XML (Extensible Markup Language) will provide the technology standard necessary for Web services and Microsoft's .Net platform will be the premier platform for development, general manager of developer platform and evangelism Vic Gundotra said in a keynote speech at Microsoft's TechEd conference in Barcelona Monday.
Visual Basic.Net will be key to the simple development of Web services, and will be the tool that carries the industry forward, he said. "Where the development of HTML allowed easy display of Web pages, Visual Studio will be the step that makes Web services possible."
Gundotra also announced the launch of Visual J#.Net, which allows developers to take an existing Java application and move it to .Net for development in that environment.
"You just need to drag and drop the code into J#.Net (pronounced "J sharp") and keep developing and updating the code," said product manager Tony Goodhew. "Unlike running Java applications in (an) intermediate language, once it's there in J#.Net you have access to the full .Net development framework."
Key features include integration with Visual Studio .Net integrated development environment (IDE), integration with the .Net framework, including cross-language integration, and Visual J++ 6.0 upgrade tools. Visual J# .Net includes tools to upgrade and convert existing J++ 6.0 projects to the Visual Studio format.
"We have an existing base of J++ customers and wanted to give them a way forward," Goodhew said. "If they have staff who know Java, why should they have to learn another language when they want to integrate with .Net? This makes them instantly effective."
Within 12 months, Microsoft expects 15 percent to 20 percent of the Java development community to use Visual J# .Net, he said. "J++ is still the most-used Java IDE, at 18 percent, so we think that's possible," he said.
The launch completes the range of Microsoft's programming languages within Visual Studio .Net, which includes Visual C++ .Net, Visual C# .Net and Visual Basic .Net, Microsoft said in a statement.
Visual Studio .Net customers can download Visual J# .Net from http://www.msdn.microsoft.com/vjsharp/ or from http://www.msdn.microsoft.com/downloads/default.asp for MSDN subscription customers.
Microsoft also promised an increased focus on security and reliability, saying both are essential if Web services are to take off. This has involved a complete culture change, said vice president Dave Thompson. "And developers are glad of it -- it's not nice to have your products constantly criticized," he said.