Netscape bought Kiva Software last fall to supplement its server software offerings. Server software for large businesses and development of the Netcenter Web site are Netscape's main focuses now that it doesn't charge for browsers. The Kiva server, renamed Netscape Application Server, allows companies to custom-build applications that employees and business partners can access over the network.
With the next version of Application Server due in the second half of 1998, Netscape will add support for Enterprise JavaBeans, premade building blocks that developers can piece together to create larger applications that run over a network. Developers will be able to make their own Beans with App Builder, which ships with Application Server, or with third-party Java development tools such as Symantec's Visual Café and Sun's Java Workshop. Third-party tools must be used in conjunction with App Builder.
Developers should also be able to buy or license Beans from independent software vendors. Several companies are expected to announce plans to resell Beans next week, when Sun hosts the JavaOne conference in San Francisco. The blueprint for Enterprise JavaBeans is also expected to be released next week.
Since Enterprise JavaBeans will be built according to a single specification, server makers like Netscape will be forced to compete by making their servers faster and more reliable, said Sharmila Shahani, director of product marketing for Netscape's application servers and tools division.
Netscape also said today that it will release an Extension Builder toolkit in May to link Application Server to existing corporate "legacy" applications. With the kit, developers can use Application Server to allow Web-based access to older host-based transaction processing applications such as BEA Tuxedo and IBM's MQSeries, CICS, and IMS systems, as well as business application packages from PeopleSoft and SAP. The Extension Builder 2.1 kit, for Windows NT and Sun Solaris, is expected to cost $4,995 per processor.