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Netscape reworks Web publishing

Netscape and Actra ready PublishingXpert 2.0, new Web publishing and e-commerce software intended to replace Netscape's existing tools.

    Netscape Communications (NSCP) and Actra, a Netscape joint venture with GE Information Services (GE), will release a new version of Netscape's two-year-old Web site publishing software by the end of the month.

    PublishingXpert 2.0 by Actra replaces Netscape's Publishing System 1.6, released in January. The new product is part of Actra's CommerceXpert family of Internet commerce applications, originally announced in May as CrossCommerce.

    PublishingXpert is designed for both business- and consumer-oriented publishing on Web sites or extranets, and it includes multihosting features for ISPs or publishing ventures with multiple titles. The software also allows publishers to charge for subscriptions, as beta customer International Data Group does for some publications.

    The new software has been completely rearchitected from the last Netscape version, Actra said, and offers personalized content delivery, content management, secure payments from CyberCash, billing services, advanced search capabilities from PLS and Verity, and centralized administration.

    It also introduces AgentXpert, a CORBA-based agent framework for detailed personalization and one-to-one marketing and uses NetObjects' Fusion tools to enhance its Web site-building capabilities.

    Actra said Netscape and its channel partners will distribute PublishingXpert and other CommerceXpert products.

    PublishingXpert 2.0 will be available by the end of the month on Sun Solaris starting at $75,000. An SGI Irix version is due by the end of the year, with a Windows NT version due in the first quarter of 1998. PublishingXpert is bundled with Netscape Enterprise Server and LiveWire Pro tools and works with Oracle's database server software.

    Actra also announced prices and shipping dates for its other e-commerce products in the CommerceXpert family. ECXpert, software for EDI (electronic data interchange) over the Internet, is available now on Sun Solaris, priced from $50,000. It will be available on Windows NT within 30 days.

    SellerXpert, Actra's software for accepting self-service orders online and for communicating with partners and suppliers over the Net, is scheduled to ship within the next 30 days, priced from $195,000.