Netscape Updates Tools, Forte Upgrades App Server

Netscape Communications Corp. aired Netscape Application Builder 3.0 on Wednesday, the first of its tools that combines Visual JavaScript with the former Kiva tools it acquired late last year.

Netscape Application Builder 3.0, currently in private beta release and due to ship by year's end, links the tools side of the equation to the now-shipping Netscape Application Server 2.1 for which the tools are exclusively targeted, Netscape said.

That means that Netscape's next application server upgrade, due before spring and which will include support for Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs), will be followed by a Netscape tools upgrade shortly thereafter that includes its own support for the EJB specification, Netscape officials said.

"The tool was lagging behind and it's now a stronger development platform," said Anjan Mitra, product marketing manager at Netscape, in Mountain View, California.

The tools, which will cost US$1,295 per developer in addition to the cost of the application server, offers a Visual Basic-like interface to create the logic and framework for Web-based applications using the Netscape Application Server.

Nonetheless, Netscape expects best-of-breed tools to be used in conjunction with its tools, which the company characterized as "sweetening the pot" to lure users to the current version of its application server.

Also, Netscape later today is expected to announce that Lucent Technologies Inc. will be using the Netscape Application Server and CommerceXpert family of Internet-commerce applications to offer services to its partners and customers.

In other application server news, Forte Software Inc. on Monday introduced Forte WebEnterprise Professional Edition, which aims to provide "one-stop shopping" for a transactional Web development environment, said Ed Horst, vice president of product marketing at Forte, in Oakland, California.

Forte offers developers a way to build application logic through a "re-entrant style" graphical, wizard-based, database-driven application generator.

"It allows users to go back and make some changes and regenerate the application intelligently... and not have to start from scratch," Horst said.

Forte WebEnterprise Professional Edition, currently in beta release, will arrive soon after the first of the year priced at $24,990 on Intel-based Windows NT platforms. The next version, due out later next year, will support EJB, Forte said.

Netscape Communications Corp. can be reached at http://www.netscape.com/. Forte Software Inc. can be reached at http://www.forte.com/.

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