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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

The second prong in Microsoft Corp's Java developer strategy has come into play, with the launch of its latest .NET programming language.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft opened its TechEd Europe 2002 conference in Barcelona, Spain, yesterday releasing Visual J Sharp .NET - an update to Visual J++.

Visual J Sharp.NET plugs programmers using Visual J++, Microsoft's version of Java, into the Visual Studio.NET development environment and the .NET Framework.

Microsoft called Visual J Sharp.NET the industry's first Java language tool with XML support. Visual J Sharp.NET is not approved of by Sun Microsystems Inc, includes no Sun technology and does not plug into a Java framework.

Analyst Gartner predicts Visual J Sharp.NET is unlikely to attract more than five percent of Java programmers. The majority of the Java community use non-Microsoft versions of the language for its cross-platform capabilities and independence from Microsoft.

Instead, this launch represents the second prong of a strategy highlighting Microsoft's love-hate relationship with Java. That first prong is designed to get developers off of Microsoft's version of Java and onto C Sharp - the company's entirely new programming language.

Microsoft hopes to do this via the planned Java Language Conversation Assistant (JCLA), currently in beta, which migrates Visual J++ to C Sharp and Java Sever Pages to Active Server pages.

Microsoft's partner ArtinSoft is backing this part of the strategy, with the Java Language Conversion Assistant Enterprise Edition (JCLA EE). This converts J2EE 1.3 source code and Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) 2.0 to C Sharp.

Microsoft said it is giving .NET developers increased choice. Tony Goodhew, Microsoft .NET framework group product manager, said: "People may elect to move some components to C Sharp and leave the bulk in Java."

Goodhew said Microsoft remained committed to its version of Java. The company's Java Virtual Machine, to be re-instated in Windows XP via that operating system's first service pack this summer, will be cancelled after 2004.

Microsoft blamed its settlement with Palo Alto, California-based Sun in January 2001 which it said meant the company's Java technology licenses from Sun could not be updated after this date.

Unlike the JVM, Goodhew said Visual J Sharp is safe because it does not use any of Sun's technology. "Planning has already started on the next version of Visual Studio.NET. We think Visual J Sharp .NET is going to be very attractive in the academic communities. This is not a transitional product."

© ComputerWire

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