Enterprise CIOs typically have to make a platform decision about whether they will run enterprise applications on JavaEE or .NET 2.0. It's a decision that can also limit the development options available to developers.
Software vendor Mainsoft has been offering an open source Mono-based .NET solution called Visual MainWin, which helped solve the issue for .NET 1.1 deployments on Java J2EE servers. Mainsoft has now updated and re-branded their solution to Mainsoft for Java EE, version 2.0 in a bid to help enterprise CIOs deploy both .NET and Java on the same production platform.
"The idea is to enable .NET developers to create enterprise Web applications from Visual Studio that can be deployed cross platform so they can deploy to any Java-enabled platform, like Linux," Yaacov Cohen, president and CEO of Mainsoft,
Cohen argued that with Mainsoft for Java EE 2.0, enterprises will have the flexibility to develop on either Java or .NET and be able to deploy on the Java platform infrastructure. The fundamental difference between the new version of Mainsoft 2.0 and the older Visual MainWin product is that it now supports .NET Framework 2.0, ASP.NET 2.0 controls and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.
"It was a lot of work for us to upgrade from .NET 1.1 to .NET 2.0, which is three times bigger," Cohen said.
Mainsoft 2.0 does not support all aspects of the .NET 2.0 framework. Support for Windows forms is not entirely complete, though Cohen argued that Mainsoft 2.0 provides all the necessary components for enterprise Web applications. Windows forms are generally considered to be key for rich-client applications.
Nor are there any performance gains in the release, though Cohen said that the new version will maintain equivalent performance with native .NET 2.0 production deployment.
Mainsoft's main barrier to adoption isn't a performance-related one, though. "It's really too good to be true and that's our biggest issue right now," Cohen said. "We have to show to the market that this actually works. We've got 20,000 registered users now; it's just about educating the market."
The challenge, Cohen said, is to try and keep pace with Microsoft's most current .NET framework developments. While Mainsoft 2.0 now provides support for .NET 2.0, Microsoft is focusing its development efforts on .NET 3.0.
"Large enterprises are already looking at .NET .3.0, and for us there is a lot of relevance when you look at workflow and communication foundation," Cohen said. "We're going to work on this as the next step for us to support at least some of it -- anything we need to support the next generation of Web applications."