Microsoft, Sun tackle Java from opposing vantage points

Microsoft and Sun Microsystems this week are making moves in Java, with Sun looking to boost the platform and Microsoft attempting to lure developers away from it.

Microsoft has made public the beta of J# Browser Controls v1.1b. J# Browser Controls provide a way to migrate Java applet source code to run within the context of the Microsoft .Net Framework, according to Microsoft. J# provides language and JDK functionality for migrating of Java code to .Net, while leveraging Java development skills.

Looking to help customers transition from the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine to .Net, Version 1.1b adds scripting and offline support. The scripting functionality "basically means support for interacting between JavaScript and VB Script with the hosting page," where the applet is being used, said Brian Keller, Microsoft product manager for Visual J# .Net.

Offline support means users do not need a Microsoft Internet Information Server Web server for hosting J# Browser control functions, Keller said.

Microsoft expects to release J# Browser Controls V1.1b within a few months. The beta can be downloaded at

Sun on Tuesday is announcing the second phase of its Technology Preview for its upcoming Sun Java Studio Creator development tool, code-named "Project Rave." The preview phase enables a selected audience of developers to provide feedback on the product. In the second phase, improvements focus on areas such as ease of installation and use, said Jim Inscore, product marketing manager for Java Studio Creator.

An "Early Access" release of Java Studio Creator, for a wider audience, is planned for this spring.

"We're still planning on the general release being out in the summertime" at the JavaOne conference in late June, Inscore said.

Intended to simplify Java development, Java Studio Creator is to feature drag-and-drop layout of both user interfaces and component infrastructures, simplified event-based coding, and simplified access to databases and Web services.

Sun also announced that the ObjectWeb Consortium is licensing the J2EE 1.4 specification and Compatibility Test Suite under new license terms favorable to non-profit and open source projects. ObjectWeb will participate in Sun's compatibility scholarship program.

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