Welcome!

Open Source Authors: Liz McMillan, Sematext Blog , AppDynamics Blog, Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Open Source

Open Source: Article

Mono, Mainsoft and Cross-Platform Enterprise Development

Deploy on platforms other than Windows

At first glance, it may sound like an impossible prospect for .NET developers to engage in cross-platform, open source development in the enterprise. Such a reality would be unfortunate, because many development teams enjoy the productivity inherent in using Visual Studio .NET and its wealth of tools for rapidly producing high-quality code. However, they would also like the ability to deploy on platforms other than Windows.

That is the purpose of the Mono project (www.go-mono.org), an open source implementation of the .NET Framework based on the ECMA International standards for C# and the Common Language Infrastructure.

The Mono project makes the same advanced development technologies embodied in Visual Studio and the .NET Framework available to Windows developers who want to deploy their applications on Linux. Mono also enables Windows developers to bring their applications to Solaris, MacOS X, and other operating systems.

Mainsoft delivers a complementary cross-platform solution that extends Web and server .NET applications to Java. Visual MainWin for J2EE uses many of the Mono libraries and includes an add-in to Visual Studio that cross-compiles Microsoft IL to Java bytecode. Grasshopper, Mainsoft's freely available developer edition, comes bundled with Tomcat and is designed for single CPU deployments. The Enterprise edition supports multiple CPU deployments on enterprise class J2EE servers such as IBM WebSphere Application Server or BEA WebLogic Server. The Portal edition enables enterprises to incorporate their ASP.NET applications and Web Parts into their enterprise WebSphere Portal Server.

The Details of Mono and Multiplatform Deployment
Today, Mono implements many of the components that .NET developers require, including AS4P.NET for Web application development, ADO.NET for database access, and Windows.Forms for rich client applications. The Mono project also provides a C# 2.0 compiler that supports the latest language specifications, including generics, anonymous methods, and iterators, as well as assemblers, linkers and API documentation for these.

Mono supports a wide variety of hardware platforms and operating systems. Its 32-bit ports include the x86 architecture, Sun's SPARC, the embedded ARM processor, and the s390 mainframes. On 64-bits, Mono supports the Itanium, the s390x, and the x86-64 architecture with ports for other platforms following closely.

Mono undergoes a rigorous testing regime necessary to create enterprise-ready software. It makes use of the NUnit test harness, as well as some internal testing frameworks, to run more than 100,000 individual tests designed to ensure functional equivalence with the .NET Framework. If a discrepancy is found, more unit tests are written around that discrepancy so that it is tested thoroughly before being released.

Version 1.2 of Mono, released at the beginning of November, is compliant with and provides full support for .NET 1.1, and partial support for .NET 2.0. In addition to Window.Forms support, Mono version 1.2 includes numerous feature upgrades including full support for C# 2.0, generics, Gtk# 2.0, and significant updates to the .NET 2.0 API.

Mono and Mainsoft provide alternate ways to extend the reach of existing .NET applications across the enterprise by enabling deployment on alternative hardware and operating systems, either on top of the .NET CLR or through cross-compilation to Java bytecode.

When and Where to Use Cross-Platform Development
Mono enables development in C# or Visual Basic .NET on Windows, but deploys on Linux or other platforms supported by Mono. In many cases, it is possible to take a .NET application developed using the Visual Studio .NET IDE and run the resulting binary directly on Mono. For those wishing to keep the business logic in .NET but use a native Linux UI, Gtk# provides a C source parser and C# code generator that can be used to produce .NET assemblies that bind to GNU object libraries.

Mainsoft technology comes into play when IT organizations want to cross-compile .NET Web and server applications to run on established Java EE application servers. The ability to deploy applications across platforms provides software vendors with access to a wider market for their products. SourceGear uses both Mono and Mainsoft software to provide Vault, the company's source code control software, on Unix systems. OTEE uses Mono for its Unity Game development engine. VistaDB uses Mono to provide its VistaDB embedded SQL database engine across multiple platforms. And Segway Software uses Mainsoft's software to deliver a tight integration between its Segway Sales Productivity Suite, written entirely in Microsoft .NET, and a customer's existing pricing management and configuration system written in Java. There are dozens of other success stories for cross-platform porting and support using cross-platform development tools.

