IBM pulls curtain on updated VisualAge Smalltalk

At its Solutions 99 show here today, IBM is expected to unwrap Version 5.0 of VisualAge Smalltalk, a visual development tool that features improved Java interoperability as well as support for WebSphere Application Server. The new version is designed to help developers make legacy-based data available to the Web.

Company officials claim that applications created with Version 5.0 can be more easily extended to the e-business applications or better interoperate with Java applications.

"We think with better interoperability between VisualAge Smalltalk and Java and support for WebSphere Application Server, VisualAge Smalltalk will fall in line with our focus of allowing programmers to create cross-integrated programming environments that are easier to implement," said Joe Damassa, vice president of application development for IBM.

Besides improved performance and better application security, the new version now supports WebSphere's Java servlets, Enterprise Java Beans, and Java Server Pages. These capabilities allow developers to "modernise" existing applications or to create new ones through the Web, Damassa said.

Also new is the ultra-light client, a capability that reportedly reduces the amount of information that goes through the network thereby providing markedly better performance and security, officials said.

Version 5.0 also has added support for Sun Solaris and Object Extender Server, the VisualAge Smalltalk Persistence framework that allows Smalltalk developers to take better advantage of today's best-selling servers as well as develop for multiple clients, officials added.

VisualAge Smalltalk Enterrpise 5.0 is expected to be available by July 30 and cost $US4,999.

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