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Sybase's new power tool

Sybase subsidiary Powersoft announces a new Web tool that combines Net languages with database development techniques to build corporate intranet applications.

Sybase subsidiary Powersoft today unveiled the first of a planned series of Web tools intended to establish a place for the troubled database giant in the intranet development arena.

Powersoft announced a Web development tool, Powersoft NetImpact Studio, that combines Net languages like HTML and Java with familiar database development techniques for building corporate intranet applications.

NetImpact Studio, formerly code-named Charlotte, will head a full lineup of tools from Sybase, including tools for designing, building, testing, and deploying applications, the company said. Applications developed with the tool can be easily linked to Web servers from Open Market, Allaire, and other companies for building secure electronic commerce applications.

Sybase is attempting to combat application tool competitors, including Borland International and Microsoft, which are introducing Web-savvy versions of their core tools for information systems developers.

If Sybase succeeds, the number-two database vendor may be able to take a leadership role in the market for tools that link existing database-centric networks with intranets and possibly recoup from a series of bad quarters that resulted in the recent departure of CEO Mark Hoffman.

NetImpact includes an HTML editor, test browser, development database, scripting tools, and NetImpact Assistants for guiding developers through application design. Support for ActiveX, Java applets, and Netscape plug-ins is included.

Due in the fourth quarter, the tool will include NetImpact Dynamo, a tool for building and managing Web server applications, as well as templates for fast application development and tools to link Web servers to relational database management systems.

NetImpact Studio will work with Powersoft's existing PowerBuilder and Optima++ tools. PowerBuilder can be used to generate plug-ins and, in the future, ActiveX components. Optima++ generates plug-ins and in a future release will build Java applets and ActiveX controls, the company said.

Sybase also updated its database for desktop and mobile applications, SQL Anywhere Professional. Version 5.5 is now Windows 95 compatible. The database's bundled replication tool, SQL Remote, now includes support for Lotus VIM and Internet SMTP/POP communication protocols, in addition to Microsoft MAPI. The update also sports an updated version of Sybase's Transact-SQL database access language. The database will ship within 60 days, the company said, priced at $499 per user.

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