MainSoft is providing a very intriguing piece of software called Visual MainWin. What Visual MainWin allows developers to do is develop in Visual Studio.NET for a WebForms target but then translate and deliver that application on a J2EE server. Microsofties would say develop in a superior Web development environ while Java-heads would say deploy to the most reliable and robust server architecture.
Now MainSoft is by no means a fledgling start-up in the world of creating cross platform systems from the Microsoft space to other OS platforms. They have done so for at least a decade converting COM and other Microsoft apps to Linux, Unix and other non-Microsoft platforms. But what makes Visual MainWin particularly intriguing is that:
1)MainWin runs as plugin in Visual Studio allowing C# and VB.NET code, including both database and Web Services, to be converted at compile time from IL-Intermediate Language directly to Java bytecode;
2)MainWin then links this bytecode to ASP.NET and ADO.NET libraries which have been translated to JAR libraries using JDBC in place of ODBC;
3)MainWin creates all the wrapper classes required for deploying on popular J2EE servers like Tomcat 5.x, BEA Weblogic 8.x, and IBM Websphere 5.x;
4)MainWin in Visual Studio is savvy enough to allow realtime debugging of the Java bytecode mapped through the IL to the original VB.NET or C# source code;
Now Rick Grehan at InfoWorld who I know from Software Development days as a pretty demanding reviewer gives the software a 9.1 on 10.0 rating. So I am impressed. I would have been truly dumbfounded if Mainsoft had been able to convert JScript.NET based ASP.NET code as well. Still I am suitably depressed …uhh impressed.
If any readers are using the software I would certainly appreciate comments.