The technology, called ObjectStore PSE for Java, will provide "persistence" for Java applets, meaning that it will allow the applets to be stored locally on a user's hard drive. Currently, applets are erased from users' systems every time they shut down their browsers.
Applet persistence is less critical for tiny Java animations such as spinning coffee cups, but as applets evolve into full-fledged applications, their performance will suffer if they have to be downloaded from the Net when a user wants to run them.
"The more complicated the Java application gets, the more need for some local data storage," said Ken Wang, business development manager for Netscape. "This is a key enabler of that."
The ObjectStore is a lightweight database that stores Java applets, as well as related data such as images, sound files, and text. The database itself is written in Java so that it can run on all of the platforms that support it.
Netscape said it will bundle the database with Communicator, which is due out in beta by the end of this year.