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JNBridgePro Connects .NET and Java Apps

JNBridgePro lets a .NET application access existing Java classes over system, network or Web connections.

For firms that need to make .NET-savvy clients work with J2EE software on the back-end, or companies in the process of shifting from one platform to the other, JNBridge LLC in Boulder, Colo., offers a solution. JNBridgePro 3.1 is a savvy piece of middleware that serves as a bridge between Java and .NET, allowing software developers to leverage existing components from one platform within applications running on another.

First released in January 2002, the latest version of JNBridgePro adds the ability to embed non-native UI objects within applications. So a new .NET application can tap existing Java controls already cooked up by a development group. The latest version also adds the ability for a Java client to interface with multiple .NET servers on the back-end.

The support for UI components, in particular, can be helpful for firms anxious to swiftly migrate apps between platforms, or to protect investments in custom Java or .NET components.

"If you have a Windows component to put into Swing, you can do that," explains Wayne Citrin, chief technical officer of JNBridge. "You might have an AWT graphical component to put into a .NET application-we let you do that. Using JNBridge you can wrap a Java component so it looks like a .NET component that can be used by .NET users and .NET shops."

JNBridgePro passes requests between .NET and Java in a format that each platform can understand. The solution is faster and more flexible than Web services, says Citrin.

"When you're doing Web services, you're only looking down through a pipe of the Web service," says Citrin.

JNBridgePro
[click image for larger view]
JNBridgePro lets a .NET application access existing Java classes over system, network or Web connections.

At ChemAxon, a firm that provides Java-based cheminformatics toolkits and applications for biotechnology, pharmaceutical and other industries, customer demand for a .NET-compatible API prompted it to adopt JNBridgePro.

"We looked around and tested out several bridging solutions and JNBridge proved to be suitable, robust, and we can do business with them ... so we adopted this solution," says Alex Allardyce, director of marketing for ChemAxon.

Citrin says JNBridgePro won't work well with so-called lightweight Java UI components, which don't leverage resources built into the foundation of the Java framework, leaving JNBridge nothing to translate to a .NET analog. Also, the ability to translate UI components can be limited by threading issues and the handling of event loops.

JNBridgePro Standard costs $795 per developer seat, while the Enterprise version costs $1,395 per seat and adds support for J2EE and Enterprise Java Beans. Deployment costs vary by server or client seats deployed.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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