Sun, Oracle Partner Against .NET
Sun Microsystems Inc.
- By Scott Bekker
and Oracle Corp.
fired a collective shot
across Microsoft Corp.'s
bow when the two companies took the wraps off of a new development services toolkit - dubbed Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) - that they hope will lure developers away from the
software giant's competing .NET initiative.
Not coincidentally, Microsoft Tuesday also unveiled its most
significant .NET offerings to date. Redmond announced a Beta 2 release
of the forthcoming Visual Studio .NET development environment - which
will bundle the company's much anticipated .NET framework, as well as a
raft of programming tools, including its new C# programming language.
Sun and Oracle are both betting that many of Microsoft's existing
customers will balk at the prospect of completely re-writing their
existing application infrastructures to take advantage of the software
giant's new .NET framework. In the same way, representatives from both
vendors maintain, potential Microsoft customers could also be turned off
by uncertainly surrounding the new and as-yet-unproven .NET framework.
A programming architect with a professional services firm based in the
Northeast suggests that all three vendors could be miscalculating,
"If you don't have anything yet and you're deciding what technology to
use, yeah, it could be a legitimate strategy," he comments. "But I'm not
going to ditch something that works to move to either platform, just
because Microsoft, Sun or Oracle say I should. What's my incentive for
As a result, analysts say, Sun and Oracle are trying to sell IT
organizations on the idea that the .NET framework - which is heavily
dependent upon the C# programming language - actually handicaps them by
locking them even further into Microsoft's "proprietary grip." In this
respect, the two companies are positioning J2EE - which is based upon
the (relatively open) Java standard - as a "white knight" development
platform that can help IT organizations preserve their existing
infrastructure investments and gear up for the next-generation
applications and services of the future.
To this end, Oracle Tuesday announced the Oracle Migration Kit for
Active Server Pages (ASP), a J2EE toolkit that the company says offers a
phased migration strategy which enables customers to move at their own
pace from a platform based on Microsoft technologies (ASP, IIS, Windows
NT 4.0/2000, SQL Server) to a Java-based infrastructure that leverages
JavaServer Pages (JSP).
Not surprisingly, the solution proposed by the two vendors also heavily
leverage's Sun's Solaris 8 operating system and Oracle's Oracle 9i
database and application server.
For years, the learning curve associated with Sun's Java programming
language has widely been viewed as involved - a conception that Redmond
has done much to promote, for obvious reasons. This time around,
however, Microsoft itself is asking developers to embrace a new and more
sophisticated programming language - C# - that Sun and Oracle both claim
is hobbled by a not insignificant learning curve of its own.
But because the.NET framework provides support for what Microsoft calls
a "Common Language Runtime" environment, prospective .NET developers can
actually write their applications in any of several different
programming languages and still successfully run their code in
VisualStudio.NET. Conversely, J2EE restricts developers to using the
Java programming language. -- Stephen Swoyer
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.