Mainsoft Updates .NET-Java Tool with 2.0 Release
June 11, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Application software development tool maker Mainsoft last week updated its Mainsoft for Java EE product with a 2.0 release. This tool, formerly known as Visual MainWin for J2EE, allows programmers using the Microsoft development stack to deploy their applications, written in C# 2.0 or Visual Basic, on Java Virtual machines running on a variety of platforms.
The “Grasshopper” free development version of the Mainsoft tool was updated with a 2.0 release in January, and included enhancements such as supporting the Mono 1.2 open source implementation of the key .NET components, the C# programming language, and the Common Language Runtime environment. With Mainsoft for J2EE 2.0, these enhancements, as well as support for the ASP .NET 2.0 protocol, are being put into production. While the developer edition of the tool supports the Apache Tomcat application server, the production-grade enterprise edition of the tool is only deployed on IBM‘s WebSphere Application Server or WebSphere Portal.
Yaacov Cohen, president and chief executive officer at Mainsoft, says that the company has invested over $12 million in creating the technology that has culminated in Mainsoft for J2EE 2.0, and did so in large part because companies with Windows application development skills are interested in deploying Windows applications on other platforms. In fact, he says that a poll of companies in the United States done by Mainsoft revealed that about one-fourth of them were interested in deploying applications on Linux servers.
“We are providing them with a low barrier of entry,” says Cohen. “They can develop applications for Linux using C# 2.0 and ASP .NET 2.0 with out doing anything any differently from within Visual Studio.”
Similarly, many companies with .NET skills are interested in putting applications on IBM’s servers and its own WebSphere middleware, but since Windows does not run on Power-based servers or mainframes, someone has to do the conversion that lets the code run. Which is where Mainsoft comes in.
Mainsoft for J2EE 2.0 comes in three flavors. The Developer Edition, formerly known as Grasshopper, uses Apache Tomcat as the application server and the Apache Derby database as a substitute for a full-blown relational database management system; it is free to developers. The Enterprise Edition of Mainsoft for J2EE 2.0 is geared for production environments with WebSphere and real databases, but it can also (if customers want to go off the board) deploy code to run on Red Hat JBoss and BEA WebLogic application servers. The Enterprise Edition costs $5,000 per developer seat and $5,000 per processor on the platform running the WebSphere server. Mainsoft also sells a Portal Edition, which as the name suggests plugs into WebSphere Portal server; it costs $5,000 per developer seat and $15,000 per CPU in the production machine on which it runs.
Cohen says that more than 2,000 developers have participated in a run of five betas of the Mainsoft for J2EE product, which occurred over the past year as it was being developed. The company put out a pilot preview of this iteration of its tools in September 2006.