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Inprise kicks off developer site

Inprise launches its Borland.com portal Web site with a new release of its C++Builder development tool.

Inprise launched its Borland.com portal Web site today with a new release of its C++Builder development tool.

The portal is the result of a restructuring at Inprise last week, when the company laid off 190 workers and split into two divisions: Borland.com, focusing on e-commerce and providing a discussion forum for developers; and Inprise, specializing in enterprise and middleware products.

With Inprise acquiring middleware vendor Visigenic last year and focusing more on the enterprise, the company's legacy with development tools got lost in the shuffle--and Borland.com was created to fix that, said Borland.com president John Floisand.

"Our marketing messages were mixed, so we decided over the holidays that the only way [to solve that] was to spawn two divisions," he said. "We want to be a one-stop shop for our developers."

The first product available online is the new Borland C++Builder 4 with a raft of new features: Corba support for interoperability with COM, new debugging and Internet tools, a new compiler, support for the latest C++ language specifications and a browser for "two-way visual tools," which means developers can toggle back and forth between their code editor and visual tools.

"C++Builder 4 is really targeted at developers developing applications of all different types: database applications, Internet applications, and distributed object development," said Michael Swindell, Inprise's C++Builder product manager.

The Corba support will allow developers to link their existing COM objects to communicate with Unix and Java applications, he said. A new compiler supports existing C++ code, including those made with ANSI C++ and Microsoft's Visual C++.

It also supports Oracle's 8i database, Microsoft's SQL Server 7.0, Microsoft Transaction Server, and Microsoft Foundation Classes.

Along with C++Builder, Borland.com features newsgroup discussions. The company in the future will offer bug fixes and possibly link to technology Web sites that provide news stories of interest to developers, Floisand said.

Inprise will offer products from third-party vendors, such as RogueWave Software, that offer complementary products. Floisond doesn't rule out offering competitor's tools, such as Microsoft's Visual C++, if Borland.com visitors demand it. Borland.com could provide a link to other Web sites that sell Microsoft products, he said.

With e-commerce becoming more popular, it was time to focus on online sales, said Floisand, who added that Internet sales had previously been small. "We've been missing an opportunity because people like buying from the Web," he said.

The C++Builder enterprise edition costs $2,449 for new users and $1,699 for existing users. The professional edition costs $799 for new users.