Microsoft, Borland pal up on .Net

Australian developer conferences will continue to see Microsoft and Borland holding hands, despite Borland promoting its upcoming alternative for .Net development.

Project Sidewinder is the current moniker for Borland’s as yet untitled Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for .Net, due locally in July. The IDE will feature standards compliance with all .Net technologies, and integration with tools (including Java) from other vendors. Sidewinder will herald not only one IDE, but a series of Borland products focused on Web services, said Malcolm Groves, product sales manager at Borland.

Sidewinder aims to integrate .Net and J2EE technologies using Web services and Corba, another non Microsoft-aligned technology.

“Every customer I’ve spoken to in the last six months said they want Java and .Net,” Groves said. “They’d love to just have one, but this is the reality which they’re faced with.”

“[Also] customers are telling us Web services aren’t useful for every integration project. CORBA is a proven technology, our telecommunications customers love it for the cross-platform nature, security and scalability. It’s [said] to be the plumbing for all J2EE systems.

“Using Corba from within .Net for integration would give you native access into those things,” he said. Despite the competition from Sidewinder though, Microsoft will give a keynote alongside Borland to open Devcon Australia 2003 on the Gold Coast next month.

Microsoft Australia’s .Net developer evangelist Charles Sterling has attended several Borland developer events, and US group product manager for the .Net framework John Montgomery also attended a Borland sales launch last year to show support. Sterling previously worked for Microsoft in the US as product manager for .Net.

He said he viewed Borland’s Sidewinder as promoting .Net, not as competition to Visual Studio .Net.

“If Microsoft was a tools vendor, Borland would be competition. [But] we are .Net and Windows focused.

“Borland developers are usually Windows developers. My team here in Australia came from Borland.

“A Java developer could buy into the Sidewinder Project for the next version of JBuilder, and there’s integration opportunities there with .Net,” he said.

Microsoft research has found 17 per cent of Australian developers used Delphi Studio, “a huge number”, Sterling said.

“That’s a lot of developers Visual Studio .Net doesn’t have, and I’m not sure it could get many of those [developers]. So if we can bring them to .Net [via Sidewinder] that’s great.”

However, Sterling said vendors of application servers were the target market for the future uptake of Visual Studio .Net.

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