June 2, 1997 10:00 AM ET
Upping Web server ante
By Michael Moeller and John Dodge A startup packing some veteran developer
punch is testing integrated Java development and server software that
enables corporations to collaboratively author and run Web applications.Silv
erStream Software Inc.'s namesake product, written in Java, includes an
HTML authoring tool, version control, security services, a distributed Java
application development tool and a midtier Web application server, said
sources close to the Burlington, Mass., company.
The combination creates a self-contained environment for building
Internet or intranet Java applications on the fly, sources said.
Slated to ship in September, SilverStream complements the trend
toward middle-tier application servers that host applications with browser
front ends that can access information stored in client/server or legacy
But SilverStream, according to users and analysts familiar with the
product, goes beyond current server solutions provided by Kiva Software
Inc. and NetDynamics Inc., versioning software from the likes of MKS
Partners Inc., and integrated tools from Symantec Corp. and Wallop Software
"Those tools only go so far, and we have to glue the rest together
ourselves with other products," said SilverStream alpha tester Jeff
Winograd, chief technology officer for Montgomery Securities Inc., in San
SilverStream's development and hosting environment comprises a
Designer and an Application Server, and resembles Lotus Development Corp.'s
Domino server. But rather than building on a native object store, the way
Domino does, SilverStream boasts native connections to Oracle Corp., Sybase
Inc., Informix Software Inc. and Microsoft Corp. databases.
"What impresses me is that they store everything in a relational
database: the structure data, the rich text, everything," said Joseph
Feiman, manager of advanced technologies at American Greetings Corp., in
Cleveland. "That is of no interest to the end user, but for the developer
and from a management standpoint, it makes it a lot easier to watch over
SilverStream Designer provides a graphical Java application
development tool that includes wizards for building forms, views, HTML
pages, database access and Java agents, sources said.
Furthermore, Designer enables an ongoing developmental process,
with users able to continually collaborate on applications that blend
structured data with interactive Web content.
Designer generates client and server application components. The
Application Server is a pure Java HTTP server that has integrated support
for Java servelets. Housed within the Application Server is the business
logic that points to relational DBMSes, mainframes or other applications
such as Common Object Request Broker Architecture objects.
When an application is executed, the Application Server pulls
information from the various data stores together and constructs the
application on the fly.
Guiding the SilverStream project is President and CEO David
Litwack, former head of Sybase's Powersoft tools division. Other members of
the core development team hail from Lotus' Iris Associates Inc. division
and from Watermark Software.
SilverStream officials declined to comment on their product