September 18, 1995

Netscape set to revamp Web browsers and servers

By Michael Moeller


Netscape Communications Corp. will beef up its browser line this week with enhanced versions of the software and added development tools. The products lay the groundwork for two Web-server upgrades due next year.

The Mountain View, Calif., firm will roll out Navigator Version 2.0 and an advanced version of the software called Navigator Gold 2.0, company officials said last week.

A key feature of the browsers is Live Objects, technology that enables users to view such server-based multimedia content as video clips and audio files. Live Objects also incorporates Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java applets, which let users view documents based on Sun's Hot Java development language.

Live Objects also supports Netscape's InLine Plug-Ins, which enable third-party applications to be integrated into the browsers.

The browsers include enhanced E-mail capabilities, support for newsgroups, chat and File Transfer Protocol capabilities, and a new presentation capability, called Frames, that lets users display multiple pages on one screen.

Unlike Navigator 2.0, Navigator Gold 2.0 enables developers to create content within a Web site without having to leave the browser. Navigator 2.0 is priced at $49. Gold 2.0 is $79.

In addition to the browsers, Netscape will release LiveWire and LiveWire Pro development tools for content creation on World-Wide Web servers. LiveWire provides developers with a visual development environment that tracks all possible links and combinations; it also includes a scripting compiler, C++, and Java interfaces.

LiveWire Pro provides developers with tools to connect World-Wide Web server applications to back-end databases, such as those from Oracle Corp. and Sybase Inc. Pricing for LiveWire starts at less than $500; LiveWire Pro is priced under $1,000. Both products are due in the fourth quarter.

In related news, Netscape is finalizing plans to license Navigator to Prodigy Services Co. and is in similar negotiations with IBM, sources said.

Additional reporting by John Dodge


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JF