Mainsoft gives latest .NET developers a means to deploy widely without knowing Java

Mainsoft is offering a pragmatic approach to gaining a wide choice of deployment environments, including C/C++. The approach helps open C# developers to Java, and vice versa. It extends the utility of Visual Studio. And if provides flexibility in both runtime and design time. There's a portals-specific benefit too in that developers can attach back to portals in many environments: mainframes, Unix, Linux, and Windows.

Mainsoft Corp. has sweetened the interoperability pot for .NET developers who want to run applications on Linux, Unix and Java EE platforms. The company today announced Version 2.0 of its Mainsoft for Java EE, which allows developers to code in the latest Visual Studio and run the applications on Java EE platforms without rewriting code or learning new development skills.

The benefit to mid-size ISVs that have strong .NET skills is they can bring their wares from one code base to more enterprises that care to run Unix or Linux. And these developers don't need to learn Java. This helps Visual Studio establish itself solely in such ISVs. There are plenty of places where the support of both Windows and Unix continues, and that probably won't change much for years.

Previously named Visual MainWin for J2EE, the product suite received initial rave reviews from such publications as Computer Reseller News and InfoWorld. The latest version ups the ante on the previous release by introducing support for Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 IDE, the .NET Framework 2.0, ASP.NET 2.0 controls, role-based security, and C# generics.

There's also support for Ajax, Apollo and Atlas client functionality.

According to Mainsoft, the new version springs from the company's four-year collaboration with Mono, the Novell-sponsored open-source development initiative for a multi-platform version of .NET technologies.

In announcing the release of the new version, Mainsoft pointed to several case studies from developers who had taken advantage of the 2.0 technology preview.

  • Hector Armando Rodriguez Esparza, a developer from Mexico, was able to port Microsoft's Small Business Site Starter Kit to run on Linux in less than four hours.

  • Urix, Inc., a predictive modeling software company, extended its proprietary logic and analytics calculation engine to open systems without having to rewrite more than 150,000 lines of C# code.

  • Janison, an Australian e-learning company, said that the decision to write its software in .NET previously limited its ability to compete for contracts, but that Mainsoft for Java EE had allowed it to successfully bid on a contract to deliver both .NET and Unix deployments.

Mainsoft for Java EE v. 2.0 comes in three editions:

  • The Developer Edition: Freely available and designed for individual developers and small-group deployments on Apache Tomcat, this edition contains development and runtime licenses free of charge.

  • The Enterprise Edition: Designed for enterprise developer and multi-CPU deployments, in includes an integrated development support for IBM WebSphere Application Server and Tomcat; the ability to deploy to standard Java EE servers such as JBoss and BEA WebLogic; multi-CPU capabilities; and the ability to programmatically interact with native Java class libraries and directly invoke their class methods.

  • The Portal Edition: This enables enterprises to populate Java EE portals, such as the IBM WebSphere Portal, with ASP.NET 2.0 applications and services, such as SQL 2005 Reporting Services, in a tightly integrated front-end SOA.

Mainsoft is offering a pragmatic approach to gaining a wide choice of deployment environments, including C/C++. The approach helps open C# developers to Java, and vice versa. It extends the utility of Visual Studio. And if provides flexibility in both runtime and design time. There's a portals-specific benefit too in that developers can attach back to portals in many environments: mainframes, Unix, Linux, and Windows.

Microsoft has been pointing to co-existence between Linux and Windows as a goal its customers are calling for. Why limit the benefits to Linux? Write once in Visual Studio, and run anywhere. Still makes sense to me.