* Adobe Creative Suite, for Web design tools.

* Sun Studio, for performance of resulting applications.

* JDeveloper, for documentation.

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