Microsoft this week began shipping its Java development tool, Visual J++ 6.0, which includes Windows FoundationClasses (WFCs), a controversial technology that critics have charged sabotages the spirit of Java's "write once, program anywhere" goal.
WFCs are client- and server-side Java class libraries that replace client-side Application Foundation Classes.
With the pre-built WFC components provided in Visual J++, developers can leverage the Win32 API and Dynamic HTML programming models to build components that interoperate with components written in other programming languages, according to Microsoft.
Visual J++ also includes enhanced data access, integrated Visual Database Tools, component repository technology, and the ability to create ActiveX controls.
Because Visual J++ was not ready for release on September 2, when Microsoft released Visual Studio 6.0, a voucher for the Java software was included in the development tools suite.
The upgrade price is $US59 for Visual J++ Standard Edition and $US219 for Visual J++ Professional Edition; the Standard Edition carries a $US109 price tag, and the Professional Edition is priced at $US549. Microsoft also posted a 30-day trial version of the software on its Web site at msdn.microsoft.com/visualj.
When Microsoft announced Visual J++ 6.0 back in March, the WFCs prompted howls of outrage from rival companies and Java purists who accused the company of attempting to subvert Java because it viewed the programming language as a threat to Windows.