This is just my biased and very personal opinion.
1. Turbo Pascal 3.0 (1986)
No Mouse, No Objects , No GUI. Great Fun.
However, it was one of the fastest, most productive IDE’s ever.
On an IBM AT “Compatible” system running at 11MHZ (Using the Turbo Button :) ) and 1MB of memory it outpaced Visual Studio.Net on a Dual-Core 2000MB,2000GHZ machine.
2. Purify & Quantify (1995)
The Instrumentation masters.
For any developer that ever spent three months looking for a memory leak, Purify was a godsend.
Its main advantage – the technology actually worked.
It is amazing to see that even in .Net environment we still keep having memory leak problems, but no Purify to the rescue. Even more amazing is that the inventor of Purify is also the inventor and founder of NetFlix.
3. Xemacs (1994)
Dynamic word completion, greatest and weirdest Keyboard shortcuts , real human multitasking.
The Editor that invented plugins, open source and tons of other cool features.
And it’s the only useful lisp program ever written.
If you didn’t write code in emacs-lisp you don’t know what how pleasure feels like.
4. VMWARE workstation 3 (2001)
The mother of everything virtualized. It hinted of the future. It was the first “emulation” software that actually worked.
Freezing code in time, replaying bugs, running SoftIce inside a VM , running Linux on windows, running Linux on windows, multiple servers on a single machine. All of that for $300 ( $240, if you bought many of them ).
5. Visual Basic 6.0 (1998)
While many people like Delphi and VB has its downsides, it had such a dramatic effect that it can’t be ignored.
A real simple environment for light weight programmers which is actually useful.
What do they have in common?
- Great performance.
- High reliability
- User simplicity ( maybe not emacs J )
- Solving hard problems
What do you think ?