Microsofts Visual j# .Net Beta 1, which re-creates an old version of Java as a .Net language, has been a major source of debate among eWeek Labs staffers.
Visual J# (posted online at msdn.microsoft.com/visualj/jsharp/beta. asp) is a plug-in for Visual Studio .Net Beta 2 that lets developers write applications compatible with Java 1.1.4, the version included in Microsofts ill-fated Visual J++ 6.0. J# contains a clean-room reimplementation of most of the Java 1.1.4 class libraries and compiles Java code to .Net intermediate language byte code, so resulting programs can be run only on .Net-equipped machines.
As a .Net language, Visual J# also provides Java developers with a way to write .Net applications in Java, taking advantage of all the features the .Net framework provides, such as its class library, cross-language authoring and debugging, and very simple creation of Web services.
J# provides a smooth upgrade path for remaining Visual J++ developers (measured at 6 percent of the Java development tools market in Evans Data Corp.s fall study) because J# has the same Java extensions that J++ included.
However, for Java developers who want to write modern Java applications, J# is a bizarre creature—a wizened Java head transplanted onto a .Net body.
Java 1.1.4 is very old now, and with plenty of excellent Java development tools on the market, Visual J++s integrated development environment isnt the draw it once was.