Crucial to the success of the network computer (NC) espoused by Sun and others are reliable, useful development tools and packaged applications.
Joining a raft of third-party announcements, Sun's JavaSoft subsidiary has unveiled several Java applications, including a series of desktop productivity applications and development tools, that it hopes will open the door to IS acceptance. But despite the explosion of third-party Java code, some analysts warn that the Java language itself has yet to mature in the eyes of conservative IS departments.
"The problem is that it's still a 1.0 language, so expectations of performance and market adoption have to be framed into those confines," says Tracy Corbo, an analyst with International Data, in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Planetworks has announced a development tool aimed at speeding the development and deployment of multitier Java applications, as well as a support deal with Sun and IBM to tie Java clients to CICS, Encina, and MQSeries middleware.
Unify is touting its Vision and Vision/Web database-oriented application tools, which allow developers to generate Java and deploy multitier Web applications. Other vendors have made Java-related announcements, including:
* Navio Communications, an affiliate of Netscape, says it will make a version of Navio Navigator browser designed for non-PC platforms available for Sun's JavaStation.
* Interleaf has announced a Java version of its Worldview Electronic Viewer. Scheduled to enter beta testing in December, the software will let JavaStation users access and navigate large collections of electronic documents stored on a server from Sun's HotJava browser.
* Connect will release a group-scheduling and information management program and a collection of vertical market applications for the JavaStation.
*SAS Institute has demonstrated a collection of Java applets that lets users access data warehouse and decision-support systems from the JavaStation. They are: JavaSoft power tool chest; Java WorkShop (next version to support Java Beans components, Sun just-in-time (JIT) compilers, javac Java compiler and Macintosh, due in the first half of 1997); Java Plan, a high-end team-modeling and design package (due in December); Project Studio, a Visual Java component assembly tool (due in the first half of 1997); Project Speedway, JIT compilers (due late this year), optimised Java Virtual Machines (due late this year) and native Java compilers (due in the second half of 1997); and Project Ice-T, higher-level TCP/IP sockets connections for legacy application access. (due in the first half of 1997).