In-Depth

.NET and Java: No real integration yet

Most customers do not require any serious .NET and Java integration. That is a good thing, since it cannot fully happen yet. And given the lawsuits and general bad blood between Microsoft and Sun, most people are not banking on anything breaking on the integration front anytime soon.

''Integration is problematic because [applications] run on different platforms,'' said Adam Wallace, vice president of research and development at Flashline Inc., a Cleveland component testing vendor. ''If you're running a J2EE application server, you won't be able to run those .NET components, barring some third-party software that would make the application servers interoperable.''

If it is an immediate need, he suggests setting up the .NET and Java applications on two servers and then accessing them as Web services. But, he added, ''I haven't seen a big need for this; our customers aren't doing this yet.''

Theresa Lanowitz, research director at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc., agrees. ''People are in the really early stages of figuring out Web services. Eventually, enterprises will have to deal with both'' platforms, she said, but right now customers are mostly experimenting with one or the other.

Many insiders are pinning their hopes on the Web Services Interoperability (WSI) Organization as a means of bringing the Java and .NET camps closer together. Formed in February, the group is attempting to identify common standards, applications, best practices and tools, among other things, to help all Web services interoperate. Although their target is the fall, it will likely be next year before major vendors start to implement whatever WSI comes up with. And right now, Sun is not a WSI member -- so it is iffy whether Java will play in this sandbox at all.

''I don't think the platform vendors are ready to bring their communities together yet,'' said Peter Varhol, a product manager at testing vendor Compuware. ''They point to Web services as a way to integrate, but I think that's a cop-out. I think most enterprises want to use both Java and Microsoft for different parts of application development, and it behooves us all to find more integration points between the two.''

See the related stories, 'Testing key to component quality,' 'Testing Web services: Even more complex,' 'Representative testing tools,' 'Create your own tests for Java/EJB code' and 'Extending the testing process'.

About the Author

Johanna Ambrosio is a freelance writer based in Marlborough, Mass., specializing in technology and business. Contact her at jambrosio@earthlink.net.

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