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Java creation made easier

Sun Microsystems' new Java authoring tool allows even non-programmers to get creative.

Now, even those who don't speak the programming language can give their creative visions life on the Web.

Tomorrow Sun Microsystems (SUNW) will announce the shipment of a new Java authoring tool for nonprogrammers.

Java Studio is designed for Webmasters, content creators, and graphic artists. The tool allows users to create Java applets and applications by connecting JavaBeans components, without writing Java code.

The new software, priced at $79, will challenge IBM's Bean Machine and Jamba from AimTech. Java Studio was originally expected to be released this summer, and the company indicated it will release even easier-to-use Java tools for nonprogrammers next year.

JavaBeans are reusable pieces of precoded software that can range from simple animations to complex logic for sophisticated functions. Java Studio users can build dynamic Web pages and applications by clicking a mouse to link JavaBeans.

The tool's "live" environment lets users create and test Internet applications while they are developing them--without publishing, running the application, or changing screens.

Java Studio comes bundled with more than 50 JavaBeans components from vendors including KL Group, Ludens, Object Design, and Thought. These components enable data retrieval, charting and graphing, rapid creation of user interfaces, and creation of animation, sound, and image components.

Also included are components for adding email, image maps, and Web access to applications. Other components allow more advanced users to perform Visual Basic scripting.

JavaStudio allows users to import JavaBeans from third-party vendors. Users can also import components created in-house with any Beans-compliant development environment, such as Sun's Java WorkShop.

Through February 28, a bundle of Java Studio and Java WorkShop, SunSoft's development environment, is priced at $189, a savings of $35 compared to the price of purchasing the software separately, Sun said. It can be purchased electronically at Sun's shop.com or Netscape's Software Depot.

Java Studio is available on Sun Solaris, Windows NT, and Windows 95. JavaBean components are available from the Sun Java Component Depot.