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One or the other or both: in the battle between J2EE and .NET, insurers must determine which platform best fits their needs.

Although insurers have been able to choose between J2EE and .NET technology platforms for nearly a decade, the decision is still far from easy. Sun Microsystems' Java 2, Enterprise Edition, better known as J2EE, is a programming standard that uses Java language to support applications that enable enterprise programs to reach suppliers, customers and employees via Internet browsers. Many insurers believe the standard's proven scalability and strong interoperability are a winning combination.

While Microsoft's .NET, which helps companies build enterprise Web services, is newer to the market than J2EE, users say it's a cheaper, relatively simple programming model that allows various programming languages to communicate with one another.

The two enterprise architectures have differences, but their strong interoperability is positioning both well for Web services. In fact, the growing phenomenon of Web services as the standard for doing business over the Internet makes both .NET and J2EE must-haves for some insurers.

Other insurers, however, have made a choice. For FCCI Insurance Group, based in Sarasota, Fla., interoperability was a key factor in its decision to select J2EE, while Pacific Life Insurance Co. is finding value in .NET's reusability and programming language neutrality.

"Technology providers also see different values in the two platforms. "There is no door No. 3 choice; companies have to pick one or the other," said Randy Wheeler, founder and chief executive officer of Valley Oak Systems Inc., a national provider of claims management software, services and support. Because of its maturity and stability, J2EE is a more established technology, while NET still has to answer the question of "let's prove it" he said.

Doug Massey, vice president of insurance services for Blue Frog Solutions, an e-business solutions provider, believes .NET language and development tools are much easier to work with.

Allstate is one of the insurers who are finding value in both platforms, recognizing the two to be complementary. The company integrated J2EE language, through deployment of IBM's WebSphere 4.5, to manage the infrastructure and support Web services to enable development of business applications and existing mainframe applications into its .NET technologies. IBM's WebSphere Application Server is the dominant system that insurers use for Java development and deployment.

The growing use of J2EE, .NET and WebSphere among insurers will be examined in three separate sessions at this year's E-Fusion conference.
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Author:Chordas, Lori
Publication:Best's Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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