Every year for the past 20 years, Dr. Dobbs has recognized the best products in the main classes of software development tools. No category gets more entrants than books, and this year was no exception with 51 nominees submitted by publishers, vendors, and readers. The award covers all books published from July 1 of last year to June 30 of this year.
Due to the large number of candidates, the Jolt judges decided to do a first pass that would cut the field to 15 worthy entrants; then a second pass that chose their top six picks ranked in order. The top book of the year receives the Jolt Excellence Award, the two runners up receive a Jolt Productivity award, and the remaining three books are known as Jolt Finalists. The separation between these six and the remaining nine that made the cut was felt by most judges to be somewhat artificial. Many of those remaining titles were found to be good works, worthy of attention. We will discuss them in later articles.
In years past, the comment I just made about how closely bunched the books were is made about the top winners, but this year was different. The Jolt Excellence Award winner led by a wide margin. In many ways, this validates my original review of the book (prior to my coming to Dr. Dobb's) in which I called it the "most important book of 2010." I've included that review in the reviews of the six award winners and finalists that follow.
The judges for this category included Alan Zeichick, Chris Minnick, Robert DelRossi, David Dossot, Gary Evans, Gary Pollice, Jon Kurtz, Larry O'Brien, Mike Riley, Peter Westerman, Roberto Galoppini, Rick Wayne, Scott Ambler, and me. Given the large number of experienced judges, you can have high confidence that the award winners really represent the best of the available books.
We thank Rackspace, a Jolt sponsor, for providing virtual machines for the judges' use to the extent they were needed for judging books and the software that comes with them.
If you want to nominate products for consideration in upcoming categories, you can view the calendar and get the (very short) nomination form here.
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