News and New Product Briefs (10/1/98)

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Live Software upgrades JRun Servlet Engine 2.2

Live Software announced JRun Servlet Engine 2.2 (standard and professional versions), an upgrade to its server-side Java Web application deployment environment, as well as an upgrade to the JRun Pro software.

JRun includes Web server extensions that add Java servlet functions to an existing Web server.

New with JRun 2.2:

  • An integrated Web server
  • The ability to choose which Java VM to run
  • Advanced security features
  • Remote administration
  • The ability to run several JVMs at the same time

JRun 2.2's full support of the Java Servlet API also lets users run Java servlets as standalone apps or with such Web servers as Microsoft IIS and PWS, Netscape servers, Apache, and O'Reilly WebSite.

JRun 2.2 is available for free. JRun Pro starts at 95.

Endpoint's iSales Central 2.0 includes Java tools

Endpoint Marketing Information Systems, midrange sales-automation software maker, announced iSales Central 2.0, which Java-based applications for supporting disconnected users.

iSales Central 2.0 serves up Java applets with a JDBC-based data-access model. allowing salespersons to log in and access and update company data. It also supports offline data management that is automatically synchronized when reconnected (perfect for mobile salespeople).

iSales Central 2.0 should be available in October 1998. Server pricing starts at ,000.

Endpoint chooses Cloudscape Java database for mobile apps

Endpoint Marketing Information Systems announced that it has signed a 00,000 licensing agreement with Cloudscape to include Cloudscape's mobile database products, including the company's embeddable Java SQL database, in its iSales Central. (See the previous brief for more information on iSales.)

Cloudscape is delivering a portable database manager completely written in Java, to be embedded in applications as a local data manager.

According to Endpoint CEO Matt Cobb, "Cloudscape's pioneering Java-based data-management products offer the best technology for integrating with our Java-based applications because they are 100 Percent Pure Java. They provide a seamless, cross-platform local data-management solution for our users." He added, "Cloudscape's cutting-edge replication technology is also critical for mobile salespeople and the perfect complement to our data-synchronization architecture."

DataBahn offers fully relational SQL Java database

DataBahn announced the DataBahn relational SQL Java-based database, which allows data processing at the client level to reduce centralized-server load and network traffic

DataBahn also reduces the traffic load by providing local storage or relational data, which also gives remote users access to offline data.

DataBahn will run on in all Java environments, be they applet, network computing, embedded Java, desktop Java, or appliances with no changes to the existing system. DataBahn also has an 800KB footprint (with a 300KB minimum), small enough to run in many restricted-memory devices. It is fully customizable; just drop or add components to fit the environment in which it is intended to run.

The database is compatible with ANSI standard SQL, Oracle SQL, and DB2 SQL -- the user chooses the dialect at runtime. It provides automatic, transparent data synchronization to/from Oracle, DB2, and Sybase databases.

Application-specific datatypes can be added to DataBahn just by extending DataBahn's datatype Java classes. App-specific Java objects can be stored in the database.

DataBahn is available in Java bytecode. Check with the company for pricing.

Schlumberger intros 8 new smart-card products

Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals announced Schlumberger Mobile Solutions (SMS), a set of smart card-based products and services.

SMS is start to finish technology: SIMs (Subscriber Identify Module), software systems, servers, and application development consulting.

SMS includes such SIMs as:

  • Cyberflex Simera, a Java-based SIM that allows downloading of new services as they become available. It is built on the JavaCard API 2.0, and it allows multiple secure applications on a single card. Available in North America in early 1999.

  • Activa, a SIM that let subscribers and operators activate services that are already resident on the smart card chip in their handsets, mixing and matching to created custom services. It uses the company's SIMflex OS, and operators can embed several service options before selling the chip to customers. Already available in North America.

SMS also includes such software, servers, and devtools as:

  • Application Manager, which lets operators easily deploy and manage GSM-based portable-service networks. It comes with three options that support a range of operator-subscriber relationships.

  • OTA Server, an advanced fault-tolerant system, allows operators and subscribers to remotely download new applications to SIMs via GSM's short message service channel.

    li>WEB Server lets users download applets and SIM card configurations over the Internet, so subscribers to customize mobile services from their PCs.

  • POS Server delivers downloading and SIM card configuration management using certified point-of-sale retail terminals.

  • SIMnario, a service concept validation tool for Windows, designed to create prototypes and specifications.

  • EasyFleet is an easy-to-use, highly flexible POS software package designed to customize services for retail and corporate marketing.

Visual Edge debuts Madrid extends R/3's app integration

Visual Edge Software announced Madrid, application-integration software designed to deliver transparent connections for SAP's R/3 system to such non-SAP IT systems as third-party packaged applications, legacy applications, and applications that use such interfaces as CORBA, DCOM, EJBs, and Tuxedo (from BEA).

Madrid opens R/3's boundaries so that system users can now access business-process, information-analysis, reporting, and job-scheduling tools that were previously unavailable. Madrid also makes it possible for standards-based tools to view, integrate, and execute any R/3-specific business functions as if it natively belonged in that tool.

Visual Edge president Mike Foody noted, "With Madrid, [R/3-using] companies can use their best-of-breed functionality and tools across applications. Madrid doesn't lock customers into the limited, proprietary toolset offered by a single application integration vendor."

