Java/.NET Interop Provider Offering New Bridges in the Cloud

Java/.NET interoperability solutions provider JNBridge is jumping deep into the cloud with a major update of its flagship toolset. The Boulder, Colo.-based maker of tools that connect Java and .NET Framework-based components and apps announced today that JNBridgePro 6.0. will come with new features that company CTO Wayne Citrin says "allow developers to access both .NET-based and Java-based cloud services and APIs from ground or cloud-based clients written in the other platform, and to develop cloud-based services and APIs that incorporate both Java and .NET-based components."

Citrin unveiled the new version of JNBridgePro at the Glue Conference, under way this week in Broomfield, Colo. The actual release date is June 6.

"It does everything it did before, but in the cloud," Citrin said in a pre-conference interview. "Our motto has always been 'interoperability everywhere,' and this is another step to making sure that happens."

In a nutshell, the new version of JNBridgePro supports Java/.NET interoperability projects where one or both of the end points are in the cloud. RedMonk analyst Michael Coté says there's a growing need for tools and services that integrate "this spaghetti bowl of end-points."

"Cloud-hosted end-points tend to be a lot more API friendly than traditional applications, if only by following simpler Web services approaches," Coté said. "But there is no universal fix for incompatible data standards in the cloud. True, there are de facto plumbing 'standards,' like JSON, REST, OAuth, and others that have emerged, and the favor that cloud applications tend to give dynamic, quick languages like JavaScript opens the possibility for faster and easier coding when it comes to doing integration work. But that integration work -- coding -- still needs to be done, and even more so when pre-cloud technologies like the Java and .NET worlds supported by JNBridge are taken into account."

"At the end of the day," he added, "there are still no universal data formats [that] can be relied on to automate this passing of data seamlessly between different systems; developers still need to put in work to make incompatible end-points talk to each other, even if the cloud makes those end-points more 'friendly.'"

JNBridgePro is designed to connect Java and .NET Framework-based components and applications with Visual Studio and Eclipse plug-ins that remove the complexities of cross-platform interoperability. Version 6.0 of the product extends that interoperability to the cloud in three ways, Citrin explained: intra-cloud, where both platforms live in the same cloud (either in the same or different instances); inter-cloud, where the instances belong to different clouds; and both ground-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground, where the interoperability is between a cloud instance and an application running on the ground.

"Cloud-to-cloud is all about mixing and matching of services, and they just have to work together," Citrin explained. "Cloud-to-ground is really about all the making sure that anybody who could possibly use your service use it, regardless of the technology on their end.

JNBridge began exploring the idea of interoperability in the cloud in 2009 with "Project Lightning," which the company showed off that year at JavaOne. The company demoed new software at the conference that showed Java-based clients accessing Azure (.NET-based) services, including support for Azure Cloud Drives, which showed how legacy apps can run in the cloud by simulating access to non-existent legacy facilities, such as the registry and file system.

"We learned a lot from that [project]," Citrin said. "We found that doing Java/.NET interoperability in the cloud was actually easier to do in the cloud with JNBridgePro than with other integration mechanisms, like service buses and cloud-based object brokers, because you didn't have to worry about creating special wrappers. You just had to take the processes, plug them in, and go for it. We took that knowledge and packaged it up in new capabilities in JNBridgePro."

There's a whole world outside Java and .NET, Coté observed, but the two platforms are "universes in themselves" that need plenty of help -- which bodes well for JNBridge's move to the cloud.

"There's so much valuable data and process locked in Java and .NET applications that can't just be left behind in whatever cloudy future is out there -- and refactoring all of that to be cloud friendly would be an onerous task," he said. "Instead, you need tools that help modernize those pools."

JNBridgePro 6.0 will be generally available on June 6. More information is available on the product download page here.

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].