Survey Says…Developers Favor .NET over EJB

The results of a recent survey by ComponentSource, an established marketplace for reusable software components, show Microsoft Corp. is beating Sun Microsystems in the early stages of a battle for mindshare in the Web services community.

ComponentSource surveyed a representative sample of its 500,000 developer members to find out the adoption rates for both Microsoft .NET and Sun’s Enterprise Java Bean model. According to its findings, 79 percent of its user base is evaluating, or plans to evaluate .NET only, compared to just 14 percent for EJB only. Only seven percent said they have plans for both platforms.

“The results were more in favor of .NET than we originally expected,” says ComponentSource CEO Sam Patterson, who believed prior to the survey that .NET was attracting more developers than EJB, but not by such a large margin.

Patterson says he feels the disparity is both a testament to Microsoft, and a shot at Sun, highlighting the stubbornness of the Java Community Process – the standards body that controls the EJB platform. “I think [the survey] shows that Microsoft is making headway not only in marketing, but also in their ability to get their betas out early,” says Patterson. He feels Sun and the JCP, on the other hand, are hurting EJB’s potential as a development tool by refusing to enable licensing for the platform.

“Not being able to license your software to protect your intellectual property makes people hesitant to develop third-party components for your platform,” says Patterson.

However, as the model for Web services continues to evolve, the licensing issue may become less of a problem for Sun. Patterson says, if the open standards on which the Web services concept is based are implemented in a truly open nature, Java developers may be able to circumvent any issues third-party vendors have with licensing by building Web services that are easily digested inside Java.

But, for now, Patterson feels “you have to have a standard way that the component or service can handle licensing, and Microsoft has that.”

It is unlikely the JCP will release a specification for licensing software components any time soon, since it has historically shied away from anything that may portray Java as a pro-proprietary platform.

In light of the results of its survey on .NET and EJB, ComponentSource has developed a dedicated section for .NET beta components under the umbrella of its marketplace site. The .NET area is different than similar ones ComponentSource has created for Java developers, VCL developers and traditional Microsoft COM developers in that it is comprised of betas only. A vendor-agnostic marketplace, ComponentSource also has dedicated sites for IBM developers and Borland Inprise developers, as well as other technical sites such as DevX.

For Web services developers, Patterson says ComponentSource’s commitment to .NET and Java figures to cast it in the role of registry. He says, “While UDDI is purported to be the registry for Web services, all it really is is a yellow pages for Web services.” ComponentSource takes directory a step further, says Patterson, providing a single point of contact for developers that wish to use multiple Web services within larger applications. ComponentSource handles all aspects of the transaction process, including service level agreements, and pays royalties off any sales made through its marketplace.

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.