Write/Edit Java Code in Visual Studio with JNBridge's Java.VS

It will soon be possible to write and edit Java code entirely from within the Visual Studio IDE, thanks to an upgrade of JNBridge's namesake general purpose Java/.NET interoperability tool. The company is billing its newly unveiled Java.VS as a first-of-its-kind Java extension for Microsoft's venerable software development environment. The company announced an early-access program last week that's set to start in Q4.

This is a complete system, JNBridge CTO Wayne Citrin explained, that supports all of Visual Studio's essential features, including IntelliSense, auto-completion, error detection, debugging, compiling, and building. It also supports Visual Studio source code control tools, he said, and, like other JNBridge products, Java.VS can be used to build solutions for any industry or application. Development teams currently using Visual Studio and all its Professional and Enterprise features can even use Java.VS to develop integrated software, Citrin said.

"The whole idea is to give Java developers the same familiar Visual Studio experience that C#, C++, F#, and Visual Basic developers get," he said, "but also to provide all the capabilities they expect in a Java IDE. As you might have guessed, we're making use of JNBridgePro to do this in the background; we're using it under the hood to make this work."

The Boulder, Colo.-based company's namesake product is a general purpose Java/.NET interoperability tool designed to bridge anything Java to .NET, and vice versa. The tool allows developers to access the entire API from either platform. It connects Java and .NET Framework-based components and applications with simple-to-use Visual Studio and Eclipse plug-ins that remove the complexities of cross-platform interoperability.

Not surprisingly, Citrin sees the Java.VS extension as an unequivocal win-win. "It adds Java to the list of languages that can be developed using Visual Studio," he explained. "It makes one of the top IDEs available to Java developers."

"We think this is a very natural thing to do," he added, "certainly for us, anyway. Visual Studio is the most popular IDE, but with one glaring gap: no Java. Lots of VS users like Java, and they think it's a pain to have to fire up, say, an Eclipse IDE, and then switch back and forth."

The announcement comes amid a flurry of activity and announcements around Java: the release of a modularized Java SE 9, the release of Java EE 8 and Oracle's decision to move enterprise Java to the Eclipse Foundation; the company's exploration of a possible accelerated release cadence of Java SE and the JDK. JNBridge itself grabbed headlines in March when it added support for the new version of Microsoft's Visual Studio tool suite to JNBridgePro 8.1 release.

Citrin said that Microsoft has been supportive of the Java.VS project, even to the point of providing some resources. "It's not that surprising, really," he said. "They've been very encouraging, because everybody wins here."

JNBridge is opening an early access program in October for developers, and Citrin expects to release the extension in January 2018. The company is also planning a number of demos at the upcoming JavaOne conference in San Francisco.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].