Java gets roasted by .Net: Info-Tech

Microsoft Corp.’s .Net developer tools are becoming more popular in large firms as corporate IT departments purchase the software for their messaging systems and databases, according to a Canadian research firm.

George Goodall, senior research analyst for Info-Tech Research, said it’s generally less expensive for companies to hire developers trained in the .Net framework than programmers who can write Java applications, and this is one reason more than half the respondents to a recent survey said they focus “primarily” or “exclusively” on .Net.

Last week, London, Ont.-based Info-Tech released the results of a survey of IT managers and directors at nearly 2,000 companies of various sizes worldwide. Twelve per cent said they focussed “exclusively” on .Net development while an additional 49 per cent focussed “primarily” on .Net. Only three per cent of enterprises were exclusively Java shops, while an additional 20 per cent focussed “primarily” on Java.

The results, which are published in a report dubbed “It’s Official: .Net Roasts Java’s Beans,” are a surprise to Goodall, who expected a higher percentage of large companies would have used Java. They are also a surprise to the head of a Calgary-based Java vendor, ICEsoft Technologies Inc.

“Our personal impression is, within the enterprise, it’s more of a 60/40 split to Java,” said Brian McKinney, ICESoft’s president and chief executive officer. He added he has read a lot of surveys that suggest 55 to 60 per cent of firms with 500 or more employees are Java shops, while smaller companies, especially those selling to consumers, have a “greater .Net traction.”

Java’s main advantage is its support for multiple operating systems, and many companies are porting their systems over to the open source Linux operating system, McKinney said.

He added even if there is an advantage to .Net, large companies would be reluctant to change platforms. “We don’t run across many clients that are dual shopped or any that have recently moved from .Net to Java or vice versa,” he said.

“Whenever you look at large scale enterprises the thought of wholesale conversion from one technology to another is something that is made with a lot of caution. People at large financial institutions aren’t going to flip willy-nilly.”

But as more companies adopt Microsoft Exchange as their messaging software and SQL Server as their database, the decision to use .Net develop tools is “almost a no-brainer,” Goodall said.

“(Microsoft’s) .Net is following the Exchange market share, basically,” he said, adding it’s less expensive to hire a .Net programmer than a Java programmer because Microsoft has training programs for its .Net framework.

“(Those .Net) developers are cheaper,” Goodall said.

Microsoft .Net has also become more popular because Office is “very programmable” and Officer SharePoint Server, which includes collaboration, business intelligence and portal functions, as well as BizTalk and SQL Server, are becoming more popular, said Rini Gahir, senior product manager for development platforms at Mississauga, Ont.-based Microsoft Canada Co.

“Developers are really able to put all these Lego blocks together and connect them easily.”

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