The company is shaping a series of commerce-related products that will be aimed at users of its Web servers and high-end commercial application line, which includes the Istore, Merchant, Publishing, and Community systems.
In May, Netscape will publish documentation on its Web site for a series of application programming interfaces (APIs) for its applications that will let developers use standard and documented methods to customize Web sites built on top of those applications.
For example, the company will provide APIs for adding membership, access control, search, agent server, and billing features to Web sites, said Andres Espineira, director of commercial applications product marketing at Netscape. The APIs in fact already exist in the commercial applications, but until now they have been closed to developers.
The APIs are only part of Netscape's commerce plans. The company is also considering offering add-on software to help developers build commerce applications faster by adding prebuilt components onto Netscape's server applications.
Cash Register and comparable components for automating commerce-related functions might be sold as individual add-ons for use with Netscape servers or offered in bundles, according to Netscape officials, who would not commit to any specific marketing plan.
"There's nothing stopping developers from doing C and C++ routines [for the components like these] on their own," said Romeo Baldeviso, product line manager for Integrated Applications at Netscape. "[But] we'll be providing run-time libraries that greatly speed their development."