Poll shows tight race between .NET and Java

Who is will the Web services race, Java 2 Enterprise Edition or Microsoft's .NET?

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Ever since SAP announced its new company-wide Java commitment in early November, Java has been hotter than a car left in the sun in July.

Going forward, Java and ABAP, SAP's proprietary programming language, will both run directly on all future SAP product releases, making it a simple choice of preference for the developers.

Many raised their eyebrows at this news, pointing to SAP's long-standing relationship with Microsoft. The softies' .NET initiative is a direct competitor to Sun Microsystems' J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition). Company officials from both sides have said it won't impact their relationship, but some analysts disagree.

Right now, it's a race between Sun and Microsoft, with the prize being Web services dominance for years to come. Some view SAP's decision as a victory for Sun at the expense of Microsoft. But just how important is all this to SAP users? Does it matter either way, as long as SAP is keeping the doors open and not playing favorites? SearchSAP created a poll to get a reality-check from searchSAP members, asking who will win the race.

Race is tight

As it turns out, the race is tight. Up until just a few days ago, Microsoft's .NET had a lead. But then Java fans made a rush for it and locked in the lead, which it has kept since.

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Some 181 voters or 41% said they believed Sun's J2EE technology would win the Web services race, while 109 or 25% believe .NET will win.

However, there were almost as many developers who said it didn't matter either way as there were .NET supporters, making this one of the tightest and most popular polls ever on searchSAP.

Evidently, there is a clear difference in opinion here. Kenneth Atri, field support Network engineer at Cimetrics, Inc., said he thought .NET would emerge as the dominant standard.

"Microsoft's business practices and history say that they have a lot of money and other resources - they can fight long and hard to promote their offers if they want someone NOT to succeed and send them packing," he said, "Also, .NET is using SOAP as a data transport which is already a semi-standard. Sun is out of Microsoft's league on this one."

Axel Kratel, Product Manager at the Java Business Unit of Borland, doesn't share that view. Pointing to Java's strengths of openness and being driven by a community process, he concludes that it has a strong dedication to supporting full interoperability with all other frameworks.

"Interoperability and the ability of a business to work with all of its partners, regardless of what platform their software is built on, is by far the most critical facet of Web services in the enterprise," he said. "This is why Java and Java-driven Web services will emerge as the number one choice for the business world."

Not playing favorites

SAP has stated that they are not playing favorites in this game, brushing aside rumors of a move towards Sun at the expense of their Microsoft relations. Michael Santilli, Technical Lead at SAP America, confirms this view. He thinks it will be at least a year before we can start seeing the outcome of this race.

"My gut feeling on the Web services race is that Sun's J2EE will probably take a bigger share of the 'larger' corporate environments, while Microsoft's .NET will have a strong showing in smaller markets," he said, "However, here at SAP, we are embracing both technologies to accommodate the 'best of breed' solutions for our customers."

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