Leading Development Tool Vendors Announce Support for J/Direct
Developers Expected to Accelerate Efforts to Build Native Applications in Java
LOS ANGELES - March 11, 1998 - Microsoft Corp. today announced that leading development tool vendors plan to support the Microsoft® J/Direct™ API in their products. This support is expected to simplify, speed and expand developers' efforts to build native Windows® operating system-based applications using their existing Java development tools.
Vendors that already support J/Direct or plan to exploit J/Direct in future releases of their compiler and/or profiling products include Compuware Corp., Fujitsu Microelectronics Inc., Intel Corp., Metrowerks Inc., Microsoft, Rational Software Corp., Sybase Inc. and Tower Technology.
J/Direct, a Microsoft technology for building native Windows-based applications using the Java programming language, allows developers to create high-performance, full-featured applications in Java that take maximum advantage of customer investments in hardware and software.
"Java has always made it very difficult for us to fully exploit Windows-based PC hardware, but that's what customers expect from our products," said Jayme Edwards, applications engineer and Internet content developer at Rockwell Software Inc. "Microsoft J/Direct technology is the critical missing piece for building full-blown, native Windows-based applications using Java as a programming language."
The Fast and Easy Way to Go Native
First introduced with the Java virtual machine in Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, J/Direct enables developers to garner the productivity benefits of the Java programming language and take full advantage of all the services of the Windows platform. J/Direct allows Java developers to directly exploit the complete set of Win32® APIs to, for example, manipulate TrueType fonts or incorporate drag-and-drop functionality into their applications.
Because J/Direct provides access to any system or third-party dynamic-link library, developers can incorporate an array of third-party add-on libraries from their Java applications. J/Direct also provides direct access to the wealth of hardware available to customers with Windows-based PCs, including accelerated graphics cards and the newest peripherals such as DVD players or Universal Serial Bus devices.
By avoiding the overhead typically associated with Java class libraries and providing direct access to the underlying operating system and hardware, J/Direct provides high-performance access to every aspect of a Windows-based PC. Unlike other native access mechanisms for Java - for example, RNI or JNI - J/Direct automatically handles garbage collection and type marshalling, making it unnecessary for developers to spend additional effort "wrapping" native services to access them from the Java language.
"We've found that using J/Direct was key for the ease of developing our next-generation Objective Toolkit," said Scott Wingo, vice president of the Stingray Software division of Rogue Wave. "It allowed us to leverage our knowledge, along with the power of the Win32 API, as opposed to fighting against the native access methods of JNI and RNI."
Just as developers today can create commercial-quality Windows-based applications with languages including C++ or the Visual Basic® development system, J/Direct helps make the Java programming language a first-class citizen for building full-fledged native applications. While it is now a feature for the Windows platform, J/Direct will also enable the development of native applications on other platforms. (See the related announcement made today by Apple Computer Inc. and Microsoft about incorporating elements of J/Direct technology in the Apple Macintosh platform.)
Tool Vendors Praise J/Direct
With J/Direct, tools vendors can take full advantage of their past investments in wizards and other technology that encapsulates knowledge of the Win32 API, and they can better meet developers' desires to use the Java language to develop commercial-quality software.
"Microsoft J/Direct helps developers build feature-rich, commercial-quality applications in Java," said Pamela Roussos, vice president and general manager of the developer products group at Rational Software. "The combination of Rational's Visual Quantify performance profiler and J/Direct enables developers to take advantage of the productivity benefits of the Java programming language while providing the comprehensive level of performance analysis needed to help ensure the reliability and quality of their applications."
"Access to native services through J/Direct is a powerful complement to the TowerJ execution environment for Java," said Robert "Rock" Howard, CTO at Tower Technology. "Native services plus native compilation mean our customers targeting Windows can build the fastest and richest possible applications."
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