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Corporate world meets Net at DB/Expo

The client-server world of high-end corporate business applications and the new Internet-based computing model converged at the DB/Expo trade show.

The client-server world of high-end corporate business applications and the new Internet-based computing model converged to a larger degree than ever before at this week's DB/Expo trade show in San Francisco.

The show, once strictly devoted to relational databases and the tools that go with them, spotlighted new ways to distribute data online in its Internet and intranet conference, an Internet Village pavilion on the show floor, and panel discussions. In a keynote address today, Netscape Communications CEO and president Jim Barksdale underscored how access to the Net can affect the way companies set up databases that distribute information to employees and customers worldwide.

"The Internet, because of the massive growth of connectivity, changes everything," he said.

On the show floor, many vendors demonstrated their database tools using a browser interface reflecting the increase in vendors developing Web-based solutions for accessing and sharing information.

Several companies made announcements involving new database tools that take advantage of Web access. Among them:

--Hewlett-Packard announced its OpenWarehouse Web initiative. The set of software tools and consulting services from HP and its partners are designed to open corporate data warehouses to employees and customers worldwide using Web browsers without compromising security. OpenWarehouse partners include IQ/Software, Spider Technologies, Information Advantage, and Red Brick Systems. As part of the initiative, HP, Information Advantage, and Red Brick have collaborated to deliver WebOLAP Server, a hardware and software solution for storing information in a data warehouse and tools to analyze the data, looking for trends or patterns. Remote users can access the warehouse over the Web with a browser. The system uses HP's SecureWeb technology to block access to unauthorized users.

--Oracle expanded its connection between its Oracle7 database and Web servers with Oracle Tools Designer/2000 Web Server Generator, a suite of development tools, to dynamically produce Web applications. The company also announced that it has delivered its Oracle Universal Server on 11 hardward platforms. Universal Server is a new architecture to incorporate a series of information types, including Web-based data. The company also announced that its Oracle Express Server will support Web access.

--Level\5 announced the inclusion of Quest Web authoring tools as part of the Level\5 Quest Server, a high-performance search service that works with SQL database and HTTP Web servers. With the tool kit, users can create searchable database applications for the Internet or corporate intranet.

--DataCraft and Foresight Technology announced tools to lets users interact with 4th Dimension databases via Web browsers. DataCraft announced a developer tool referred to as Two Step that allows 4D data to be published on the Web without any custom coding. Foresight, meanwhile, is shipping its NetLink/4D for Windows, a gateway between backend database to Windows Web servers.