This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum. We're giving away four copies of Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt and have Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam & Tushar Sharma on-line! See this thread for details.
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"interact" is vague enough to leave lots of choices.
The most seamless would be if VB made COM objects and Java talked to them. Java can't do that out of the box, but Google for "java com bridge" and you'll find lots of libraries, some free, some very expensive. JACOB is the only one I've tried but I never took it to production.
Java has a Java Native Interface API that lets you do bi-directional calls between Java and C/C++. I suppose you could generate the "native" side with other languages, but VB is probably too high level.
After that you could think about network protocols - raw sockets, HTTP, etc. Messaging with JMS on the Java side and something comparable on the VB side would work, too.
There's a small industry around integrating desktop applications. We looked at Jacada and EGlue and a couple others that can script robotic keyboard actions and screen scraping. That can be a cost effective way to reduce desktop navigation and duplicate entry.
Any of that sound useful?
A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of the idea. John Ciardi