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Visual J# .NET Goes Gold

Microsoft delivered the last major language for its Visual Studio .NET integrated development environment on Monday, posting the gold code of the Visual J# .NET language to the Web some four months after releasing the rest of the developer kit.

"It effectively rounds out the strategy we have of providing all the languages in Visual Studio to build on the .NET Framework," says Tony Goodhew, Microsoft product manager for Visual J# .NET.

The language is available as a free download for customers who have bought Visual Studio .NET, which launched in February. The download is available at www.msdn.microsoft.com/vjsharp/. Customers can also request it via CD. Boxed versions of Visual Studio .NET will include Visual J# .NET after Aug. 20.

Goodhew says the language got onto a different development cycle than the rest of the suite and its included languages: Visual C# .NET, Visual Basic .NET, Visual C++ .NET. Microsoft was prohibited by its settlement with Java language owner Sun Microsystems Inc. from further customizing Visual J++ 6.0, one of the key languages in Visual Studio 6.0. In effect, Microsoft has created a new language with a similar result, giving developers a Java-like experience with a proprietary Microsoft language. A major feature of the tool is the ability to migrate Visual J++ 6.0 code.

Asked why Microsoft performed in his words "a ton of work to marry the Java language model to the .NET Framework" instead of supporting Sun's Java, Goodhew shifted the blame to Sun.

"There's been a tremendous amount of history between ourselves and Sun in the Java space," Goodhew says. "If Sun wanted to implement Java [on the .NET Framework, in a way similar to what Fujitsu has done with COBOL], we'd be happy to do that," Goodhew says.

Sun cited Visual J# .NET as a supporting example in a new lawsuit filed this year that alleges, among other charges, that Microsoft used and continues to use its monopoly power to fragment Java.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is pushing ahead with plans to develop future versions of Visual J#. "We've already started planning on the next version of Visual J#," Goodhew says.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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