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Netscape and Sun Unveil JavaScript

In a bid to head off Microsoft's Internet strategy push later this week, Netscape Communications and Sun Microsystems this morning announced JavaScript, an open, cross-platform object-scripting language designed for creating and customizing applications on the Net. JavaScript will compete with Microsoft's Visual Basic, a programming standard designed to create Web applications.

JavaScript is based on Java, and the initial version is available as part of the beta version of Netscape Navigator 2.0, which can be downloaded from Netscape's site.

Company officials claim that JavaScript allows allows both HTML authors and users with little or no programming experience to create live online applications that link together objects and resources on clients and servers. For example, JavaScript might be used on an HTML page containing an intelligent form that performs loan payments or currency exchange calculations in response to user input.

Twenty-eight companies including America Online, Apple Computer, AT&T, Intuit, Macromedia, and Oracle have agreed to use JavaScript as an open-standard object-scripting language and plan to incorporate it in future products. The draft specifications of JavaScript will be avaialble this month for industry reviews and comments.