|By Philippe Cohen, Paolo de Nictolis||
|October 31, 2007 02:00 PM EDT||
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.
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.
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-
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.
|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
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Dec. 5, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 755
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 5, 2016 11:15 AM EST Reads: 919
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Dec. 5, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 613
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
Dec. 5, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 229
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:30 AM EST Reads: 994
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:30 AM EST Reads: 7,052
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web ...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:15 AM EST Reads: 1,288
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.
Dec. 5, 2016 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,796
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Dec. 5, 2016 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,621
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 5, 2016 06:30 AM EST Reads: 747
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Dec. 5, 2016 06:15 AM EST Reads: 904
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Dec. 5, 2016 06:00 AM EST Reads: 1,679
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
Dec. 5, 2016 04:15 AM EST Reads: 1,618
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
Dec. 5, 2016 04:00 AM EST Reads: 4,709
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Dec. 5, 2016 04:00 AM EST Reads: 5,132
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 5, 2016 03:30 AM EST Reads: 951
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dec. 5, 2016 01:30 AM EST Reads: 783
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dec. 5, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 1,579
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Dec. 5, 2016 12:30 AM EST Reads: 6,106
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
Dec. 5, 2016 12:15 AM EST Reads: 1,169