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Java EE and .NET Interoperability

Coping strategies for co-existence

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Book review This book is aimed at practising Java and .NET developers, at a fairly novice level, who want to take advantage of the strong points of each of the two platforms in a single applications environment.

It also aims to be suitable for IT architects and managers needing an overview of what Java and .NET integration technologies are available. It is not a detailed programmer’s cookbook, nor a collection of interoperability design patterns.

It is also not (thankfully, perhaps) a set of standards specifications. It is, in essence, a catalogue of .Net and Java EE integration strategies. However, it adds to this basic catalogue, an introduction to each of the .Net and Java EE platforms (useful if you're unfamiliar with "the other side") and sections on integration of QoS (Quality of Service) and practical Porting/Implementation (which, here, means moving .NET applications to Java EE).

The book claims to be technology and vendor neutral, which claim it seems to meet, more or less - Mainsoft and "Porting Using Visual MainWin for Java EE" gets a chapter to itself , but this is quite validly an interesting product in this space.

It acknowledges endorsements and contributions from a slew of industry luminaries from Sun, Microsoft and Mainsoft amongst others, ranging from Dan'l Lewin and Bill Smith to God; and, as Greg Papadopoulos (CTO of Sun Microsystems) says on his Foreword, “it is truly an exciting time for Sun and Microsoft”, since they officially became friends at last in April 2004.

However, the authors mostly come from Sun (one is from Mainsoft) and it is copyright Sun. So, they generally seem to accept the assumption that Java EE is superior to .Net based on "security, scalability and manageability merits, as well as the fact that much of the logic required to make applications highly available, reliable and performant is already developed as part of Java EE application servers".

Some might disagree with this view, although Java EE is certainly the choice many will feel most secure with for business critical enterprise computing. And, as I’ve mentioned, “implementation” is largely about porting from .Net to Java EE rather than the other way round (quite fairly, nevertheless, the book freely admits that .NET's strong point is its productivity).

The claims made in this book’s introduction all seem to be satisfied reasonably well, although it does, in fact, mention quite a lot of patterns and give plenty of code examples (no bad thing). It certainly needs readers with a practical knowledge of coding and, despite talking about the “novice”, seems detailed enough to be useful beyond that stage. For managers etc it covers essential topics such as Java security interoperability.

I’m not sure that the book’s structure is as effective an aid to readability as it promises, but it makes a brave attempt and the book is readable enough. You also get access to a free online edition for 45 days, but this requires registration and my copy of the book had a coupon for a different work altogether, so I haven’t evaluated this option. It’s dated 2006 but probably still needs some updating for Web 2.0, although I doubt that this will be a big problem in practice. I think this is a useful book, in a vital field that cuts across 2 cultures and so may well not be covered well in other works.

Java EE and .NET Interoperability

Verdict: Even though this book is written from a Java point of view, it succeeds in being reasonably technology neutral, as long as you don’t want to migrate from Java to .Net particularly. It is a catalogue of integration strategies which is detailed enough to be useful but with material that makes it suitable both for novice (but practising) programmers and for reasonably technical managers.

Author: Marina Fisher, Rai Lai, Sonu Sharma and Laurence Moroney

Publisher: Prentice Hall

ISBN: 0131472232

Media: Book

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