Developer

Don't ditch Java for .NET yet

If your CIO suggests that you migrate your J2EE applications to .NET, you may be able to convince upper management that making the leap isn't worth the price. The need to rewrite code is only one of the reasons to hold off on .NET and hold on to Java.


A lot has been writtten about the virtues of .NET. But as Builder.com’s Lamont Adams’ pointed out in "I'm confused...What is '.NET' anyway?" the developer world is a long way from adopting .NET as the de facto standard for development tools. So when your boss suggests that you drop your shop’s love affair with Java for .NET, your response should be “.NYET.” The only reason to even consider such a drastic and potentially expensive move is if your major customers threaten to take their business elsewhere if you don’t.

When your boss calls a meeting to discuss the issue, don’t go in empty-handed. Be prepared with these arguments against migrating to .NET.
  • Rewriting mucho code. Your investment in legacy systems is the oldest reason in the book not to move too quickly to a new platform. You’re going to have to rewrite a mountain of not-so-old Java code and retest it to make sure it works with .NET’s Common Language Runtime (CLR). Sure, you can buy converters that rewrite Java in C# for you, but how many of you want to bet the mission-critical farm on a conversion tool?
  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Does your current Java architecture meet all of your needs? If so, you have to ask yourself where your budget dollars have the most value. Is the code relatively bug-free, maintainable, and scalable? Can new projects be launched quickly by reusing or modifying existing code? If you answered yes to those questions, what is the up side to migrating to a new platform?
  • Your team’s skill set is tuned into Java. Good developers are used to learning new languages on a periodic basis, and your Java developers may discover they love C#. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a learning curve.  Meanwhile, you have a production environment to think about.
  • .NET must settle down. Let’s face the fact that .NET is only recently emerging from the early-adopter stage. You want to be on the cutting edge, but you also want to use mature tools. .NET may take off and become the new standard, or it may fizzle in the wake of whatever comes .NEXT out of Redmond. Give the marketplace and developers time to gain expertise in it.

You can find more reasons to stick with Java in "Five reasons against migrating Java EJB applications to .NET," or get the scope on security in the .NET framework with the article "Microsoft .NET Web service security."

.NET primer
Before you and your staff dive into your first .NET project, read “A .NET primer for managers” to learn what kind of impact the platform changes will have on your development cycle and what new tools will be at your disposal.

The bottom line is that Java has been around a relatively long time, in IT terms, and it works. Your people know and love Java. Think long and hard before you give it up in favor of the new platform on the block. Think differently? Then, post your comment below or e-mail the writer.

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