Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, Ed Featherston, Jason Bloomberg, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Building Pure Java Apps Using Visual Studio

How to mix cats and dogs

We all know and love the Microsoft Visual Studio IDE, but did you know that you can use it to create Web and server applications that run on open systems such as Solaris or Linux? Urix, a predictive modeling software company and Mainsoft customer since 2005, is doing just that.

Urix
In January 2005, Urix migrated the development of its RiskSmart calculation engine from C to C#. RiskSmart consists of 150,000 lines of C# code and executes as a set of .NET assemblies, with no user interface, as part of a comprehensive solution for analyzing health care risks and associated costs.

However, according to Atul Mistry, vice-president of technology at Urix, the product's reliance on Windows and .NET effectively limited its market potential. "Our business partners have standardized on Unix, and virtually all of our largest health care insurance customers have Unix-only requirements in their datacenters, running on AIX, HP-UX, or Solaris. We figured we could convince some of the insurance companies to use Windows and .NET, but this wouldn't solve the significant sales barrier we faced. We also considered delivering RiskSmart as a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering, but the healthcare industry is not yet ready for this type of approach. Bottom line is we would lose significant business opportunities if we didn't deliver a Unix deployment."

Mistry considered rewriting RiskSmart in Java and maintaining two source bases. He estimated the rewrite would take two person-years for the initial port to Java, plus two Java developers on an ongoing basis to support ongoing maintenance and enhancement costs. "This approach would cost on the order of $200,000 annually," he explains.

Instead, Mistry chose Mainsoft's cross-compilation software, Mainsoft for Java EE. The software plugs into the Visual Studio development environment and compiles Microsoft's Common Intermediate Language (CIL) into Java bytecode. It also supports a long-term single source code development strategy across .NET and Java.

"The initial port of RiskSmart to Java using Mainsoft took about two person-weeks," Mistry said. "The port was exceptionally easy in part because the ported Java code ran directly on a Java VM. Because there was no user interface component to RiskSmart, there were no complexities associated with an application server. There were only a couple of things we had to do manually," he explained. "We used log4net, an Apache project, as our logging utility, and we simply had to switch that to log4j during the port. The second thing was that we used a lot of XML, and there are some inconsistencies between Microsoft XML and other implementations. Mainsoft's support team helped us resolve both these issues very quickly."

According to Mistry, "There's no apparent performance difference between the .NET and Java versions of the application. We take a minor performance hit in our current Java release because .NET 1.1 doesn't support generics and requires us to use boxing (or casting) in our code, which can have a negative effect on Java performance. We expect the minor performance gap will be eliminated when we upgrade to .NET 2.0 and take full advantage of generics, which is supported by Mainsoft, in lieu of boxing."

RiskSmart is currently in its third Java release and is now in production at virtually all of its largest health insurance customers' data centers, supporting 70% of all lives that are analyzed by the RiskSmart calculation engine. The development team builds the application nightly, and then executes Mainsoft to build the Java port. "Most product testing occurs on the .NET version, with some testing done on the Java side to assure its integrity. When RiskSmart for .NET is ready to ship, so is RiskSmart for Java."

Starting in .NET 2.0
If you're a Visual Studio developer, you can start with Mainsoft's Grasshopper to explore how to cross-compile and debug Java EE applications from Visual Studio. Grasshopper 2.0 is Mainsoft's freely available Developer Edition that includes a plug-in to Visual Studio 2005 and the open source Tomcat servlet engine for executing Java JSP and EE applications on a single CPU. You'll find that if you know C# or Visual Basic, you're on your way to becoming a Java EE developer!

One example to get you started is a Web-based accounting application with membership and role-based security using ASP.NET 2.0. The application uses Master Pages and the Login, Wizard, and Gridview controls and was originally developed by Paolo de Nictolis for JavaDay 2006 in Rome (http://roma.javaday.it ). The application relies on Mainsoft's full implementation of the ASP.NET 2.0 Membership, Role, and Profile providers based on Apache Derby (http://db.apache.org/derby/), an embedded database that offers a pure Java runtime alternative to MS SQL Express. Paolo shows you how to access application data, which remains stored in MS SQL Express 2005 (www.microsoft.com/sql/editions/express/default.mspx); how to take advantage of the integrated debugger, based on open standard JPDA (Java Platform Debugger Architecture, http://java.sun.com/products/jpda/); and how to create a deployment package that can be used over multi-platform application servers.

Let's take a deeper look at implementing this accounting application using Mainsoft's Grasshopper 2.0.

The Preliminaries
You'll have to download a few files from several places first. The setup file for JD Expenses is available at http://dev.mainsoft.com/JDExpensesDemo. It assumes you have Visual Studio 2005 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) installed.

The next thing you'll need to download is Grasshopper 2.0, which is available at http://dev.mainsoft.com/Default.aspx?tabid=117. Installation instructions along with release notes, feature limitations, and known issues are there as well. Basic requirements include a Windows XP SP2 machine, a Windows 2003 Server, or Windows Vista Ultimate or Business.

Note: If you choose to install Grasshopper on Windows Vista, you must launch Visual Studio from an administrator command prompt and launch the Tomcat application server as an administrator.

Starting with a Database
There's no denying it. Creating a well-designed application database can help make application development proceed much faster. JDExpenses, our imaginary accounting application, allows conference speakers to input their expenses, and the administrator to view each person's balances, while role-based authentication is provided out-of-the-box by the ASP.NET 2.0 Membership and Role API. Balance is defined as a BigInteger to demonstrate how Grasshopper handles a native Java type.

Database structure is shown in Figure 1. For us to use the SQL Server from a Grasshopper application, we have to configure it: we'll log in using SQL Server authentication and enable Mixed Mode Authentication in the database Properties. To do this, you can use Microsoft's SQL Server Management Studio Express (SSMSE) tool freely available for download from Microsoft at www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=C243A5AE-4BD1-

4E3D-94B8-5A0F62BF7796&displaylang=en.

Launch SSMSE, sign in, select the database, and right-click. From the context menu, select Properties. You'll see the SQL Server Properties dialog. Select Security and make sure that the SQL Server and Windows Authentication mode radio button is selected.


More Stories By Philippe Cohen

Philippe Cohen is the vice president of products for Mainsoft Corporation, where he is responsible for overseeing product management, R&D, and support teams for Mainsoft's product suite.

More Stories By Paolo de Nictolis

Paolo de Nictolis is an Italian Web developer, a technical contributor to MSDN and UGI.NET, and a freelance IT journalist.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
jnsoneji 10/31/07 10:12:51 PM EDT

Trackback Added: http://jnsoneji.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!37E7335732E61C89!256.entry; Building Pure Java Apps Using Visual Studio

@ThingsExpo Stories
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software in the hope of capturing value in IoT. Although IoT is relatively new in the market, it has already gone through many promotional terms such as IoE, IoX, SDX, Edge/Fog, Mist Compute, etc. Ultimately, irrespective of the name, it is about deriving value from independent software assets participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.