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A Dose of Java for ADO.NET Data Services

Microsoft last week talked up the release of a bridge designed to let Java developers utilize Microsoft's ADO.NET Data Services.

The company that actually developed the bridge, Noelios Technologies, is an obscure French-based consulting services firm. But it's noteworthy because Microsoft provided funding to the company for the tool and announced the release on its Interoperability Blog. The bridge, called Restlet 2.0 M5,  is based on an extension to the open source Restlet Framework, designed to allow Java developers to create RESTful applications when building Web 2.0-type applications. (see "Bridge Connects Java to ADO.NET Data Services").

Wayne Citrin, CTO of JNBridge, an established supplier of .NET to Java bridges, argues Noelios' new offering will offer "narrow" appeal. "If you are writing Java and are calling ADO.NET Data Services great, but if you are calling something else or you're writing .NET code and want to call Java code, you're going to be disappointed," Citrin said in an interview.

However the bridge may attract more interest than Citrin thinks, some observers said. "JN Bridge is doing hard interoperability at the protocol level, which is important to many enterprise customers in terms of merging the worlds of .NET and Java," said IDC analyst Al Hilwa in an email. But REST could prove to be a viable alternative for bridging Java and .NET using Web services, he noted.

"REST is definitely catching on as a new way of structuring loosely coupled applications as interoperable parts of other applications," Hilwa said. "It certainly allows for divergent technologies to work together even though in their guts they are made up in completely different ways."

Citrin argued his company's JNBridgePro 4.1 also provides links to both ADO.NET and ADO.NET data services, saying the former is a mainstream interface for data connectivity while the latter is "pretty new."

But the Noelios release underscores Microsoft's emphasis of ADO.NET Data Services as a mainstream vehicle for interoperability, said Andrew Brust, chief of New Technology at twentysix New York. "It's based on REST so nearly any platform can talk to it with a bit of work," Brust said in an email.

 "Microsoft is making it even easier for PHP and now Java developers to use ADO.NET Data Services because they don't even need to deal with the REST interface at all.  Instead they just generate proxy classes and write their code as if they're talking to local objects."

Also worth pointing out, Brust noted, is that ADO.NET Data Services acts as a wrapper not just to Entity Framework data, but also to data storage on Microsoft's forthcoming Azure cloud platform.

Furthermore, the forthcoming release of SQL Server Reporting Services, due out next year, will also expose its content via ADO.NET Data Services, he noted. "This means that developers on many platforms will be able to consume data from a number of Microsoft server products and many .NET custom applications," he said. "All without needing to install Microsoft software on their side of the conversation."

Do you see ADO.NET Services as a viable means of linking your Java applications to .NET data? Drop me a line at [email protected] or feel free to comment here.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 10/08/2009

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