Novell is furthering its strategy of making it possible for .NET applications run on every mobile platform by introducing new tooling for the Android mobile operating system.
At Microsoft MIX today, Novell will demonstrate a “hello world” demo of Mono working on Android, said Joseph Hill, product manager for Mono.
Novell also produces MonoTouch, an iPhone development tool that converts .NET applications into Objective-C to run as a native application on the handset.
Novell’s strategy is to provide .NET everywhere developers want to be, Hill explained. Organizations can use Mono to take the business logic they have invested in .NET and use it elsewhere, he added.
Forrester principal analyst Jeffrey Hammond expressed his surprise that Microsoft hasn’t been more aggressive in supporting Android with .NET and Silverlight because the company still has a long lead-time until Windows Phone 7 ships.
For Silverlight to succeed in the mobile space, it needs to run on more than just Windows Phone 7, Hammond said. “I guess they have their reasons,” he added. Meanwhile, Novell is taking up the slack left by Microsoft.
The capability to write .NET applications for Android is being added to Novell’s Mono Tools for Visual Studio this year. Mono Tools costs US$99 for an individual license, $245 for an enterprise (one developer per organization) license, and $2,499 for a five-developer pack with a commercial license to redistribute Mono.
There is also an open-source project for code that allows CLR (Common Language Runtime) and DLR (Dynamic Language Runtime) code to call Dalvik (Android’s Java Virtual Machine), and vice-versa.
“When I look at what’s been done, it’s the really early days…’hello world,’ the basics,” said Hammond. “It will probably be the end of this year before it’s tangible. There’s not a whole lot of development cycles behind it.”
Hammond believes that container-based RIA solutions such as AIR, .NET and Silverlight will have a long-term advantage in the mobile market. He suggested that organizations that do not have pressing needs for a mobile application wait until the costs of platforms lower, and invest in approaches that reuse desktop development skills.