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Oct 96 Newsbits
Volume Number:12
Issue Number:10
Column Tag:Newsbits


By Will Iverson

Metrowerks Announces Reorganization

Metrowerks has announced that growth in their Mac OS Tools market, plus their expansion into Windows and embedded systems has led to the need to open new offices in Cupertino, CA and Tokyo, Japan.

Greg Galanos will relocate from Austin, Texas to Cupertino, and will assume the new title of President and Chief Technical Officer. Berardino Baratta will become VP of R&D, located in Austin and reporting to the President and CTO.

Metrowerks Corporation, 512-873-4700,

Info-Mac available on CD-ROM

Pacific HiTech announced the availability of the $39 Info-Mac IX CD-ROM. A two CD set, it includes indexes in FileMaker Pro, Easy View, raw text, and a custom “Spelunker” search engine.

A three CD Japanese version is also available.

For more information, check out

Pacific HiTech, Inc, 801-261-1024, 801-261-0310 fax, 3855 South 500 West MSalt Lake City, Utah 84115,

Be Continues To Advance

Be Inc. has announced DR8 of the Be OS, to be available the week of September 2. Some of the highlights include the appearance of a 3D graphics kit, integrated mail, browsing and Telnet, additional UI objects, and additional hardware support for joysticks, larger drives, and additional cards.

DR8 is not the only news, however. There were several announcements of future directions. Some of the highlights include the licensing and future integration of OpenGL and Java into the OS. Perhaps more interesting was the demonstration of Be OS running on a Power Macintosh, a “technology demonstration” which spurred quite a bit of speculation, including the possibility of Power Computing shipping Be OS as well as Mac OS with their machines, as well as as the possibility of Be OS launching Mac OS applications. Some even went so far as to wonder if the Be OS could turn out to be what Gershwin promised - a modern OS providing minimal backward compatibility.

Be will begin making BeBox machines generally available to the public next month.

Be, Inc., 800 El Camino Real, Suite 300, Menlo Park, California 94025, 415-462-4100, 415-462-4129 fax,,,

Powersoft Licenses Metrowerks Compilers

Metrowerks has licensed thier compilers as shared libraries, integrating with the PowerBuilder code generation. PowerBuilder Enterprise 5.0 for Macintosh will allow users to build native PowerPC and 68K executables simply by selecting a checkbox.

PowerBuilder Enterprise 5.0 with Metrowerks compilers will be demonstrated at this year’s MacWorld Boston in Developer Central™. It is expected to ship in the second half of this year.

Powersoft already features a suite of C/C++ and FORTRAN 77 compilers for x86 based computers, called the “Watcom” compilers. These compilers are generally known for their high code quality generation on the x86 platform.

Metrowerks Corporation, 512-873-4700.

Sybase, Inc.(Powersoft is a subsidary of Sybase) 6475

Christie Ave.Emeryville, CA 94608-1050.

HTML Grinder 3.02 Does 8.3

Matterform Media announced the availability of Eight Dot Three, a plug-in tool to their web site processing and management tool set. The tool converts a Macintosh web site to the 8.3 DOS standard, allowing the easy migration of content from one platform to another.

This tool is the latest “wheel” in the suite of tools for webmasters. The goal of HTML Grinder is to automate much of the drugery of running a website - the multifile case-sensitive find and replace is an example of the sort of functionality provided. Other tools include an index builder, a sequential linker, a date stamping tool, a site printer, a global link checker, among others.

Users may purchase “wheels” individually at $15 each, or all current and future wheels for $150. The multifile find and replace tool is free. The tools are available for a limited demo at

Matterform Media, 500 N. Guadalupe, Suite G333, Santa Fe, NM 87501, 505-983-4189, 505-466-4723 fax.


Netscape announces Netscape ONE

Another shot in the Internet wars has been fired.

To be more precise, Netscape has put forth a vision of the future, building on existing and announced technologies and bringing them together under the umbrella of “Netscape ONE.” The primary thrust of this announcement is the elimination of Mirosoft’s ActiveX and the consolidation of technologies belonging to, well, everyone else.

The core of Netscape ONE is built on the currently available standards of HTML, NNTP, SMTP, IMAP4, and POP3. In addition, it officially blesses Java, JavaScript, IIOP (Internet Inter-ORB Protocol), SSL 3.0 and X.509v3 certificates. Not content with this mixture of as yet nascent technologies, Netscape throws into the mix a new set of Java APIs, the Netscape IFC (Internet Foundation Classes).

