Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Tim Hinds, Kevin Benedict, Jim Taylor, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud

Open Source Cloud: 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
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect their organization.
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Akana has released Envision, an enhanced API analytics platform that helps enterprises mine critical insights across their digital eco-systems, understand their customers and partners and offer value-added personalized services. “In today’s digital economy, data-driven insights are proving to be a key differentiator for businesses. Understanding the data that is being tunneled through their APIs and how it can be used to optimize their business and operations is of paramount importance,” said Alistair Farquharson, CTO of Akana.
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, analyzed how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI Intelligence, he worked analyzing bank technology for Corporate Insight and The Clearing House Payment...
"Optimal Design is a technology integration and product development firm that specializes in connecting devices to the cloud," stated Joe Wascow, Co-Founder & CMO of Optimal Design, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and simplified management of data on complex storage networks. CommVault's exclusive single-platform architecture gives companies unp...
Electric Cloud and Arynga have announced a product integration partnership that will bring Continuous Delivery solutions to the automotive Internet-of-Things (IoT) market. The joint solution will help automotive manufacturers, OEMs and system integrators adopt DevOps automation and Continuous Delivery practices that reduce software build and release cycle times within the complex and specific parameters of embedded and IoT software systems.
"ciqada is a combined platform of hardware modules and server products that lets people take their existing devices or new devices and lets them be accessible over the Internet for their users," noted Geoff Engelstein of ciqada, a division of Mars International, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.