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Mainsoft has upgraded its plug-in for Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2005 to help developers run their Visual C++ applications on Linux and Unix, following on its recent release of a new preview of the company’s Grasshopper tool for enabling ASP.NET applications to run on Linux and Unix.

Mainsoft announced the availability of its Visual MainWin (C++) for UNIX and Linux, version. 5.1.1 on Jan. 31.

The San Jose, Calif., company said ISVs can use Visual MainWin and Microsoft’s most popular development environments to develop enhancements for Visual C++ applications and deploy their applications on all the latest Linux and Unix servers.

With the new version of MainWin, ISVs can now port C++ applications from Visual Studio 2005 to Solaris on SPARC, AMD64, and x86; AIX on Power; HP-UX on PA-RISC and Integrity (Itanium); and Red Hat and SUSE Enterprise Linux on x86.

“To meet customers’ diverse set of platform requirements, ISVs need to offer their solutions on Windows as well as the newest Unix and Linux operating systems,” said Philippe Cohen, Mainsoft’s vice president of products, in a statement.

“Visual MainWin version 5.1.1 offers a single code base to support both 32-bit and 64-bit requirements, the newest operating systems and compiler versions, cumulative fixes, and various enhancements to meet customers’ demands.”

Geoff Babb, manager of Engineering Infrastructure at Mentor Graphics, Wilsonville, Ore., said a growing number of Mentor Graphics’ large enterprise customers have asked for the company’s applications to run on Linux.

In a statement, Babb said, “Visual MainWin gives us the strategic opportunity to take our portfolio of high-performance graphics solutions, comprised of 5 to 7 million lines of C++ code, to the latest Linux and Unix operating systems, without having to rewrite our applications or maintain separate code bases for Windows and Linux deployments.”

Also, Rich Turner, product manager for desktop software at ESRI, Redlands, Calif., said in a statement, “Without the help of Visual MainWin, we would have had to significantly increase our engineering staff and maintain multiple code bases of our geographic information system server software products.

“Using the Mainsoft technology minimized our development costs and reduced the overall time to market for our server products on Linux and Unix platforms, which is very important to our customers.”

Meanwhile, a week prior to releasing Visual MainWin 5.1.1, Mainsoft announced the release of its Grasshopper 2.0 Technology Preview 2, a plug-in to the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment that lets C# developers write ASP.NET 2.0 Web applications using C# 2.0 and generics and deploy them on Linux and other Java-enabled platforms.

Mainsoft said that more than 17,000 .Net developers have joined Mainsoft’s cross-platform community since the site was launched in May 2005.

Moreover, community forums and technical articles that demonstrate how to port existing .Net 2.0 applications to Java are available free to developers who register at, the company said.

Mainsoft’s 2.0 Technology Preview 2 is the result of Mainsoft’s three-year collaboration with the Mono project, an open-source development effort to create an open-source multi-platform version of the Microsoft .Net technologies, sponsored by Novell.

Click here to read more about Mainsoft and IBM porting .Net apps to Linux and J2EE.

Miguel de Icaza, Novell’s vice president of developer platforms and the leader of the Mono project, said of Mainsoft in a statement, “Their expertise in both the .Net development platform and the open-source environment has been a significant factor in helping Mono pursue our shared goal of promoting cross-platform .Net in the enterprise, much faster than was possible.”

A recent survey conducted by The Code Project, a virtual community of 3.3 million Visual Studio developers, shows that 26 percent of Visual Studio developers are using Linux development technologies, compared to 31 percent who said they use Microsoft’s Visual Basic .Net.

“Most developers come to our Developer Zone with existing .Net 1.1 or .Net 2.0 applications that they want to run on open systems,” Mainsoft’s Cohen said.

“As many as one third are looking for solutions to complex interoperability in heterogeneous environments. These are the types of challenges that can be resolved in a straightforward manner using cross-platform .Net.”

The Grasshopper 2.0 Technology Preview lets developers create Web projects using .Net 2.0 functionalities such as out-of-the box ASP.NET 2.0 authentication and authorization with a pure Java datastore for membership, roles and profiles.

It also offers ASP.NET 2.0 controls, including master pages, login control, wizard, themes, and data controls such as GridView, and lets developers deploy them natively on Tomcat, Mainsoft officials said.

Also, to support multi-platform deployments, the Technology Preview comes bundled with the IBM Cloudscape database.

Developers can also port existing ASP.NET 2.0 applications to Linux and other Java-enabled platforms.

In addition, to speed the debugging process, developers can use the Visual Studio 2005 debugger to attach the Web application to Java and control its execution, Mainsoft said.

Paolo De Nictolis, a freelance Web developer and technical contributor to MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network), used the Grasshopper 2.0 Technology Preview to develop a Web-based accounting application with roles-based security and deployed it to Linux.

In a statement, he said, “It would be rather difficult to achieve such a tight integration between the .Net and Java components if we had resorted to Web services as our integration technology.”

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