Tool lets Visual Studio developers build Java apps

Mainsoft says new offering bridges .Net-Java gap without need for new code

Mainsoft Wednesday unveiled a suite of tools it says will enable Visual Studio developers to build .Net Web and server applications that can run on Linux or other Java-enabled platforms without writing new code.

Mainsoft for Java EE 2.0 (formerly called Visual MainWin for J2EE) adds support for Visual Studio 2005, the .Net framework 2.0, ASP.Net 2.0 controls and C#, said Yaacov Cohen, president and CEO of Mainsoft.

As a result, companies can use Microsoft's Visual Studio development tools to build applications to run on Java servers or portals, he added.

"Everybody is bridging [Java and .Net]," Cohen said. "We are actually enabling Java to support multiple languages. Now developers can use C#, Visual Basic and .Net and get the scalability of the Java platform."

Cohen said the new Mainsoft tool can overcome Java and .Net interoperability challenges when building a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and can add support for both technologies in enterprise portals.

Atul Mistry, vice president of technology at Urix, a company that builds analytic software for health care companies, said that his company has saved about US$200,000 a year since it started using earlier versions of the Mainsoft tool in 2005. He noted that the company used the tool set rather than hire an engineer to work on adding Unix support to its .Net-based software, a key requirement of some customers.

"[Mainsoft] allows us to effectively maintain one skill set," Mistry said. "We don't have to go out and hire Java programmers to help support Unix environments. We can standardize on one code base, one coding language, but still be able to support Unix as well as Windows."

Urix plans to begin using the 2.0 version of the tool by early next month, he added.

Mainsoft for Java EE 2.0 is available now in three editions:

- The Developer Edition, which is free and is designed for individual developers or small groups building applications for Apache Tomcat.

- The Enterprise Edition, which is designed for corporate developers and for developing software to run on multiprocessor-based systems. It includes integrated development support for IBM WebSphere Application Server and Tomcat and the ability to run applications on JBoss and BEA JEE software.

- The Portal Edition, which allows companies to populate Java EE portals with ASP.Net 2.0 applications and services like SQL 2005 Reporting Services in an SOA. .Net developers can use Mainsoft for Java EE Portlets to build Java portlets that run locally on the Java portal.

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