Vendors home in on C++ for Web services

Although most of the rhetoric about application development languages for Web services thus far has focused on Java, C#, and Visual Basic, major vendors recently have honed their C++ strategies in anticipation of the emerging programming model.

Borland Software Corp. on Tuesday will announce the second piece in a C++ plan that the Scotts Valley, Calif.-based company is internally referring to as a "Rolling Thunder" for C++ strategy. The newest leg of the design is C++ Builder 6.

"C++ Builder 6 brings Web services to the C++ development community," said Alison Deane, senior director of product marketing at Borland.

Last week, in conjunction with the LinuxWorld show, Borland detailed C++ for Linux, another piece of its C++ strategy which one company official described as bringing C++ to the Linux platform and, as a result, to the hordes of Unix developers that are now building software on Linux.

"C++ is the most popular language today and it will continue to be popular," said Rikki Kirzner, an analyst with Framingham, Mass.-based IDC.

IDC, in fact, ranks C++ developers at more than 2.5 million strong.

Kirzner continued that programmers are most likely to keep using languages that they already know before switching over to C#.

"C++, Java, and VB [Visual Basic], I foresee as the languages that will dictate Web services development," she added.

Also making a play for C++ developers, Sun Microsystems Inc., based in Palo Alto, Calif., earlier this month issued an early release of the Forte Developer 7 suite. The toolbox, according to Sun, makes it easier for developers to build C, C++ and Fortran applications into Sun ONE (Open Network Environment). Sun ONE is Sun's environment for Web services.

IBM Corp., too, has made some C++ moves of late with the Eclipse project. Last week, the put out a beta version of a C/C++ IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for use on Linux systems. Eclipse is an open-source platform with which developers can build and deploy applications that can be used in a variety of operating environments. IBM is working with Red Hat Inc. on the tool.

At the VSLive Visual Studio Developer Conference in San Francisco next week, Microsoft Corp. plans to formally launch the Visual Studio.Net suite of tools. On the schedule for that conference are a keynote and session entitled C++ and .Net, and Under the Hood with C++ and .Net, respectively.

Simply put, an abundance of C and C++ code exists today in the enterprise and customers won't be able to leave that code behind, said Kathleen Quirk, an analyst at Hurwitz Group Inc., based in Framingham, Mass.

"Companies are not going to be able to afford to start all development from scratch. They need to be able to bring some of their legacy code forward to participate in a Web Services development world," Quirk said.

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