March 3, 1997 10:00 AM ET

Novell embraces Java 1.1 with new SDK
By Lisa Wirthman

  Backtracking from years of relying on proprietary tools, Novell Inc. is trying to make its networking technologies more open to developers through integrated Java client and server support.

Novell's new IntranetWare SDK (software development kit) for Java 1.1 is now available in an early access version from the company's Web site, with final code due by midyear, said Patrick Harr, Java product marketing manager for the Orem, Utah, company.

Novell will integrate the new SDK, a Java virtual machine and just-in-time compilers into the next release of IntranetWare, which is due this spring.

The new IntranetWare SDK, based on JavaSoft Inc.'s just-released Java 1.1 technology, provides an easier-to-use GUI and tools for internationalizing products and creating digital signatures, said Steve Holbrook, Novell Java product line manager.

With a legacy of proprietary and often complex NetWare Loadable Modules built on its NetWare platform, Novell now must prove its commitment to an open development platform.

But its efforts may be too little, too late for some developers. Its first-ever DeveloperNet conference, planned for last December, was canceled due to a lack of developer interest, said sources close to the company. Novell will take a second stab at wooing ISVs through an open developer track at its BrainShare conference later this month.

Working with other vendors, Novell is creating Java interfaces for network services to make Java a better development platform for networked applications.

One such initiative is a Java Directory Interface, due this month, which enables Java applications to leverage different naming services--including Novell Directory Services, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol and x.500--through a pure Java API. Novell is expected to provide more details of the specification at next week's Spring Internet World Conference in Los Angeles.

Novell is also working on a native Java client that would utilize the CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) Internet Inter-ORB Protocol to communicate with back-end servers, said Holbrook. Novell's goal is to provide Java on its clients and servers and to support CORBA as its distributed object infrastructure.

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