Java Platform to Speak Windows

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2004-07-16 Print this article Print

Sun and Mainsoft take aim at Visual Basic and C# developers.

Only Visual Basic has been addressing the mass market of the corporate developer," said Sun Microsystems Inc.s executive vice president of software, John Loiacono, in his remarks at the recent JavaOne conference, while introducing the production release of Suns Creator product in its Java Studio line of developer tools. Creator, a drag-and-drop tool using new JavaServer Faces technology, is aimed at application developers using Visual Basic. During eWEEK Labs tests of the early-access version, Creator proved impressively easy to use for building full-featured applications.

Creator enters the market just as some high-school advanced-placement computer science programs begin their second year of using Java as their core language. Five years from now, the result could be a step-function increase in the population of native Java speakers.

Right now, developers steeped in the skill sets and practices of Microsofts Corp.s ASP (Active Server Pages) platform can develop, debug and deploy Visual Basic and C# applications from Microsofts Visual Studio .Net workbench to a J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) host using Mainsoft Corp.s Visual MainWin for J2EE.

"[We] aim ... to match the developer experience of the Microsoft developer, not only the C# code but also the ASP model," said Mainsoft Vice President Philippe Cohen in a JavaOne meeting with eWEEK Labs.

"The value in the Mainsoft product is for our customers who are writing procedural extensions," said Doug Smith, vice president of architecture at Siebel Systems Inc. and an early adopter of the product.

Those teams, often with Microsoft skills, are looking to have more flexible deployment op- tions," Smith said. "They can write extensions in VB .Net or C# and deploy those in Wintel or J2EE environments."

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Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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