Java apps will push NC acceptance

Applications and development tools are crucial to the success of the network computer.

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).

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