On the relative advantages of teaching Web services in .NET vs. J2EE.

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Title: On the relative advantages of teaching Web services in .NET vs. J2EE.
Author: Kachru, Sandeep
Advisors: Dr. Munindar Singh, Committee Member
Dr. Edward Gehringer, Committee Chair
Randy Miller, Committee Member
Dr. Laurie Williams, Committee Member
Abstract: .NET and J2EE are currently the two leading technologies in enterprise-level application development. In the coming years, according to various surveys, these two technologies will capture an almost equal amount of market share. They are also the platforms of choice for developing Web services. There is an ongoing debate about the advantage of developing Web services in one over the other. We look at this question from the perspective of educators. We compare and analyze the two platforms using a number of parameters such as features present in each platform, tools and resources offered by the two and compatibility with the rest of the curriculum. We study the most significant difference between the two platforms — the platform independence of J2EE and the language independence of .NET, and discuss their relative advantages in an academic environment. We discover that both of the platforms offer equal support for the development of Web services and teach the concepts equally well. While .NET offers integrated, native support for various phases of Web services development, Java platform achieves this with several new libraries. On the other hand, J2EE's major advantage over .NET is the popularity of the Java language in academia. Thus, teaching Web services in Java maintains uniformity in the curriculum. A looming factor is the growth of C# as a teaching language. Though it seems destined to be adapted as a primary language in more schools, it will be some time before it can challenge Java as the most popular language in universities. We finally compare the development process of Web services in IBM's Websphere and Microsoft?s Visual Studio .NET and find them remarkably similar. Both the tools provide comparable features to develop Web services easily. Thus, the choice of platform will depend on factors other than the relative ease of teaching Web services. Arguments in favor of J2EE are platform independence, multiple vendor support, popularity of Java in universities, a greater number of tools and resources etc. However, it does not allow programming in any other language besides Java and does not offer native support for Web services. On the other hand, the .NET platform has support for multiple languages, integrated support for Web services, an excellent development tool and a language that is becoming more popular in academia. The factors that go against .NET are inadequate platform independence and single-vendor support. We conclude that there is no clear winner and the choice of platform will depend on various local factors. Finally, we provide a road-map that will help the educators in making the decision.
Date: 2003-09-17
Degree: M
Discipline: Computer Science
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/702


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