The successor to Microsoft's Visual J++ tool, J# provides a transition for Java developers to Microsoft's XML Web services development tools for the .net platform.
"We think that there's a percentage of the community out there that is building applications using the Java language and those people want to take advantage of the .net framework. This is a great tool for them to adopt," said Tony Goodhew, product manager for Visual J# .net.
He added: "We expect some portion of the community will move from the Java platform using Visual J#."
A Sun Microsystems representative, however, doubted that Microsoft would win many converts. "I don't think it'll happen because [developers have] got a much richer cross-platform development environment with compatible Java," said David Harrah, Sun's marketing manager for Java and XML software.
Microsoft, Harrah noted, only has access to an older version of Java code, due to the resolution of a lawsuit between the two companies over Java.
"The tool and program that Microsoft has announced is really addressed to people who developed using the Microsoft J++ tool and other Java tools that they brought in the nineties and those people have been left high and dry by Microsoft because they no longer are able to ship those products or support them," Harrah said.
Microsoft's Visual J# .net tool is available for download by Visual Studio customers at www.msdn.microsft.com/vjsharp.