Microsoft Delivers New Offerings for Java Developers

Microsoft delivered a set of new services and upgrades to help Java developers create apps on Microsoft platforms, including a new analytics SDK.

Java SDK

At the EclipseCon 2015 conference this week, Microsoft made a series of moves to help Java developers working on the Microsoft platform.

Microsoft released a Java SDK for Application Insights and tweaked Visual Studio Online for Java developers and the Azure Toolkit for Eclipse.

As part of Microsoft's commitment to making the app telemetry and analytics capabilities of Application Insights available to a broader set of cloud and Web app developers, the new SDK, which enables Java developers to gain valuable insights into their production Java Web apps, is available for free here.

Application Insights is a cloud-based service that collects operational, performance and customer usage information from server and client/device applications—whether they run on-premises, in Microsoft Azure, using a third-party cloud provider, or a combination of all three.

Microsoft Application Insights offers developers application usage, health and monitoring capabilities. For instance, application performance and failure information is retrieved automatically when Application Insights is added to a Web project. The service also offers usage pattern analysis, HTTP request tracking, an Application Insights portal for log trace exploration, and custom event, metric and exception tracking. With Application Insights, adoption, interaction and engagement trends become apparent by simply inserting a JavaScript snippet into a Web page.

Describing why Microsoft made the service available to java developers, Harel Broitman, a senior program manager for Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft, said in a blog post: "When you publish a Java web application, you want a clear view of what users are doing with it and how it's performing. Your most effective plan for future work comes from a deep understanding of how people use what you've already provided: which features they like, what patterns they follow, and what they find difficult. You also want to know that your application is performing well – how quickly it responds, how performance varies under load. If performance drops or exceptions are thrown, you’d like to be notified quickly, and to diagnose the issue you’ll want powerful filter and search facilities to investigate the event traces."

Meanwhile, S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, in a blog post, added: "This week we introduced the Java SDK for Application Insights, a fully featured Application Insights agent for Java applications. Even better, this SDK is open source on GitHub, along with in-progress work on SDKs for Android, iOS, Node.js, PHP, Python, Ruby and WordPress. Along with our recent acquisition of HockeyApp, these SDKs are part of our work to make Application Insights available across the widest possible range of application scenarios."

Microsoft acquired HockeyApp, a crash analytics and app distribution provider for developers building apps on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, in December. At that time, Microsoft said it planned to integrate HockeyApp with Application Insights to provide a 360-degree view of usage analytics and diagnostics across all popular mobile platforms. This expanded the Application Insights offering beyond server platforms.

Somasegar noted that both Microsoft's Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Online support Java development across planning, source control, collaboration, build, test and deployment.

"Whether your teams develop in Java, .NET or in multiple languages, Visual Studio Online offers an open, cloud-hosted development hub and is free for up to five users," he said. "For Java developers, Visual Studio Online fits into existing workflows -- you can use popular IDEs such as Eclipse, build technologies such as Ant or Maven, source control systems such as Git and community integrations with tools such as Jenkins."

This week at EclipseCon, Microsoft launched a new portal Java page on Visual Studio Online with resources for Java developers to get the most out of Visual Studio Online.

Also, Microsoft released several updates to its Azure Toolkit for Eclipse. Microsoft Azure supports Java across a wide range of compute, data and application services. The Azure Java developer center includes documentation, tutorials and resources for Java developers to get started with Azure, Somasegar said.

"Building upon the Azure SDK, the Azure Toolkit for Eclipse provides templates and functionality that allow Eclipse users to easily create, develop, configure, test, and deploy arbitrarily complex, multi-tier, highly available and scalable cloud services and applications to Microsoft Azure on OS X, Linux and Windows," Somasegar said.

Both the Azure SDK for Java and the Azure Toolkit for Eclipse are also open source on GitHub.