Microsoft Touts .NET, Java Interoperability at JavaOne

In its first-ever keynote at a JavaOne conference, Microsoft pledged its support for continuing to foster interoperability between the Java and .NET developer worlds.

In its first-ever keynote at a JavaOne conference, Microsoft pledged its support for continuing to foster interoperability between the Java and .NET developer worlds.

Indeed, Steven Martin, senior director of development platform products at Microsoft, started his talk at the JavaOne event on June 4 by assuring attendees that "we come in peace."

The fact is there has long been a peaceful if not simpatico relationship between Sun and Microsoft ever since Microsoft and Sun kissed and made up back in 2004 when Microsoft settled lawsuits and made payouts to Sun in the amount of nearly $2 billion.

According to a Sun feature piece on the subject:

""On April 2, 2004, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft surprised the world by setting aside their adversarial positioning and establishing a new relationship based on cooperative competition. The two companies signed a broad-reaching, 10-year intellectual property (IP) licensing and technology collaboration agreement. With both Sun and Microsoft as full and equal partners, the two companies embarked on a variety of projects designed to vastly improve interoperability.""

Back then the two companies pledged to work on technical collaboration, a Microsoft communications protocol program, Microsoft support for Java, Windows certification for Sun Server, future collaboration for Java and .NET, patents and intellectual property, and legal settlements.

So despite never having been a part of a JavaOne keynote, Microsoft's Martin and Dan'l Lewin, corporate vice president of strategic and emerging business development, were not exactly walking into the lion's den. Microsoft had been exhibiting at JavaOne for a number of years.

In an interview with eWEEK, Martin said interoperability has been top of mind for him at Microsoft. He said, and later wrote in a blog post, "[Seventy-three] percent of professional developers rely on .NET or a combination of .NET and Java. In that sense, both Java and .NET have won in the enterprise and it is incumbent on both Microsoft and Sun to ensure that interoperability for the platforms is real, available and as easy to implement as possible."

Added Martin:

""...last November we announced our participation-and the contribution of our StockTrader 2.0 code-to the Apache "Stonehenge" project. Stonehenge was formed to deliver a set of sample applications that demonstrate interoperability across multiple underlying platform technologies by using currently defined W3C and OASIS standard protocols.""

Thus, during the Microsoft keynote, Aisling MacRunnels, Sun vice president of application platform software marketing, Martin and Lewin announced that Sun had agreed to participate in the Stonehenge project and will be contributing the Metro-based StockTrader application code.

According to Martin:

""This is important for two reasons. First, it means that Stonehenge will deliver even more value by providing best practice guidelines and reference implementations across an even broader range of scenarios and platforms, including Java, .NET, PHP, etc. The more samples and real world guidance we can give the community the better since it gives customers the ability to choose the best ones for their specific business requirements. It also makes it easier to pinpoint potential interoperability problems.""

Moreover, Martin said:

""Looking ahead, our work with Sun (or perhaps I should say Oracle?) becomes even more important in the context of cloud computing. Success in the cloud for most enterprises will hinge on the ability to utilize a broad and diverse set of computational resources, some of which may be implemented very differently from others. Interoperability protocols are the key to this. Thus, it's important for us to continue to work together to ensure platform interoperability through these protocols, especially as it relates to Web service interoperability standards.""

Martin told eWEEK that "the commitment of their reference implementation to Stonehenge" is a big deal. In addition, Martin said Sun would support Windows as a guest operating system in the Sun cloud, which is exactly what MacRunnels announced during the keynote. However, Sun's cloud platform will not be available until later this year.

Martin also noted that the Microsoft overture to the open-source world is important. "Microsoft committing intellectual property in true open-source fashion should speak volumes to any observers who wonder how serious we are about interoperability," he said.