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December 17, 2002: The gulf between
the Microsoft and J2EE worlds may not be as huge as it appears. From Web
services to tools which let .Net run on anything from Linux to IBM mainframes, a
growing number of ways of bridging the gap are beginning to appear.
Java or .Net? That's the first, and
perhaps the most fundamental, decision anyone building a new application today
has to face.
For many companies, however, it's not Java OR .Net, it's Java AND .Net.
That's because for a variety of reasons, including acquisitions and mergers,
even a company which has decided to standardize on one of the two platforms may
end up with both architectures.
"The reality for most companies today," says Dennis Gaughan,
research director at AMR Research, "is that they are going to have a mix of
both the .Net and the J2EE worlds."
That is echoed by Scott
Dietzen, chief technology officer for application server vendor BEA Systems.
"Java and .Net are going to compete and co-exist," he says.
For many firms which find themselves using both platforms, Web services
offers a way to connect the two worlds. XML, SOAP and other Web services
standards supported by both the Java camp and Microsoft allow .Net and Java
applications to talk to each other.
But the convenience offered by Web services comes with a price. Web services
consume more CPU and network resources than applications built using either .Net
or J2EE, according to Dietzen. "It's not out of line to think that you're
going to double the processing cost for an XML communication over a binary
object communication," he says.
Fortunately, other options are emerging which hold out the possibility of
bridging the two worlds.
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