Madrid is based on Visual Edge's ObjectBridge technology (which eliminates the need for wrapper code). It delivers bi-directional interoperability among CORBA, COM, DCOM, Java, SNMP, SAP R/3, and other enterprise applications, making the disparate applications appear as if they were native to the system.

It requires Windows NT Server/Workstation (service pack 3 or higher); SAP R/3 3.1G, 3.1H, 3.1I, or 4.0B; and an optional Oracle8 or SQL Server 6.5 database.

alphaWorks unveils Business Intelligence Tools

IBM's alphaWorks announced a set of four Java-based tools that combine data mining and statistical analysis to make more extensive use of a business' existing data.

The free Business Intelligence Tools set includes:

  • Internet Sales Predictor -- A data-mining application that anticipates an individual's product preference by what they purchased before. Works on all Java platforms.

  • CViz -- A visualization tool designed to analyze high-dimensional data, (data with many elements,) in complex datasets. It loads datasets, then displays the most important factors that link clusters of records. It also creates full-motion visualization of inherent data clusters. Works on all Java platforms.

  • Interactive Miner -- Mines data using association rules to determine sales relationships between items in sales-transaction databases. It uses an OLAP-type method that preprocesses the transaction data once and issues various queries against the preprocessed intermediate data. The user specifies the weights given to each set of implications. Runs on AIX.

  • Profile Miner -- Tracks the relationship between a consumer's profile and buying behavior. It can also discover popular groups of items purchased together. It uses an OLAP-type method of preprocessing the transaction data and then using a multidimensional index to store the structure. Runs on AIX.

Internet Sales Predictor: CViz: Interactive Miner: Profile Miner:

DOJ/MS: Judge denies Microsoft motion to limit case

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson denied Microsoft's motion (filed September 16, 1998) to exclude evidence of business dealings with RealNetworks, Intel, Apple, Sun, and Bristol. The briefs also wanted to limit allegations on the design/development/distribution process of MS-DOS.

Jackson denied the motion "without prejudice to appropriate direction at trial." This gives the judge the ability to exclude specific pieces of evidence as they arise during the trial.

DOJ/MS: An odd couple

At the recent Washington-based (D.C.) Upside Summit conference, sponsored by Upside magazine, an odd couple made back-to-back speeches on their opposing viewpoints in reference to the Microsoft antitrust lawsuit.

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, delivered an overview-style speech that supported the government's position, noting that a continuation of current business practices by Microsoft would stifle Internet-technology innovation.

Hatch said, "While it may be likely and even, to a degree, useful, to have a particular firm dominate a particular segment at any point in time, it is dangerous, unhealthy, and harmful to innovation and consumer welfare where that firm can exploit its existing monopoly to prevent new competitors with innovative, paradigm-shifting technologies [such as the shift from desktop to Internet focus] from ever having a fair shot at winning and becoming the new market leader or de facto standard."

He went on to proffer two questions that could determine whether a company was being predatory or simply competitive:

Is the practice in question an effort to respond to consumers or to suppress the mechanisms that would require a company to respond to consumers?

Will the practice inflict injury on competition and innovation?

Hatch noted that Microsoft's forcing PC makers to bundle Internet Explorer with Windows is not an example of a company responding to consumers; it was designed to stifle competition from Netscape.

Hatch ended with a logical analysis of the situation that generated a prediction. He said, "If one company does exert such proprietary control over the Internet, and the Internet does in fact become a critical underlying medium for commerce and the dissemination of news and information, rest assured that we will be hearing calls from all corners for the heavy hand of government regulation -- for a new 'Internet Commerce Commission. It seems far better to have antitrust enforcement today than heavy-handed regulation of the Internet tomorrow."

Former chairman of the Republican National Committee Haley Barbour, a partner in law firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers, claimed that the trial was a way to regulate a share of Internet-generated revenue into the government's coffers.

Barbour noted that two indicators for regulation -- growing prices with restricted access to supplies -- are not present in this situation.

Much of Barbour's speech was peppered with rhetoric, such as "Clinton and Gore want to make the Internet a government toll road," and "they [the government] are determined to regulate this industry and they recognize that antitrust is the only door that could be open to them."

Barbour noted that the 1996 Telecommunications Act dismisses the possibility that the government could exercise regulation over the Internet.

Evergreen delivers ECential, Java/CORBA business-app backbone

Evergreen Internet announced ECential, a Java-based, CORBA-compliant backbone into which business applications could seamlessly plug.

ECential's architecture also employs EDI technology and XML for data encapsulation. Some features of ECential include:

  • An RDBMS interface that allows dynamic data structuring, presentation, and modification
  • A library of XML and HTML templates
  • An SSL-based, secure-order capture shopping cart
  • Multiple shipping-destination configuration
  • Electronic order gateway
  • Customizable business rules programming
  • A search engine
  • Such extensions as sales audit reports, Taxware interface, inventory integration, and third-party statistical-analysis toolkits

ECential is currently testing in the final beta stage; it should be released by the end of 1998, and is expected to run on NetWare 5.0, Solaris 2.x, and Windows NT 4.0.

Progress Software's sets stage for Bastille Java DB engine

Progress Software announced that the upcoming "Skywalker" suite of enterprise-application development and deployment tools -- which include the Progress 9 enterprise-application development environment and the WebSpeed 3 development tool and transaction server -- will also contain the next generation of the Progress RDBMS engine, code-named "Bastille."

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