Leaving the collective: Web Services on other platforms

I’m preparing an internal presentation for my company about a cool tool we use that hooks up various web services in Visual Studio by drawing and connecting them on a canvas. Unfortunately there isn’t much point in my talking about it since you would have to pay $$$ and have one of our consultants on site to use it.

Nevertheless, I’m pretty excited about this and I thought: what is the best way to demonstrate a SOA system on a disconnected Virtual Machine? Well, by adding a few databases and web services that have nothing to do with Microsoft.

I’ve been listening to Scott Hansellmans podcast, and thought that RUBY would be a great one to try out, since it is apparently the next big thing.

In many ways it is. I got hold of something called InstantRails, and it provided me with a ‘one click’ Rails, MySQL database and Apache web server all good to go.

Writing web pages in Ruby is really easy. Writing Web Services.. well I spent a whole evening trying to work out what would take me a few clicks in Visual Studio, & didn’t succeed.

I then tried the Java J2EE route, and downloaded NetBeans with JBOSS, and here are my observations:

Versioning:

Java versioning is even more confusing than .NET, and that is saying something. At least when I say my web site is running ASP.NET 2.0, everyone can have a good level of confidence that we are talking the same version.

Speed:

Back in the day with my Pentium 3 and 128mb of RAM, Java was painfully slow to use as an IDE. I loved JBuilder (new version is built on Eclipse!), but it didn’t really compare to the Microsoft tools.

Well, today the playing field seems even. This isn’t really scientific, but Visual Studio 2005 takes about 100MB of my RAM, and NetBeans about 115MB. NetBeans seems to be a Java based IDE that is as performant as Visual Studio.

Features:

I’m not going to go here yet.. I only wanted to create some web services in J2EE, and I have to say that it is as easy as Visual Studio, and the integration with the bundled Tomcat and JBoss application servers are very good. I’d like to come back to this topic in a future post.

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