The "user's choice" for application servers, according to more than 700 software developers, include two of the oldest -- one might say mature -- and one relative newcomer. Developers ranked IBM WebSphere, the open source Apache Geronimo, and Windows Server among their favorite options, according to a free report distributed by Evans Data (free registration required).
Enterprise software developers are, perhaps, all too familiar with application servers: server-based software that can be called by client applications. Web servers are a subset which exclusively handle HTTP requests; in contrast, application servers can use any number of protocols to serve business logic to programs.
Evans Data interviewed more than 700 developers, asking them to rate 21 characteristics of application servers that they had personally used. Among the features and capabilities rated were performance, security features, database connectivity, scalability, support, diagnostics, event logs, and value-to-cost ratio.
In this survey, Adobe ColdFusion, Red Hat JBoss, and Sun Java System Application Server/GlassFish also earned high marks from their users. SAP NetWeaver was also evaluated for their niche uses. And then there's WebLogic....
IBM's WebSphere ranked at the top in 10 of the 21 categories, including those which were identified as being the most important to developers: performance, scalability, support, and diagnostics.
Microsoft's Windows Server is used both as an operating system and as an application server, with its native support for ASP.Net Web development and Web Services technologies such as XML, SOAP, UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration), and WSDSL (Web Services Description Language). In this survey, Windows Server garnered good marks across the board, but delivered the most satisfaction for its database connectivity, support and performance.