Next unveils WebObjects as foundation for Web business apps
By Dana Gardner
Posted at 12:16 PM PT, Jan 31, 1996
Next Software Inc. on Tuesday unloaded a multi-tiered solution of bricks and
mortar for creating interactive, server-based Web applications for the
Internet and intranets.
The free, entry-level WebObjects forms Next's foundation for the product
suite, announced in San Francisco at the company's WebMania conference by
Steve Jobs, Next chairman and CEO. The product gives corporate users the tools
to stake out prime real estate on the Web in the form of interactive sites.
WebObjects Pro, on the other hand, targets developers by providing the bricks
to create reusable Web components. And WebObjects Enterprise, the third part
of the suite, sets up a construction site for conducting business on the Web
by leveraging a corporation's existing IT infrastructure.
As a result, said Jobs, the WebObjects suite works with a company's
heterogeneous resources to expand the reach of their systems and people to the
Web without rewriting code and revising applications.
For example, WebObjects works with Oracle, Informix, and Sybase databases and
-- using other, third-party tools and glue -- supports mainframe and legacy
access, said Jobs. WebObjects is also browser independent, as well as
operating system-independent by spanning both Unix and Windows environments,
Moreover, the WebObjects suite is HTTP-server independent, OLE compatible,
takes advantage of native server APIs, and uses existing programming languages
such as PERL, C, and C++ languages, the Redwood City, Calif.-based company
said. WebObjects is designed to interoperate with emerging technologies such
Next has also pledged that WebObjects will be Java-compliant. Programmers
familiar with Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java programming language and Sun and
access data stored in industry-standard relational databases, OLE services in
Windows applications, and data in legacy mainframe systems.
Next plans to allow scalable database access frameworks, OLE access, and
mainframe connectivity within the Java programming environment, said Jobs.
"Next's vision is to offer a tool that leverages developers' skills in the
Java-based languages while also providing the connectivity necessary for
enterprise data integration," said Jean-Marie Hullot, Next's chief technology
officer, in a statement.
At WebMania, Next demonstrated Web server applications Tuesday that use
legacy host resources and the Enterprise Builder Series from North Andover,
Mass.-based Conextions Inc. to integrate data to the Web from IBM Mainframe,
AS/400, Tandem, Digital Equipment Corp., Hewlett-Packard, and several ASCII
To allow for electronic commerce, Next has leveraged existing Internet
security standards such as Netscape's SSL on the HTTP server. Next will
provide authentication services via Security Dynamics' SecurID software,
offering enterprise network security through one-time password identity
The base product, WebObjects, beta release is available now for free download
via Next's home site at http://www.next.com/ . The final release will ship
WebObjects Pro, which enables developers to access data stored in Windows
applications such as Excel spreadsheets, will be available for $2,999.
WebObjects Enterprise Web development solution starts at $24,999. Shipping
dates will be in the second quarter.
Next also introduced WebConstructors, a consulting group that will use the
WebObjects suite to help companies build dynamic applications for the Web and
intranets to establish a business presence on the Web.
Next Software Inc., which this week changed its name from Next Computer Inc.,
can be reached at http://www.next.com or (800) 879-6398.
Copyright ( 1996 InfoWorld Publishing Company