March 7, 1997 1:30 PM ET
Internet wares push their way to forefront
By Michael Moeller, Talila Baron and Jim Kerstetter

  Push technologies will get the spotlight next week as vendors release new products that complement the arrival of new browsers.

The vendors will convene at Internet World in Los Angeles to announce new products and technologies for Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer 4.0 and Netscape Communications Corp.'s Constellation browsers later this spring.

Vendors previously providing client "push" functions are switching gears to offer server technologies and services that will enable IT managers to push applications and content to the new clients.

"The idea of pushing information is powerful, but I want a single client that is part of the overall Internet, not separate applications," said Tom Griffen, director of computer systems for Frankle, Harris and Partners, a San Francisco accounting firm. "With the new browsers coming, my attention is at the server level and also finding push systems that can provide more than just information, but applications as well."

FirstFloor Technologies Inc., maker of the offline browser Smart Bookmarks, will announce availability of its Smart Notification Server, which enables Web sites to notify users of updated content. The Smart Notification Server is a component of the company's Smart Delivery suite of server applications.

The Mountain View, Calif., company also will announce Smart Delivery Channel Server. Due by June, the system will enable Web site managers to create their own channels for Microsoft and Netscape browsers.

Partnerships will be crucial for two push players, BackWeb Technologies Inc. and PointCast Inc. BackWeb, of San Jose, Calif., will announce partnerships that will use the BackWeb push system for deploying and updating applications. Likewise, PointCast, of Cupertino, Calif., will announce that The Wall Street Journal will use its technology and also will unveil a Macintosh version of PointCast.

A new player, Seattle-based DataChannel, will roll out its ChannelManager system, which enables corporations to manage multiple channels from several vendors.

New York-based US Interactive, which earlier this year launched Digital Bindery, will announce more than 40 content providers to its information distribution service.

Desktop applications

Also at Internet World, Macromedia Inc. will add Web browser scripting and additional support for Java to Director 6 Multimedia Studio, a tool for creating and linking multimedia content on the Web.

Also new to Director 6, which is expected to ship later this month, is support for Java applets within Shockwave movies, said officials of the San Francisco company.

Director's new browser scripting supports JavaScript, LiveConnect, AppleScript and ActiveControl for tighter integration between the browser and Shockwave content.

Director 6 also supports ActiveX controls, DirectSound, QuickTime VR, QuickDraw 3D and Intel Corp.'s Pentium Processors with MMX.

Application development

Spyglass Inc., of Naperville, Ill., will announce availability of software solutions for adding Web functionality to client/server and non-PC applications and devices.

MicroWeb Server, now shipping, provides HTTP 1.1 support and a set of APIs for creating and building applications that run on the MicroWeb server. For example, Xerox Corp. is planning to launch a new line of copiers and office equipment with the embedded software engine.

Another application, Device Mosaic, is designed for non-PC devices such as network computers and set-top boxes. One of the first licensees is IBM, which might use the technology in its Network Station NCs according to sources. Among the features in the new browser is support for HTTP 1.1, HTML 3.2, authentication and cookies.

Skunk Technologies Inc., a Santa Monica, Calif., startup, will introduce the beta of Entao Open Operating Environment. The Java application provides users with a platform for creating Java applications and linking CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) applications.

Entao, which is written in Java, includes a basic server that provides HTTP, clustering, security protocols, routing capabilities, replication, CORBA support and load-sharing capabilities.

In the second quarter, the company will release a developer's module that will provide developers with a rapid application development environment for building and linking any Java application to the Entao Operating Environment.

"The idea of a total Java solution is interesting, since it would provide a consistent environment for our developers," said the IS director of a Southern California manufacturer, who requested anonymity.

Security and site management

Hitachi Software Products Group, in Santa Clara, Calif., will release Zooworks Research Team 1.0, which collects and aggregates users' Web bookmarks on a server that can be accessed by workgroups.

In addition, the company also is rolling out Version 2.0 of its single-user product, Zooworks Research Personal, with a new user interface.

To help user better manage Web servers, Resonate Inc. will launch Dispatch 1.0 for Windows NT, a distributed server management system for load balancing between multiple mirrored Web and application servers.

Later this year, new versions will be aimed at providing access control to specific portions of a intranet, creating subnets on an intranet without requiring a firewall, said officials of the Mountain View, Calif., company.

Fulcrum Technologies Inc., of Ottawa, will announce the release of the next generation of its Fulcrum Knowledge Network. The suite allows users and administrators to map a corporate intranet and track where that data is stored, whether it is Web- or Windows-based, and if it is accessed through Microsoft Exchange servers, Lotus Notes databases and others. It is in beta tests now and will be shipping in the second quarter. Pricing for a typical configuration will be about $400 per user.

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