Open Source .NET and the Future
It is important for those considering using cross-platform technologies that they are stable and reliable, and have ongoing road maps to let developers know when new technologies will become available.

The Mono project already has projects implementing several upcoming technologies that fall under .NET 3.0. One subproject, Olive, is implementing CardSpace, Windows Communication Foundation (formerly known as Indigo), and Windows Workflow Foundation. Other .NET 3.0 technologies, such as the Windows Presentation Foundation, a new API for creating desktop applications, are not on the current Mono roadmap.

A second subproject, Crimson, implements technologies that have not been addressed as ECMA/.NET standards by Microsoft, but that Mono considers important for applications running on multiple platforms using Linux.

Mainsoft is also committed to ensuring compatibility with future releases of the .NET Framework, as well as with future Java releases. The next release will incorporate the ability to use Visual Studio 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0 in building ASP.NET and .NET server applications. Beyond that, its software will pick up the Mono libraries to support .NET Framework 3.0 features such as Windows Communication Foundation and Window Workflow Foundation. A Grasshopper 2.0 Technology Preview is currently available at http://dev.mainsoft.com.

Sidebar:

Use the Visual Studio .NET IDE and Grasshopper for Linux
We all know the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET IDE, but did you know that you can use it to build server applications that run on Linux? Discover how, with Visual MainWin for J2EE from Mainsoft, Visual Studio users can run their applications natively on J2EE and Linux environments.

Take a look at Figure 1. It's clearly an ASP.NET application, and it's clearly running on Linux. That's easy, you might think, you can build an ASP.NET application, run it on Microsoft Windows under Internet Information Services (IIS) and browse to it using a browser such as Firefox on a Linux client. You'd be right, but look again. In the screen shot, your ASPX is running on localhost, the Linux box itself. With Visual MainWin for J2EE, also known as Grasshopper, you can do this easily, without changing your existing .NET code. Therefore, you can say that Visual Studio .NET + Grasshopper = Visual Studio .NET for Linux!

Extending your skill sets to Linux
Consider this - many companies have Linux on their radar for some form of inclusion in their strategy, be it on the desktop or in the data center. To build applications for Linux, you would probably have to learn a new skill set such as GTK or Java. For server side or hosted applications, the logical candidate is usually J2EE, due to its cross-platform nature and its well-known security, manageability, performance and scalability characteristics. However, to develop J2EE applications, you need to learn the Java language, Java Servlets, Java Server Pages, JDBC for database connection and even Enterprise Java Beans for distributed applications. What if, as an alternative, you could broaden the reach of your skills to Linux and other Java-enabled platforms, and as a result, extend yourself (and your resume) in a new and exciting area? What if you could do this without rewriting most of your code, and instead re-use your existing C# code? Not only that, but would you like to contribute to the Mono project - the creation of an open source .NET Framework for Linux? Well you can, and you can do it today, with Grasshopper, a freely available download from Mainsoft.

More Stories By Miguel de Icaza

Miguel de Icaza, co-founder and CTO of Ximian, is one of the foremost luminaries in the Linux development community and one of the world's most prominent advocates for Free Software. Before co-founding Ximian, Miguel was instrumental in the development of Linux for SPARC systems and the Midnight Commander file manager. Miguel is the founder and President of the GNOME Foundation. He was also the first recipient of the prestigious MIT Innovator of the Year award in 1999. Miguel has galvanized Ximian's efforts to make Linux accessible and available to the average computer user, and continues to reach out globally by working with international organizations such as eMexico to introduce affordable technology alternatives, like Linux, to other nations.

More Stories By Philippe Cohen

Philippe Cohen is the vice president of products for Mainsoft Corporation, where he is responsible for overseeing product management, R&D, and support teams for Mainsoft's product suite.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...