In-Depth

.NET Project Targets IBM Websphere for Deployment

IBM and Mainsoft Corporation announced Monday that the Belgian University Hospital in Ghent has chosen IBM WebSphere Portal to develop a self-service virtual information center for its 5,000 staff members, students and healthcare professionals. In addition, the portal is expected to serve more than 380,000 patients and their families that visit the hospital each year, the companies said.

In a unique development twist, the portal application will be developed using Microsoft technologies, specifically Visual Studio 2005. It will include the existing .NET Framework 2.0, fifteen strategic .NET applications already in existence or being constructed, more than five terabytes of data stored in an Oracle database, and an LDAP repository. The Hospital’s .NET application development team will work entirely in .NET, writing ASP pages and integrating existing applications and back-end components.

Enter Mainsoft for Java EE. Mainsoft is a Visual Studio plug-in that dynamically translates .NET MSIL code into Java bytecode. In many cases, the translation can result in a clean compile, making it possible to complete the initial Java port and run on top of WebSphere in a matter of days. Visual Studio developers don’t have to know anything about Java, and can even use the Visual Studio debugger to debug Java code on the fly. Once complete, the application can be maintained in .NET, and cross-compiled to Java EE at deployment time.

The development team said it hopes to leverage its existing expertise and experience with .NET technologies and Visual Studio, yet meet the requirement of deploying a comprehensive Java application running under IBM WebSphere. The full Web portal is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.

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