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Visigenic links object worlds

VisiBroker for ActiveX Bridge software links ActiveX controls to Common Object Request Broker Architecture-based systems, allowing competing object architectures to talk.

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Mike Ricciuti Staff writer, CNET News
Mike Ricciuti joined CNET in 1996. He is now CNET News' Boston-based executive editor and east coast bureau chief, serving as department editor for business technology and software covered by CNET News, Reviews, and Download.com. E-mail Mike.
Mike Ricciuti
Visigenic Software is building a bridge between competing object worlds.

The company today announced the VisiBroker for ActiveX Bridge, software that links ActiveX controls to Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA)-based systems.

The bridge software allows applications built with tools from Microsoft (MSFT), which developed ActiveX, to work with Web server software from Netscape Communications (NCSP), which uses a CORBA-compliant interface called the Internet Inter-ORB Protocol (IIOP).

While Microsoft announced plans to make ActiveX an industry standard, the company has not yet addressed interoperability with CORBA, an older object framework supported by Netscape, Oracle (ORCL), and other software vendors. While CORBA use is not widespread in large companies, it was the first object architecture to be well-defined and supported in commercially available application development tools.

The VisiBroker software is sold as a developer's kit. It is a Wizard-driven utility that allows developers to take both object interface definitions and standard CORBA Interface Definition Language files, and turn them into ActiveX controls. The controls can then be embedded in client applications using standard tools, such as Microsoft's Visual Basic or Borland International's (BORL) Delphi. Runtime software, also installed on client systems, passes requests from the ActiveX controls to CORBA objects.

Visigenic said the VisiBroker software will ship later this year, priced at $1,000 per developer. Client runtime software costs $100 per system.