A Mix of Old and New

HTML, NNTP, SMTP, IMAP4 and POP3 are existing technologies, open and accessible via a wide variety of clients. For better or worse, Netscape has announced their continuing enhancement of HTML, including borderless frames and sophisticated font controls. For all of the discussion of enhancement of HTML, however, all of the other technologies are virtually ignored. Netscape ONE makes no mention of much needed enhancements, including better security in SMTP and a more robust, secure NNTP. In addition, there is no mention of sorely needed features, such as replication for offline users.

Netscape continues to embrace Java, and announced the availability of JIT (Just-in-Time compilers) technology in all products. The current implementations of Java interpret instructions one at a time, whereas JIT compilers retain native instructions for future use. In addition, Netscape announced their intent to develop with Sun Microsystems the ability to “sign” Java applets, HTML, and JavaScript. According to the Netscape ONE white paper, “Users would be able to grant privileges to applets signed by a particular user or organization.”

Netscape outlined the confusingly named JavaScript as an alternative to Borland’s Delphi and Microsoft’s Visual Basic. JavaScript allows the creation of functions which can call native code-a similar analogy can be drawn between JavaScript and AppleScript. Both are intended for power users, can interface with native code, but suffer in performance.

Netscape also outlined both client and server APIs for native plug-ins. The Client Plug-in API is currently supported by Lotus, Microsoft, NetManage, and Oracle. No currently shipping servers support the server API.

LiveConnect is Netscape’s common object and messaging model, interfacing Java, JavaScript, and native Plug-ins. This is accomplished through the use of a standard Java Runtime Inferface and the planned IIOP, a technology which is expected to interface directly with CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture).

New APIs to Make Things Easier

All of this is made a bit easier with the announcement of the Netscape Internet Foundation Classes, or IFC. This API builds on the Java runtime in five core areas; User Interface, Application Services, Security, Messaging, and Distributed Objects. Each of these areas will see wide, sweeping improvements.

User Interface will see the widest changes with the addition of many new objects such as sliders, multifont text objects, placing components within “native” windows, an animation framework (supporting buffering and transparency), drag and drop, single-threaded concurrency, persistence, and localization.

Messaging will allow access to NNTP, SMTP, POP3, and IMAP4, presumably through Netscape’s existing technologies for support for these protocols. Security functionality will be provided via SSL, integrity checks and authenticatation. The Security API will be open, allowing third parties to develop their own custom extensions. Access to the new API requires joining the Netscape DevEdge Community for $95.

Support for Netscape ONE

Navigator and Navigator Gold, of course, will support all of Netscape ONE. SuiteSpot, Netscape’s integrated server software will support server flavors of the technologies. Licensees include Adobe, Asymetricx, Autodesk, Borland, Macromedia, Metrowerks, Natural Intelligence, NetManage, NetObjects, NeXT Software, PowerSoft, Silicon Graphics, and Symantec, among others.

Given the still hazy robustness of technologies announced months ago, it is difficult to anticipate how long it will be before the newer technologies of Netscape ONE impact users in a meaningful way. Unless the software is shipped in a stable, robust form, it will not be accepted by the mainstream. Given the skill of the competition at defining what will be considered mainstream, this is a serious concern. The battle of embrace and extend is on-for now, we are caught in the standards crossfire. Netscape ONE is, if nothing else, a respectable stake in the ground.

Netscape Communications Corporation, 501 E. Middlefield Rd. Mountain View, CA 94043, 415-254-1900, 415-937-2555 corporate sales, 415-937-3777 individual sales, 415/528-4124 fax,

Licensees of Netscape ONE

AimTech Corporation, Adobe Systems Incorporated, AlphaBlox Corporation, Asymetrix Corporation, Autodesk Inc, Borland International, IncCorel Corporation, Kinetix, Macromedia Inc, Metrowerks Inc, Microline Software, Natural Intelligence Inc, NetManage Inc, NetObjects, NeXT Software Inc, OneWave Inc, Powersoft, Silicon Graphics Inc, Symantec Corporation, Tumbleweed Software Corporation, Visigenic Software Inc


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