Netscape unveils intranet strategy
Application development tools targeted at intranets and the Internet
San Francisco -- Netscape Communications Corp. has announced a standards-based platform and set of development tools aimed at enabling software companies to create applications for corporate intranets and the Internet.
The tools called Netscape ONE (Open Network Environment), which Netscape will give away free, will enable developers to create applications which run on most operating systems.
"The Netscape ONE platform unifies the open, publicly-defined standards that are the foundation of Netscape's leading software products," said Marc Andressen, senior vice president of technology at Netscape. The new platform brings together Internet standards such as HTTP, HTML, LDAP and Java into one unified developer package.
So far, 21 companies have licensed Netscape ONE, including Adobe Systems Inc., Borland International Inc., Silicon Graphics Inc., Symantec Corp. and Macromedia Inc., but some analysts don't think these companies are enough to make Netscape ONE the industry standard it is setting out to be.
"The vendors who've licensed the technology aren't mainstream vendors," said Mike Kennedy, program director for research firm, The Meta Group. "Plus, licensing a technology is different than delivering products that use it," Kennedy continued. More companies will have to jump on the Netscape ONE bandwagon, he said, before it poses a real threat to Microsoft Corp.'s ActiveX development architecture for creating component-based applications. "It's a good first step for Netscape, but a lot still needs to be delivered," said Kennedy.
Microsoft's ActiveX is similar to the CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) technology included in the Netscape ONE platform because both can be used to facilitate communications between software objects and applications. ActiveX works only on Windows machines while CORBA has been ported to multiple operating systems.
In a separate announcement, Microsoft Corp. said that it would
transfer control of ActiveX to an independent group of customers and
neutral organizations, reportedly to dispel beliefs that ActiveX is a
proprietary technology tied to the Windows platform.
--Kristi Essick, IDG News Service, San Francisco Bureau
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