Netscape to focus on intranet at developers' conference

Netscape is expected to use a developer conference in New York this week to hammer the intranet message.

Netscape's Internet Developers' Conference, being held this week, will focus on intranets, according to industry analysts and vendors. Netscape is expected to make numerous product announcements during the week, including the unveiling of the beta version of its Navigator 4.0 browser, which has been code-named Galileo.

"They are holding the conference in New York because that's where intranets live," says Stan Dolberg, industry analyst at Boston-based Forrester Research. "Intranets live where the Fortune 1000 lives, and that's New York."

Dolberg says he expects the conference to stay focused on a single, constant message. "They have this mantra that they will repeat -- intranet, intranet, intranet -- while saying that's where their product line is," Dolberg says.

Mountain View, California-based Netscape has kept a tight lid on information about the conference, but industry experts say the company should improve on the message it delivered at a similar event it held in March. "They were criticised for having too much fluff at the March conference and I was one of the people that criticised them," says Neil Wientraut, Netscape analyst for San Francisco-based Hambrecht & Quist. "I suspect they are going to focus much more on developers this time around."

Galileo is expected to have a number of new features, including more sophisticated information filtering capabilities using agent technology, integration of Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) services, offline and mobile support and enhanced Java class libraries.

Galileo is expected to support some level of 3D images, along with enhanced forms capabilities. Netscape is also expected to make a series of significant announcements concerning its server line, considered the heart of any intranet strategy.

The company's Enterprise Server, slated for the next-generation upgrade by year's end, will in all probability be previewed this week. The next version of the company's SuiteSpot server line, code-named Orion, will centre on the Enterprise Server, which is expected to have LDAP directory services, along with agent, replication, application deployment and management services upgrades.

The News Server is also due for a major upgrade and is expected to be previewed at the developers' conference. Improvements will include collaboration services, offline access, agent services, and conversion tools to convert from Microsoft's Exchange mail or Lotus' Notes mail to Netscape News mail.

Netscape is also expected to preview the latest version of its Proxy Server, which is supposed to feature enhanced replication performance, improved content filtering and access control.

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