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JLCA Ports Legacy Java Code to .NET

The Java Language Conversion Assistant (JLCA) enables developers to port legacy Java code to the .NET world. Get an introduction to this tool, along with an explanation of its installation and conversion processes.




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ava and .NET have each enjoyed a period in the sun as the hottest programming technology. Java is still a big favorite in enterprises—and justifiably so: Java runtime environments exist for all major platforms and even for simple embedded devices like mobile phones and BlackBerrys. Meanwhile, the .NET solution has many compelling advantages, including the ease of entry for existing Visual Basic programmers and a far more uniform method of configuration. Early surveys show C# in particular striking a popular chord with programmers, bringing new blood into the .NET world.

Happily for developers who need to migrate their enterprise Java applications to the .NET platform, the Java Language Conversion Assistant (JLCA) enables them to take legacy Java code and bring it into the .NET world as well.

For single developers and many small-to-medium-sized enterprises, especially, the Microsoft solution is the pragmatic choice. A search of employment Web sites anecdotally suggests it is easier to find programming talent that is familiar with Microsoft technology, and the large bevy of existing Visual Basic and Visual C++ code can be easily ported to the .NET environment as well.

This article introduces the JLCA and steps you through its installation and conversion process. The instructions include adding any missing components from the original Visual Studio.NET discs.

What Is the JLCA?
The JLCA is a free tool from Microsoft that automates the conversion of Java projects to C#.NET projects. Although it costs nothing and is simple to use, the JLCA can't be used with free command-line C# compilers. It snaps only into Visual Studio.NET.

Microsoft's official line is that the JLCA is part of its program to help former J++ programmers wean themselves off the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine (the non-standard JVM that caused much legal wrangling with Sun). Cynics will quickly note that the JLCA does not migrate code from Microsoft's JVM to another JVM, but to the .NET framework instead.

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