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Borland tries to blind Visual Basic

Borland has a new tool to combat Microsoft's Visual Basic.

Borland International will this month announce an intranet development tool intended to deflect some of the heat the company has felt recently from Microsoft's Visual Basic.

Borland IntraBuilder, to be shown publicly for the first time at Borland's user conference, is a rapid application development tool for building backend database servers with Web-based front ends, according to sources familiar with Borland's plans. The tool includes support for building JavaScript objects, a report generator for assembling database reports on the Web, the Borland Database Engine for obtaining access to SQL databases and network servers, and a series of Experts to guide developers through complex portions of application development.

Borland will offer a low-end version of the tool and a high-end IntraBuilder Professional bundle that will include the company's InterBase database server and other tools, according to sources. Both versions are set to ship by year's end, though no pricing was disclosed.

Executives at Borland declined to comment on IntraBuilder.

Borland is planning to ship a development tool for creating Java applets called Latte by year's end, but IntraBuilder will be the company's first attempt to bridge the gap between its traditional audience of client-server database developers and a new breed of developers concentrating on intranet applications. Borland will spend at least part of its user conference spelling out its strategy for doing that effectively.

The company is facing stiffer competition on its home turf of client-server development tools. Borland recently announced a loss for its last quarter and ousted CEO Gary Wetzel after pressure from Microsoft's Visual Basic sales caused a drop in sales of Borland's Delphi tool.

Microsoft, Powersoft, and other Borland competitors are also rushing to debut intranet tools that support traditional client-server development, along with cutting-edge Java technology.

Powersoft, for example, today said it has posted beta versions of its web.pb and PowerBuilder Window Plug-in tools to its Web site. The tools let applications developed with PowerBuilder run in a standard Web browser. Both tools are set to ship in the third quarter.

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