Andreessen heralds the "crossware" age

Netscape Communications is looking to the future with its planned integration of transaction-processing software and an object store into its forthcoming server and client products, the company's co-founder and senior vice president of technology Marc Andreessen said at the Internet World show last week.

Netscape Communications is looking to the future with its planned integration of transaction-processing software and an object store into its forthcoming server and client products, the company's co-founder and senior vice president of technology Marc Andreessen said at the Internet World show last week.

"We are going to build an object store into both the client and the server so that applications can then run locally in a disconnected mode and be matched by the server object store when connected," he said.

Netscape will also include common directory and other services that span multiple applications and include transaction-processing applications that can be deployed across back-end applications such as mainframe computers, he said.

Heralding the arrival of the age of "crossware" - a term Netscape has coined to describe software applications that can be deployed across multiple operating systems, hardware platforms and network interfaces - Andreessen said that the company would partner with other software vendors to integrate object technology and transaction processing in Netscape products.

"There is going to be a profound shift in the whole world of application development because the world is getting more diverse," he said.

The reasons for the diversification are the interconnection of networks; the fragmenting of operating systems (with 12 different versions of Unix and six versions of Windows); and the range of new devices including NCs and Internet TVs, Andreessen said.

Andreessen criticised Microsoft's integration of "push" technologies into its forthcoming Internet Explorer. "We think that push is just not necessary," he said.

By contrast, Netscape will concentrate its efforts on electronic data interchange (EDI) by connecting businesses with their suppliers and customers over the Internet, Andreessen said.

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