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.NET Making Gains Against Java, Survey Says

Who's ahead: Microsoft Corp.'s .NET or Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java Platform Enterprise Edition (Java EE)?

Five years in and counting, the battle still rages with no clear victor. However, according to a new survey, .NET appears to be widening its lead over Java EE, as the latest revision of the erstwhile Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) specification is now called. Given the volatility of the .NET/Java EE match-up, that could easily change.

Last year, for example, a survey from development consultancy Evans Data Corp. identified a clear trend in favor of Java development, even though .NET still retained a narrow lead. Thirty-one percent of developers said they planned to tap .NET as their platform of choice for SOA development; 28 percent cited Java.

Evans Data flagged a steep decline in the percentage of developers who expressed a preference for using .NET as a platform for their SOA activities, citing a 20 percent drop in just a six-month period.

This year, the reverse seems to be the case.

According to a new survey from Evans Data, .NET is once again outpacing Java. The survey, which polled 350 developers at enterprise shops with 1,000 or more employees, found that three-fifths (60 percent) of respondents indicated that their .NET investments were growing; fully half said they planned to add additional .NET development personnel.

"These survey results confirm that .NET applications are pervasive in large enterprises and their acceptance and dependability is continuing to increase," said Mike Allen, director of product management for CA Wily Technology, in a statement. CA Inc. -- which markets application performance management (APM) tooling (and which claims that the Evans Data results underscore the importance of effective APM programs) -- is a sponsor of the survey.

There might be something to CA's claims. What's surprising is how much enterprise IT organizations are spending on their next-gen application architecture investments -- particularly for .NET products. More than half of respondents said they're spending about a quarter of their IT application budgets on .NET development or support, while a staggering one-fifth of respondents say they're spending between 75 and 100 percent this way.

Also surprising is the non-partisan heterogeneity of today's enterprise application architectures. Many shops are supporting mixed .NET and Java EE deployments, Evans Data said. A clear majority of respondents said their organizations maintain both .NET and Java groups, for example.

It's a sign of the times, according to industry veteran Jasmine Noel, a principal with consultancy Ptak, Noel & Associates.

"An increasing number of enterprises are realizing the benefits of deploying applications built on both .NET and Java. However, with those benefits come the challenges of managing a heterogeneous environment coupled with the unique issues of both development architectures," Noel said in a prepared statement.

Elsewhere, .NET developers are far more likely than Java coders to blame changes -- at both the application level and in the back-end -- for slowdowns. Java users, on the other hand, disproportionately cite memory leaks and out-of-memory conditions as triggers for application failure.

.NET users were also more likely to cite issues with connectivity to back-end transaction systems, including mainframe systems. Java users, conversely, seem to generate or encounter more bugs. They're also more likely to find fault with JVM or architecture issues than are .NET users (with the .NET CLR, that is).

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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