Microsoft Corp. has been busy on the Java front recently, with the release of a new version of its Java conversion tool and enhancements to its Java development environment.
Microsoft Tuesday announced Version 2.0 of its Java Language Conversion Assistant (JLCA). The JLCA is based on ArtinSoft Inc.s migration technology for converting Java code to Visual C# .Net code. The JLCA, which runs in the Visual Studio .Net environment, enables developers to migrate Java applications to run on the .Net Framework. The technology is available for download on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Web site at http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/downloads/tools/jlca/.
In addition to the new software, Microsoft has released a guide on JavaServer Pages (JSP) to ASP.Net migrations. The JSP to ASP.NET Migration Guide features videos, white papers, sample code and additional resources, such as the step-by-step conversion details of moving a customer site from Java technology to .Net technology using the JLCA. Microsoft officials said Random House Inc. and Infusion Development Corp. ported the Random House CodeNotes book series site from JSP to ASP.Net using JLCA 2.0. Using the tool, the team was able to automatically convert 80 percent of the sites Java code directly to C#, Microsoft notes in a case study of the conversion on the companys Web site.
However, Sun Microsystems Inc., creator and steward of the Java platform, objects. “We hear from our customers that choice is one of their highest priorities, so to that extent Microsofts tool is to be welcomed as adding one more choice,” said Simon Phipps, chief technology evangelist at Sun. “But the truth is, with 50-plus companies shipping great Java-based server products, the move from Microsofts closed, no-choice world to the open and standard world of Java is more compelling, and weve been supporting that—not least with our ChiliSoft software that lets customers run ASP on Java —for several years.”
Meanwhile, last week Microsoft announced enhancements to its Visual J# .Net Java development environment. Microsoft announced the Microsoft Supplemental User Interface Library for Visual J# .Net. This features support for the Java Foundation Classes (JFC) Swing toolkit, a user interface component library for building Java user interfaces.
Morris Sim, director of the Academic Developer Group in the Developer and Platform Evangelism Division at Microsoft, said Microsoft added this support to enable teachers to use their Swing-based curricula with Microsofts Visual Studio .Net 2003 and the .Net Framework. Microsoft also released a sample application, known as the Marine Biology Simulation, or MBS, Case Study for Visual J# .Net, to help new developers learn to use Java, particularly Visual J# .Net. The MBS Case Study is a sample application used by high school advanced placement computer science programs to teach object-oriented programming.
Brian Keller, Microsofts product manager for Visual J# .Net, said Microsoft “did studies and analyses, and we managed to identify a subset of Swing technology we could bring forth into Visual J# .Net.”
He added that “this is probably the first time in our history that were really making very specific investment into the academic market.” Part of that effort is “to make it easier for teachers to teach in Visual J# .Net and Visual Studio .Net.”
Sim said Microsoft is investing in a partnership with academia through the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance program. The program provides the latest versions of Microsoft developer tools and enterprise products to the more than 3 million students and faculty that are part of the program throughout the world.
“My job is about bringing Microsofts assets to academia,” Sim said.
Part of that involves “making sure were making the right technology to meet the needs of the academic market,” he said, noting Microsofts Rotor shared-source project to deliver a version of the Microsoft Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) for researchers, academics and other non-commercial uses. In fact, Rice University is working on creating a C# integrated development environment (IDE) based on work done with Rotor and other technology.
Also, Sim said Microsoft offers a Visual Studio .Net Academic Edition for academic use.
In addition, “we engage in dialogues with the academics on almost a daily basis,” Sim said. And once a year Microsoft holds a Faculty Summit “where we feel theres very healthy interchange between academia and Microsoft,” he said.
Microsoft also sponsors a worldwide programming competition for college students. At TechEd Barcelona in Spain last month, Microsoft sponsored its Imagine Cup programming competition.
Also, Sim said, Microsoft works with the top research institutions in the world and issues requests for proposals for new technological initiatives. In addition, the company tries to get involved in curriculum development, he said.
“One of the things we have to keep in mind is that .Net is a new technology,” Sim said. “And for developers to understand it, we felt a need to go out and explain it. What we really want to do is see how we can improve the overall health of the ecosystem. We want to see better coders.”