Hoping to maintain a high profile in the Java development tools arena, Microsoft plans in the next few weeks to release the first beta of an upgrade to Visual J++.
Microsoft says this upgrade, code-named Vegas, will be enhanced with rapid application development features. It will be released in beta form at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference - which begins September 22 in San Diego, California - or shortly thereafter, sources close to the software company said.
A key reason why Visual J++ 1.1 is getting upgraded before the other tools in Microsoft's Visual Studio suite is because of the scrutiny Microsoft faces in the Java market, according to sources close to the company.
Microsoft is seeking to more closely link Java to its Windows operating system while at the same time keeping developer focus away from the programming language’s potential as a full-fledged platform, a paradigm pushed by competitors Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Netscape, and others.
Vegas will have an integrated development environment similar to that of Visual Basic, Microsoft officials have said. It also will include Microsoft's J/Direct technology, which allows Java developers to directly access the Win32 API set, bypassing the Java virtual machine.