Cakewalk is a company based in Boston, Massachusetts that develops music production software. Their best known product is their comprehensive music sequencer SONAR, which is designed for use by professionals. SONAR incorporates multi-track recording and editing of both audio and MIDI. However, the company offers a full range of software products, including the Project5 - a soft-synth studio, and Dimension Pro - a virtual instrument.
SONAR creates projects that allow the operator to edit MIDI files, raw audio tracks, and other associated information like lyrics, and to present them in a range of formats including musical scores, editing console, event lists, etc. The operator can also mix the various tracks down into a stereo .WAV format ready to be saved on a CD.
While MIDI is a fairly ubiquitous standard for representation of digital music, there is no broadly accepted standard for the interchange of projects between SONAR and other competing recording/editing software (e.g see Cubase). i.e. one can't easily import a Cubase recording in its native format into SONAR and vice versa.
Project5 is a host application for software synthesizers. In Project5 version 2 Cakewalk introduced audio recording capabilities and a "Groove Matrix" which allows live performance of groove clips (either audio or MIDI). Project5 is an open platform for hosting hundreds of commercial and free software synthesizers. A very helpful user community has formed around Project5 in the Cakewalk online forums and have even begun a popular Project5 Wiki.