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Sun cools HotJava's browser aspects

Sun Microsystems released the latest pre-beta version of its HotJava Browser but is pitching it as more of a development tool than a browser.

Sun Microsystems released the latest in a series of pre-beta versions of its HotJava Browser but is now pitching the software as more of a development tool than as a traditional Web browser.

Sun will unveil a detailed roadmap for HotJava that includes a release date for the final version and pricing at its Java One developers' conference in San Francisco later this month. In the meantime, the company has posted a new release to its Web site.

HotJava itself is written in Java and was originally distributed as a showcase for applets created in Sun's Java programming language. Compared to the alpha3 version released in April 1995, HotJava has evolved into a framework for software developers to create their own user environments on the Web, said David Spenhoff, Javasoft director of product marketing.

"We want people to see it as a framework to develop custom or branded user environments to do things that metaphorically aren't 'browser things' but are still network-based transactions," Spenhoff said.