Microsoft Volta has been creating quite a stir on the community blogs over the last couple of weeks.

There has been a lot of discussion about whether this is a direct competitor to GWT. I think that the two are trying to do similar things, but in a very different way. With GWT you can take the code you have written in Java and run it in JavaScript, but that is about it. If you use anything else, it is not going to work. Volta is a lot more flexible based imageon its roots in the framework and provides you with quite a number of other scenarios because you can write the code in many languages ( on .NET ) and target many different execution engines in different tiers.

From an 100,000 feet view, Volta leverages the Common Intermediate Language (CIL) to enable many-to-many mappings between applications ( could be different and compiled into same CIL). Basically you can use any .NET language to write your app, compile it to .NET and then with Volta, drive the post-processing to regenerate CIL. Once done, you can insert extra stubs of code inside the application to make it run across multiple tiers and re-deploy.

Because Volta works on the CIL level, you could in theory convert the CIL to JavaScript, building a very interesting scenario for making your applications available as clients on the web. I guess this is where the GWT angle comes from.

imageAnother thought is that if you are working at the CIL level, the Volta tools can have a complete view of the application and by adding instrumentation, you can see where your applications has performance problems and you could potentially automatically build up a health model which could be managed from within

System Center. Same for security, Identity and so on.

The technology preview of Volta, now available to play with here.

There are also a few videos on this on Channel9 at the following locations

Part 1

http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=365220

Part 2

http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=365221

All the content on the subject can be seen at http://channel9.msdn.com/tags/Volta