Replacing Java with ActiveX -- a possibility?

Posted on 2002-04-19
Last Modified: 2010-03-31
I am a web developer working for a large company and I was just assigned the task to learn Java for support of our E-commerce applications (SAP, Haht).  Our company is a Microsoft shop, however, Java is currently being used on our company website ONLY for order entry.  (Therefore, Java is only being used in a small portion of our site.)  I would prefer to eliminate Java and focus on ActiveX since we are a Microsoft shop; therefore, it is one less thing we would have to learn, support, and not worry about Microsoft not supporting it and making it unstable.

Contrary to the increased hype about Java over the past several years, the future for Java looks very gloomy to me based on two major areas of concern:

(1) I must be concerned about Microsoft's direction of Java since they control the Browser and the OS and sit on $40 Billion in CASH.  They control whether the Java VM gets put in the browser or OS.  Internet Explorer has 95% of the browser market.  I recently heard that Microsoft dropped the Java VM from Windows XP.  They obviously want ActiveX to be king and Java to be dead as quick as possible.

(2) I'm equally concerned about the future of Java if IBM buys Sun.  If IBM buys Sun, Java is doomed for good.  IBM has never been good at software, only the hardware.  Just look at OS/2.  We've also seen what happened to Netscape when AOL bought it... they killed it.



Putting these two major Java concerns aside, please answer these two questions:

(1) What is the oldest version of the Java VM that is typically supported by Java developers?

(2) What is involved to convert Java to ActiveX?

(3) Is ActiveX supported by the latest release of Netscape(I would assume not)?

Please answer these last three questions AND tell me where you think Java is headed.  If you think Java has a future, tell me how that would be possible based on my two major concerns/projections.  Thanks!

Question by:jmknarr
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Expert Comment

ID: 6954590
>>> not worry about Microsoft not supporting it and making it unstable.

Better to scrap all the Microsoft stuff in favor of Java ;)

LVL 86

Expert Comment

ID: 6955069
So do we take it that you're not interested in security in your commercial life? If so, MS technology is the way to go. If you are, it's a no-brainer.
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Expert Comment

ID: 6955166
Agree with above, scrap the MS stuff and migrate to Java.
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Expert Comment

ID: 6955172
And both of your Java concerns are unfounded:

1) Firstly the JVM is being delivered seperately from the browser, and secondly applets are only a small part or what Java can do.

2) Have you ever looked at the Java development work being done by IBM?

LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 6955176
If MS wants to get rid of Java so bad then why doesn't it just drop all Java support from it products?
LVL 86

Expert Comment

ID: 6955845
>>If MS wants to get rid of Java so bad then why doesn't it just drop all Java support from it products?

Don't tempt them objects!

Accepted Solution

gadio earned 300 total points
ID: 6955895

Some big questions you are asking there.
First let me say that it seems that you are already convinced what your direction is going to be - so you are only trying to get some other opinions before you decide what you already decided.

>I would prefer to eliminate Java and focus on ActiveX
> since we are a Microsoft shop; therefore, it is one less
> thing we would have to learn, support,

I agree to the rational. If you are a Microsoft shop, from the view point of maintenance, and know how in the organization you would make a very safe decision by moving to ActiveX (if indeed the ration now is 95% MS 5% java, if it would be 30% java - I would agree with Objects opinion above).
> and not worry about Microsoft not supporting it and
> making it unstable.
Microsoft stopped supporting Java a long time ago. And look what's happened: Its getting adopted more and more, and turning to be a very main-stream environment. So - I wouldn't worry about MS support at all.

Now about your issues:
1) Microsoft 'support', was not good. The had a version that was complient (if I recall correctly) to jdk1.0. Now, anyone that is doing anything in java uses jdk1.2/3/4 . So I don't belive that taking the jvm out of the XP will have any real affect. The issues about the money that MS is investing are correct. Actually, I would say that their main alternative is the .net and C#. If you look at these new technologys, you will find that the delta of difference in new ideas that they put into it is -->0. Its 99.9% java ideas. Thats is a complement for Sun I think. It shows that they had somthing that the industry needs, and that there is a good chance of it to survive. However the money that MS is putting into it may very well eventually kill java and position the C# as a replacement. Its going to be an interesting fight.
About the ActiveX - it is now not the main fight. The main fight is being fought in the server arena. Its going to be the j2ee vs .NET technologies that will eventually be the main issue. ActiveX is mainly about UI and is not a big issue (IMHO).
2. IBM is currently the most active player in the java arena. I think even more than Sun in some respects. Pay a visit to the alphaworks, you will be surprised of the amount of activity. For example, I remeber that IBM release one or two years ago 6 or 7 different jvms at the same month(!). Its true that they make great things that may end up on the shelf, but the core java has a lot of momentum.

you Q:
>(1) What is the oldest version of the Java VM that is typically supported by Java developers?
I belive 1.1 . But the question is what is typically? On the browser side? Server? They may be different answers.

>(2) What is involved to convert Java to ActiveX?
Take out all the requierments from the current java applet, and just write according to them an ActiveX. If you are going to do that, make sure that your original assumptions are correct - that the server side is not Java, because if it is, I would seriously reconsider the ActiveX idea.

>(3) Is ActiveX supported by the latest release of Netscape(I would assume not)?
I'm not sure. My bet is - no.

LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 6956059
first EE Java TROLL detected !

> IBM has never been good at software, only the hardware.  Just look at OS/2.

hehe. have you ever used Os/2 vs Windows 3.11

Expert Comment

ID: 6957405
I agree with heyhey. IBM was and still is very good in software and hardware. Their sales capabilities and strategy were not great and thats a different issue (espacially comparing to MS that will put something in a box and sell it - not matter how crappy it is).

Expert Comment

ID: 6959146
HA!  I read this question and 20 flame messages flashed through my head, but luckily they went right on out.  Have to stay calm.

You have to be aware of HOW MS got their browser market share and what else is happening.  AOL and Compuserve were also using the IE for their emebedded browser.  That is until Mozilla is finished.  They are on 0.9 (almost finished.)  Compuserve is now starting to use their Geko engine instead of IE.  Once Mozilla has 1.0 out it will be included in the new Netscape and AOL, who owns Netscape, will switch.  That is the post of many threads at many sites.  Once AOL switches their embedded browser those numbers will change.  But it doesn't matter.  A Java plug-in supports all browsers, and platforms.  

If you start putting all your hope into one single technology and technology base, you begin limiting youself and are setting yourself up for a fall.  Therefore, if your company decides to implement a bare-minimum of Java (applets) then you can at-least rest-assured that you are atleast maintaining familiarity with other technilogical solutions.  


Expert Comment

ID: 7972640
This question has been abandoned. I will make a recommendation to the moderators on its resolution in a week or two. I appreciate any comments that would help me to make a recommendation.
In the absence of responses, I may recommend this question to be:
points to gadio

Silence = you don't care
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