|Edit||Rename||Changes||History||Upload||Download||Back to Top|
In 1995, Sun Microsystems released Java and it became a very important piece of the IT landscape. Over the last two years, Microsoft has been releasing and promoting the .NET platform, and all indications are that it is becoming a critically important piece of the IT infrastructure as well. The Cincom Smalltalk team realizes this, and has been working to ensure full interoperability between Cincom Smalltalk and the new .NET platform. This paper will cover what we can do now, and what we plan to do over the next few release cycles.
Why is .NET being seen as a critical part of IT infrastructure?
Microsoft Windows is the dominant client platform, and anything being promoted by Microsoft will be important to many IT shops. Time-to-market is still high on the list of desires in development shops, and this desire will drive many toward the promised benefits of .NET one of which is one platform, many languages. Cincom Smalltalk will be one of the many development choices available to shops using .NET. We will accomplish this in two ways through open standards supported by Microsoft (and other vendors) followed by tighter integration with the .NET platform.
What is .NET?
.NET is a new development and deployment platform. In many ways, it is similar to Suns J2EE platform an integrated deployment system, and an associated set of development libraries. There are also significant differences between the two:
What .NET recognizes is that there is not one development tool suitable for all tasks sometimes you need a high-level scripting tool, sometimes you need a low-level, OS-specific tool. Often you need something in between. With the .NET platform, these choices are all available. .NET recognizes the complexity of development problems and allows developers to pick the appropriate tool for the job.
VisualWorks 7 and its strengths
With the release of VisualWorks 7, Cincom Smalltalk is able to be a full player in the .NET world created by Microsoft. There are many development tasks for which Cincom Smalltalk is the best tool for the job:
VisualWorks 7 and .NET - Web Services
The preferred communications channel for .NET applications is web services, using technologies such as SOAP, UDDI, and WSDL. These acronyms stand (respectively) for:
These technologies have been adopted and encouraged by Microsoft as the preferred way for applications to interoperate within the .NET platform. Both Microsoft and other vendors have tried other solutions in the past, but none have been as widely supported as Web Services - these new technologies are being supported by IBM, Microsoft, and Sun, along with many others. Microsoft in particular is supporting these new standards. So how does Cincom Smalltalk fit in? Cincom Smalltalk provides a rich, cross platform solution for rapidly developing and deploying applications. It is also the case the Cincom Smalltalk interoperates with the Microsoft .NET platform, using its preferred standards. According to Microsoft:
XML Web services extend the World Wide Web infrastructure to provide the means for software to connect to other software applications. Applications access Web Services via ubiquitous Web protocols and data formats such as HTTP, XML, and SOAP, with no need to worry about how each Web service is implemented. Web services combine the best aspects of component-based development and the Web, and are a cornerstone of the Microsoft .NET programming model
Web Services are the way for applications to communicate on the Microsoft .NET platform. Cincom Smalltalk has full support for Web Services and Cincom has published our interoperability tests results to demonstrate that.
What does that mean for you as a development manager? It means that the most powerful Smalltalk platform available Cincom Smalltalk is already prepared to be a full player in any .NET system. VisualWorks 7 contains full, standards based support for Web Services. Cincom Smalltalk may be used to deploy .NET aware clients applications that take advantage of services already deployed or being deployed on .NET. Cincom Smalltalk may also be used to advertise services to .NET clients and services such Smalltalk based services will be immediately visible to all participating .NET services. This means that you can use the emerging services of .NET, while at the same time taking advantage of the time to market advantages of Smalltalk. Your developers will be able to deploy .NET aware components and services from the worlds most powerful software development platform, Cincom Smalltalk and have those applications run on any of your existing OS platforms.
Right now, Cincom Smalltalk developers can open up their applications to clients whether these applications have been developed using Microsoft technology or using the Sun backed J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) technology. Many of our existing customers have large applications with many man-years of business logic locked up in them. By supported the new world of Web Services standards, Cincom is making it possible to unlock all those man-years of effort, and make them accessible to new applications and new services. In short, Cincoms support for these standards makes it possible for IT shops to bridge the gap between the emerging Microsoft world of .NET, and the existing world of J2EE, mainframe, and other bespoke services. Using Cincom Smalltalk, IT shops may stand between these disparate visions of application development and enable business logic to flow between them.
VisualWorks 7 and .NET - integration as an unmanaged resource
This Web Services based support is not the only level of integration we have planned for .NET. The .NET deployment environment, unlike the Java one, has the ability to run existing code in what it calls an unmanaged state. In terms of .NET, unmanaged means that the code will run in the same process and have access to the .NET services, but not be managed as a native .NET resource. Microsoft has done this primarily as a way of integrating with the large amount of existing legacy code (primarily C++) but its also a way for arbitrary systems to interoperate as well. Our roadmap calls for shipping of the Cincom Smalltalk system integrated with .NET as an unmanaged resource. What this will enable is the seamless interoperation of Cincom Smalltalk applications with .NET applications, with either one as the "main" application. Cincom Smalltalk itself is a managed system, so this is the best way to integrate with the .NET system.
In summary, our support for .NET is very good right now - we support the core interoperability standards specified by Microsoft. We are not stopping there, however we intend to allow much fuller interaction and interoperability in the future.
Back to 7.1 Information
Back to NEWS
|Edit||Rename||Changes||History||Upload||Download||Back to Top|