Sun/Netscape Alliance Official Clarifies Plans

FRAMINGHAM (04/18/2000) - Nine months ago, the Sun/Netscape Alliance announced that it would base its forthcoming iPlanet Application Server - due out next month - on code from Netscape Communications Corp.'s application server rather than Sun Microsystems Inc.'s NetDynamics server.

Since the NetDynamics code isn't being carried forward into new products, customers are now sorting out what it means for their Web applications.

Some users have also expressed confusion over how the development tools Sun acquired last fall from Forte Software Inc. fit into the picture.

"Our strategy is to have our application server be integrated with [Forte's] Java development tools," said Sanjay Sarathy, the alliance's director of product marketing for application server products. However, the iPlanet application server will be sold by the alliance, while the Forte tools will be sold by Sun's Forte division.

As for iPlanet's overall development tool philosophy, "we have an open tools strategy," Sarathy said. "The developers should use the tools that best fit their development profiles and their development capabilities." The alliance will offer its own tool, iPlanet Application Builder, which is based on Netscape Application Builder. The iPlanet tool, which will be sold separately, will have more sophisticated functionality and wizards than the old Netscape tool, he said.

With regard to support for the latest Java technology, the alliance hopes to complete the testing that will ensure that iPlanet Application Server is compliant with Sun's Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE). "That is our goal," Sarathy said, adding that the server already has J2EE functional capabilities.

Existing customers with maintenance or support contracts for either the Netscape or NetDynamics servers will get the new iPlanet server at no extra cost. A CD will include the latest version of NetDynamics 5.02 for customers who want to continue to run their applications in the native NetDynamics mode, Sarathy added.

IPlanet plans to support NetDynamics through 2002.

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