Picking the top technologies in a wild year

The 12th annual InfoWorld Technology of the Year Awards boldly choose the best of the best, backed by a fearless crew of expert reviewers

Whenever someone asks me how InfoWorld differs from other IT publications, I cite two facts off the bat: Most of our articles are written by experienced, working IT people -- and we're one of the few publications that still does real enterprise product reviews.

The two go hand in hand. The 2012 InfoWorld Technology of the Year Awards provides a showcase, not just for the best products, but for the analytical abilities of our InfoWorld Test Center contributors, including James Borck, Brian Chee, Desmond Fuller, Andrew Glover, Rick Grehan, Roger Grimes, Galen Gruman, Martin Heller, Woody Leonhard, Neil McAllister, Matt Prigge, Keith Schultz, Paul Venezia, Peter Wayner, and Serdar Yegulalp. As you flip through our Technology of the Year slideshow, follow the links to the original reviews and judge for yourself whether this crew knows its stuff.

[ Do not stop, go directly to the 2012 InfoWorld Technology of the Year Awards. | Prefer to look ahead? See "InfoWorld's top 10 emerging enterprise technologies." | Check out all the Technology of the Year winners going back to 2004. ]

A few details may jump out at you, starting with stellar work by developers Peter Wayner and Rick Grehan, who led our intensive coverage of app dev. Several products they reviewed got the Technology of the Year nod: Node.js, the superfast JavaScript server; CakePHP, which simplifies building PHP Web apps; and Web2py, the best Python Web framework we tested. But our code-savvy review crew also observed that app dev is riding a rocket to the cloud: Peter Wayner gave a big thumbs-up to CloudBees, a Java PaaS (platform as a service) coordinated by Jenkins, and Heroku beat Engine Yard in a head-to-head comparison of Ruby PaaS offerings authored by Andrew Glover.

App dev even informed our coverage of mobile -- and it should since mobile platforms offer a vast new frontier for programmers. Sure, game developers will write to the native capabilities of mobile devices, but for enterprise apps we think the write-once, run-anywhere principal should apply. That's why we gave InfoWorld Technology of the Year Awards to Adobe PhoneGap, which lets developers create mobile Web apps using common Web dev skills, and Rhomobile Rhodes, for building data-driven mobile enterprise apps for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone 7, and RIM devices from a single codebase.

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