Microsoft's Web services tools will win converts, says user group president

Microsoft is 18 months ahead of its rival Sun Microsystems with its Web services products, but developers still have some way to go in getting their head around the technology, according to president of Microsoft .Net users group, Adam Cogan.

Developers find it tougher to move from Visual Basic to a .Net environment, Cogan said.

"Particularly business people, or not-so-technical developers, will think it's different and tricky and will find the constraints tighter because the language has options they haven't encountered before," Cogan said.

User group members cite two main concerns in moving to .Net, Cogan said.

"[Firstly] there are lots of existing infrastructure to deal with and [secondly there are] a lot of developers that have to be trained up," he said.

However, Cogan believes Sun Microsystems is 12 to 18 months behind Microsoft in developing tools that produce XML-based Web services.

"A lot of developers will end up seeing that the Microsoft tools are way more productive, and there will be a lot more converts" he said.

Cogan estimates it will take 30 to 40 per cent longer to develop applications on the .Net platform, but added this will reduce the need for support.

"Who wants to develop an application in a couple of days and have a constant strain of support coming in when you can instead develop something that takes 30 to 40 per cent longer, but have very minimal support challenges.

"I don't care if it's harder because it's more compelling, just too compelling to remain on .com technology."

* Siobhan Chapman travelled to Brisbane as a guest of Microsoft

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