Mainsoft's Grasshopper jumps onto Visual Studio 2005

Mainsoft on Wednesday released a technology preview of Grasshopper 2.0, which lets developers leverage Microsoft Windows development skills to run applications on Linux and Java platforms.

Grasshopper 2.0 enables deployment of applications on the Apache Tomcat Java servlet container; Mainsoft's Visual MainWin provides the same functionality for deploying applications with commercial application servers.

New features in version 2.0 include support of the Visual Studio 2005 IDE and the .Net Framework 2.0. Also, C# developers can use the new IDE as well as C# 2.0 features and ASP.Net controls to develop Web applications.

The free Grasshopper 2.0 Technology Preview also can be used to port the Microsoft Personal Web Site Starter Kit to run on Tomcat.

"[Developers] can keep programming in VB.Net, C# [and] ASP.Net from Visual Studio and create applications which will run cross-platform on Linux, and we do that by using the open source .Net Framework," which is Mono, said Yaacov Cohen, president and CEO of Mainsoft.

With Grasshopper, the Microsoft intermediate language is compiled to Java byte code. Mono, meanwhile, features compiler tools and class libraries as well as a runtime engine for executing .Net applications.

A user and reseller of Mainsoft's technology cited its use in an application that required integration between Java and .Net systems. The software enabled Segway Software to write code in C# and reference Java Archive files and byte code inside a .Net environment, said Jon Taylor, CEO at Segway.

"It allowed us to basically write in one language that was familiar to us and then port the Web service to a J2EE Web server that we could then use to run it on," Taylor said. Although he has not yet used Grasshopper 2.0, Taylor said he looked forward to being able to leverage .Net Framework 2.0.

The general release of Grasshopper 2.0 is planned for the end of the first quarter of 2007. The preview is available online.

Visual Studio 2005 integration and .Net 2.0 functionality will be added to Visual MainWin early in 2007.

In another integration-related announcement in the tools arena, Sun Microsystems has announced availability of an installation program bundling the NetBeans IDE and the JBoss application server. NetBeans is an open source tools project championed by Sun.

"NetBeans and JBoss work well together out of the box for creating Java EE (Enterprise Edition) apps," said Judith Lilenfeld, a product engineering manager at NetBeans.

"[The bundle] registers the app server with the IDE so the user can do their start, stop, deploy," functions from within the IDE to the application server, Lilenfeld said.

"The integration of JBoss Application Server with NetBeans is about simplifying enterprise Java development and giving developers choice when it comes to their development environment. In addition, this partnership with Sun underscores JBoss' longstanding commitment to supporting multiple hardware, software, and tools platforms," said Ram Venkataraman, JBoss director of product management, in a prepared statement released by JBoss.

The package features the JBoss 4.0.4 application server, which is J2EE 1.4-compatible rather than Java EE 5-compataible. Future releases of the bundle will round out the features of the application server as JBoss moves closer to being Java EE 5 compatible.

The NetBeans platform supported in the package is the NetBeans 5.5 Beta 2 release. The final version of NetBeans 5.5 is due by October or November.

Developers can download the bundle here

Also, JetBrains ( on Thursday is announcing JetBrains dotTrace 2.0 beta, which is a tool for profiling .Net applications. Memory profiling is featured, as is integration with the Visual Studio IDE. Windows services in the new release can be profiled in the same way as Web applications, the company said.

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