It sure seemed like hell freezing over, with Microsoft delivering a keynote speech at JavaOne. After all, a decade ago Microsoft was throwing as much FUD on Java as possible, claiming it was not cross-platform portable and then proving it by creating the J/Direct API that locked Windows Java apps to Windows.
But the keynote from Dan’l Lewin, corporate vice president for strategic and emerging business development, was remarkable because the word “Java” was barely mentioned, especially in the first half hour, and there seemed minimal commitment to bridging the gap between .Net and Java.
“I want to be perfectly clear that the Microsoft commitment is there to drive interoperability and collaboration because it’s good for our end users and it’s good for our customers,” Lewin said.
So what did he talk about? SAML, a Web standard for identity management and Microsoft’s Geneva identity server.
Steven Martin, senior director of development platform product management, would come up to discuss Microsoft’s support for the Apache Software Foundation’s Project Stonehenge as a sign of Microsoft’s support. Much of the interoperability between Microsoft’s .Net platform and the Java environment was nice, but it was the work of Apache, not Microsoft.
The fact is, Microsoft has never done a direct .Net to Java bridge after all these years and the speech seemed to exhort Java developers to come to .Net, rather than finding ways to interoperate. There’s a nice market in bridging software. There must be a half dozen vendors selling these bridges, and it seems their future is secure because Microsoft won’t be going into that space any time soon.
“If we are not interested in interoperability we know developers and customers will vote with their feet,” Martin said at one point. They also voted with their hands. I never heard so little applause at a JavaOne in all my years of covering it.