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Application servers rolling out

The Web development software market is hot, and toolmakers are scrambling to beat each other to market with new products.

The Web development software market is hot, and toolmakers are scrambling to beat each other to market with new products.

In the coming weeks, a handful of development firms will unveil new products that push the envelope for intranet application builders.

Most development tool and application server makers are advertising new products that can help companies get new systems up and running in a hurry.

News analysis:
Application server eludes definition Two companies, Allaire and Vision Software, are adding new products to the increasingly crowded application server software market, while NetObjects plans to ship an add-on server suite for use with its Web development toolset.

Today, Allaire announced plans to ship version 4.0 of its Cold Fusion application server toolset in the fourth quarter.

Allaire said Cold Fusion 4.0 adds new support for the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) framework, in addition to existing Component Object Model (COM) support. That means developers can now link Cold Fusion applications to other systems using both CORBA and COM. Also added are new drivers for Oracle and Sybase databases, and Microsoft's OLE DB data access specification.

Allaire has also added new support for server clusters with failover and load balancing. The company has added an embedded version of Bright Tiger's ClusterCATS Web site resource management software.

To make it easier to write code, Cold Fusion 4.0 includes new interactive debugging tools. And to accommodate team development, the tool includes new source control and remote development features.

Allaire sells the server component of Cold Fusion 4.0 in professional and enterprise editions. The professional version costs $1,295. The enterprise version includes clustering support and other high-end tools and sells for $3,495. ColdFusion Studio, the client-side tools that work with Cold Fusion Server, costs $395.

NetObjects said today that it is readying a new tool, Authoring Server Suite 3.0, for building and managing corporate intranet sites using its TeamFusion tool.

The tool consists of an authoring server, for storing and distributing the assets, HTML pages, structure, link information, and user profiles for multiple Web sites, NetObjects said. Also included are administrative tools and client software for the company's TeamFusion development tool.

The company is also planning to deliver connector software for linking Microsoft's FrontPage Web authoring tool to the Authoring Server.

Authoring Server Suite 3.0 is priced at roughly $1,585 for a two-user configuration.

Finally, Vision Software will next week announce Vision Business Logic Server, a new twist on application servers. The server uses business rules, instead of procedural code, to develop applications.

With Vision's new server, developers use business terms to define application components, instead of writing them in lower-level computer code. Business rules define how an application works. For instance, developers define a "check credit limit" object with plain English statements to determine whether a customer's balance is under an assigned credit limit.

The company claims that its business rules approach lets companies deploy applications much faster than with conventional development tools.

Vision Jade 4.0 also connects to COM and CORBA applications, Enterprise Java Beans systems, and most relational databases, the company said.

The tool is priced at $5,995 for a 10-user server license and at $2,995 for a Vision Developer Studio license.