Originating publication
May 18, 1998, Issue: 789
Section: Software

JAVA Takes Further Evolutionary Steps -- Microsoft Releases Next Beta Of Visual J++
Los Angeles -- Advancing its vision of Java, Microsoft Corp. recently released a beta of its Visual J++ 6.0 and gave developers an inkling of how the software giant will follow up its flavor of Java.

Nearly 500 developers at the first Microsoft Visual J++ Conference and Exposition received the beta last month, which is an integral part of the lawsuit currently being waged by Java creator Sun Microsystems Inc., Mountain View, Calif.

Sun said Microsoft's modifications violate the Internet programming language's license and are an attempt to freeze out competitors and preserve its Windows monopoly. Microsoft denies the allegation and challenges both the pure Java concept and the promised cross-platform applications.

"[Having] cross-platform applications is not an end-user advantage," said Anders Hejlsberg, Microsoft's architect for its Visual J++ line. "The advantages are technical and tend to benefit the developer. The end user uses the same platform, [operating system] and applications. All they want is what runs on their machine best."

Microsoft's flavor of Java stresses the importance of a productive development environment and efficient code compilation, he said. Efficient execution can only be achieved by allowing direct calls to the Windows Foundation Classes, which are the underlining components for controlling the interface, Hejlsberg added.

VARs can use components such as ActiveX and Microsoft Management Console to easily build business tools, he said.

Microsoft, Redmond, Wash., is attempting to create a groundswell of converts to the Java platform by appealing to universities to include Java as part of their course curricula. About 10 percent of conference participants were professors.

Seton Hall University is standardizing on Java, said Bert Wachsmuth, professor of math and computer science at the university.

"We went from Pascal to C++ but wanted to avoid many of the C++ idiosyncrasies, such as compiler directives," he said. "We also desired a language that is more strongly typed, fun to use, and most importantly, object-oriented. Java provides all this and more. It allows our students to get right to the GUI interface in an object-oriented way and use the language for higher courses such as networking and distributed applications."