With businesses still feeling the economic squeeze, developers are gravitating toward reusable components as a quicker and easier alternative to doing their own programming. Major industry players, meanwhile, are poised to take advantage of this trend to enhance developer loyalty to their products.
With the launch of Visual Studio .Net this week, Microsoft Corp. will extend to Web services the robust developer community it created around reusable Visual Basic components. The platform from the Redmond, Wash., company is designed to ease the development and reuse of components and Web services.
In that same vein, BEA Systems Inc., with its upcoming Cajun development platform and recent infusion of ex-Microsoft talent, is looking to create a community for Java developers built on the Microsoft model.
The Java community has its own reusable components and approach to Web services. However, it wasnt until the recent release of J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) 1.3, which includes support for XML and Web services, that the 3 million Java developers have had a focal point, enabling Java application server vendors to optimize the specification for their proprietary gain.
Paul Toenjes, director of professional services at software developer Compuware Corp., sees advantages in both the .Net and Java models. "We focus on building custom applications for our customers," said Toenjes, in Farmington Hills, Mich. "We focus on reusability and developing and using components with various tools and from various suppliers out there."
At the VSLive conference in San Francisco, Microsoft partners will make announcements supporting Visual Studio .Net. Atlanta-based ComponentSource Inc. will make its ERS (Enterprise Reusable Solution) available to Visual Studio .Net developers as a free add-in to the Visual Studio product. ERS integrates its online marketplace of more than 8,000 reusable components into Visual Studio .Net. The add-in accesses Simple Object Access Protocol and XML-based Web services to enable developers to find and buy components in 116 business categories, said CEO Sam Patterson.
Also on tap is Ilog Inc., of Mountain View, Calif. It will port its line of C++ business rules, optimization and visualization components to .Net.
OneSource Information Services Inc., of Concord, Mass., is going to enhance its Business Browser product line by leveraging XML Web services based on the .Net Framework and supporting Visual Studio .Net.
In addition, Infragistics Inc., of East Windsor, N.J., and DevelopMentor Inc., of Los Angeles, are going to partner in a marketing deal based on Visual Studio .Net components and training programs.
Sun Microsystems Inc. has promoted Java as a development environment. However, until BEA began to focus on a Microsoft-like model, Java application server vendors had not focused on community building around components, said BEA officials in San Jose, Calif. Scott Fallon, vice president of developer and partner programs at BEA and a former Microsoft executive, said BEA is looking at building a component strategy around its upcoming integrated development environment, code-named Cajun, set for release at BEAs user conference this month.