Global IPTV .NET software provider opens channel to Java

If you had 90 days to port IPTV software from Microsoft .NET to Java running on Tomcat, you’d have a problem Noam Fogel knows well.

Fogel is vice president of research and development for Infogate Online Ltd., a Tel Aviv, Israel-based provider of software used by telcos and cable operators to offer video and games on demand to their customers.

The perception may be that most software telcos use is Java-based, but that is not the case with Infogate’s OnDema software platform. Written in C#, the IPTV software used in North and South America, Europe and throughout the world was developed on Microsoft .NET, Fogel explains.

Infogate describes OnDema as a multi-tier distributed Web application that manages the distribution of TV channels, video on demand, pay-per-view and games on demand directly to end users. The application uses ASP.NET and ADO.NET and contains approximately 500,000 lines of C# code.

But last year a customer in the Far East requested a J2EE version. Not wanting to be cut off from the Java half of the world, Infogate wanted to move in that direction.

So it fell to Fogel to figure out how to do it. He briefly considered completely rewriting the code in Java.

"We have a couple people in the company who are familiar with that technology," he says. Outsourcing the rewrite was also considered.

However, the best estimate for the total rewrite was 18 months, which meant losing possible business not only with the Far East customer but with other J2EE-based telcos and cable operators.

Instead, Fogel opted for porting the code. After a brief evaluation period, Infogate selected Visual MainWin from Mainsoft, which is designed for developing and maintaining .NET and J2EE applications from within Visual Studio.

With help from Mainsoft consulting services, Fogel was able to move the .NET application to Tomcat 5 running on Sun Solaris 8. As Mainsoft describes the project "less than one percent of the C# code had to be modified to overcome inherent differences between .NET and J2EE code and to integrate with third-party components required by the application."

But as Fogel recalls the conversion, "It was not automatic."

His advice to other development managers looking at similar projects is to be prepared to alter some code to facilitate the conversion process and also rewrite some code, although he says that was "a very little" part of the process.

A Mainsoft spokesperson says the latest version of MainWin smooths out some code problems Fogel encountered.

The bottom line was that in 90 days, Fogel had both the original .NET product and a new Java version of Infogate’s on-demand IPTV software platform.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.