Netscape launches tools suite

Netscape has launched SuiteTools at Internet World, a product suite and online tools guide aimed at showing that a robust set of tools exists for its application-development platform and server line.

Netscape has launched SuiteTools at Internet World, a product suite and online tools guide aimed at showing that a robust set of tools exists for its application-development platform and server line.

SuiteTools comprises four currently available products, three of which come from third-party developers, according to Rick Fleischman, senior product manager for tools at Netscape.

Specifically SuiteTools consists of Symantec's Visual Cafe Pro, for building Java applications and applets; Net Objects' Fusion, designed for Web-site creation; the NetDynamics' Java-based NetDynamics high-end tool for database connectivity; and Netscape's own LiveWire Pro, a tool for managing links to databases and Web pages.

Netscape is not offering special bundling discounts, but is selling the tools separately as any reseller would, Fleischman says.

The difference in buying the third-party tools from Netscape rather than through other resellers is that Netscape puts its own box wrapper around a third-party vendor's product. In addition Netscape offers front-end support including installation support and typical 90-day help for new users, Fleischman says.

Netscape pays fees for the third-party tools as it inventories them, Fleischman says. The company may consider bundling discounts in the future, he says.

The company is also announcing an online tools guide called Tools for Netscape ONE, a listing of tools from more than 40 vendors, says Fleischman. Netscape ONE (Open Network Environment) is a cross-platform, standards-based application development platform.

"As Web servers have gotten more sophisticated the role of sophisticated application development tools is becoming more important," says Fleischman. "Customers want to see tools out there before they buy client and server products ... in an effort to meet that need we are putting together a new line."

Netscape is working with the third-party vendors to ensure that the tools work well with the Netscape ONE platform now and in the future, he says.

"Customers are increasingly looking to Netscape to provide them with the tools they need," says Fleischman. "We don't want to give them a list of 40 vendors and just say call them."

The online guide Tools for Netscape ONE is a categorisation of tools and how they relate to one another. The guide includes screen shots of the products and hyperlinks back to the third-party developers' site. It can be accessed at http://www.developer.netscape.com/library/tools.

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