WebObjects is an object-oriented development environment for building high-traffic Web sites and linking them to databases. In Apple's $400 million acquisition of Next, Next's operating system technology overshadowed WebObjects, which many large companies use to build online catalogs, storefronts, and other sites that require complex information exchange.
Apple's plan for WebObjects consists of three parts:
"It's a logical extension of what [WebObjects] has been doing up to now," said Ross Rubin, group director of consumer Internet technologies at the research firm Jupiter Communications.
With version 3.1, Java support will for the first time be bundled with WebObjects. Java extensions for the current version 3.0 are available from the Next Web site.
WebObjects, like the OpenStep APIs that will be at the heart of Rhapsody, currently runs on Windows NT, Solaris, HP-UX, as well as the OpenStep/Mach platforms.
"Under the hood, WebObjects and OpenStep are 70 percent identical," an Apple spokesman said.
WebObjects accounted for nearly half of Next's revenues last year, according to Apple executive vice president Ellen Hancock. Hancock told CNET in a recent interview that Next had estimated WebObjects would generate more than 50 percent of Next's 1997 sales. In its 1994 fiscal year, the privately held Next posted a $1 million profit on $50 million in sales.
In an Internet World announcement, Apple said it would ship version 5.0 of its AppleShare IP server software in the second quarter with bundled third-party software, including Claris HomePage and Emailer, Santorini Server Manager, and Vicom Internet Gateway.