Given that it can’t use key Java class libraries or J2EE technologies such as Enterprise JavaBeans, Java server pages or servlets, developers are likely to ask what the point of using Visual J#.Net might be.
J#, a replacement for the J++ 7.0 Java language tool which was cancelled due to legal issues with Sun Microsystems, allows developers to write applications using the Java language syntax. Microsoft showcased the .Net version of Visual J# at its Tech Ed developer conference in Auckland last week.
Part of Java’s attraction is its potential to run on a wide range of operating systems. With J# it’s the .Net framework and Windows only. “If you want to run your applications on Unix, that’s not us,” says Microsoft .Net developer division product manager Tony Goodhew (pictured).
Microsoft’s recommends developers who write for other operating systems connect applications through XML-based web services, which it promotes as the key to inter-
Goodhew believes there are three types of Java developer — those using Java to write Windows applications, C++ developers who adopted Java for increased productivity and people who are opposed to Microsoft technology.
“The first two will find J# very attractive. We’re not appealing to the third. We’re not appealing to people who want to use J2EE application servers. We’re appealing to people who want to take advantage of the .Net framework.”
Goodhew says it doesn’t matter that you can’t use J2EE with J#. “Customers want to build solutions around XML web services and they have developers that know Java language, so why make them learn another?
“There is a significant section of the Java community which is tired of paying a premium for J2EE application servers,” he says referring to a 2001 Gartner report which said that companies had overspent $US1 billion on application servers since 1998. “There’s a desire within the Java language community to have an application platform built around XML web services which is cheaper to deploy and run than existing application server platforms,” he says.
“The Java approach is to support web services at the API level. Four years ago we saw that XML would be the next big thing. Although you can build web services on to Windows DNA we decided it would be better if we could support them natively. We elected to rebuild our development platform, which led to .Net. You can develop web services in J2EE but it’s built on to the side of the platform.”