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Apple revs application server software

WebObjects 4 adds additional Java support, accelerated deployment options, and a new pricing structure.

Apple Computer wants a piece of the application server pie.

The company said today it is shipping WebObjects 4, an updated version of Apple's application server software.

New in this release is additional Java support, accelerated deployment options, and a new pricing structure, according to Apple.

WebObjects was originally designed by Next Computer, which Apple purchased in 1996. The software runs on a middle tier, between Web browser-based thin clients and back-end databases and business applications. Application servers handle all of the application logic and connectivity that old-style client-server applications contained.

Apple has added new Java features to version 4 of the product, such as new debugger options and a Java project builder assistant.

WebObjects now includes a "direct-to-Web" development assistant that the company claims can reduce code writing and speed up application deployment by combining built-in reusable components into working applications. The tool also now features faster transaction processing that allows Web pages to load more quickly, Apple said.

WebObjects 4 is priced at $1,499 for a developer's license. Deployment licenses cost between $7,500 and $50,000, depending on the number of server processors used in the application.

Apple, along with nearly two dozen other vendors, is targeting the application server space, which analysts expect to continue its rapid growth throughout the next two years as companies add Web-based e-commerce and other online applications.