March 7, 1997 1:30 PM ET
Internet vendors to share objects
By Michael Moeller

  Oracle Corp. will be joined by SunSoft Inc., IBM and Netscape Communications Corp. at Internet World to detail plans to coordinate their CORBA technologies, representing a milestone for the distributed object framework.

As part of the event in Los Angeles next week, Oracle will announce the availability of Web Application Server 3.0, a key part of its Common Object Request Broker Architecture-based NCA (Network Computing Architecture).

The alliance is expected to announce that Sun's NEO ORB, Oracle's ORB (a licensed version of Visigenics Inc.'s VisBroker for Java) and IBM's ORB will interoperate, according to sources familiar with the plans. Netscape, which also licenses Visigenic's object request broker for SuiteSpot, will join the compatibility initiative as well, sources said.

Interoperability between the object request brokers will be achieved by vendors agreeing on the use of certain high-level services of CORBA 2.0, such as naming schemes, security for encrypting objects and transaction services, sources said.

If achieved over the next year, the initiative will allow users to deploy object-oriented and Web applications that could interchangeably use IBM, Netscape, Sun or Oracle objects over intranets, the Internet or client/server environments.

For example, Oracle's NCA middleware could store objects in an IBM database and run an application on a Solaris workstation. Or, a Netscape Communicator application could access and execute CORBA objects stored in any of the vendors' back-end systems.

SunSoft, IBM, Oracle and Netscape officials declined comment on the initiative.

For users, object compatibility fills a large need.

"We are three to six months away from needing this technology, but it is a major focus for us to more easily build applications that are distributed and that can scale," said Francis Yu, chief operating officer at IntelliMatch, a 3-year-old online recruiting service that is currently running its Web site on Oracle's WebServer 2.01.

Oracle's Web Application Server 3.0, in beta for more than three months, is the foundation of Oracle's three-tiered intranet architecture.

The server software supports CORBA; Internet Inter-ORB Protocol, a subset of CORBA; and Java, as well as Oracle's own Web Request Broker, which executes Web applications and dynamic HTML generation, sources said.

Web Application Server 3.0 also provides the platform for third parties to create and deploy intranet or Internet applications. Using a cartridge metaphor, users or vendors can build applications that can be run and managed by the server.

Other Oracle announcements next week involve new releases of its tool technology and text searching capabilities for its flagship database, officials said.

Oracle is expected to demonstrate at the show Developer 2000 1.4 and will announce general availability of the tools at JavaSoft's JavaOne developer conference next month in San Francisco. Version 1.4 will enable developers to convert Developer 2000 applications into Java applets.

Oracle also will release Version 2.0 of ConText, a text indexing server for the Oracle 7.3.3 database. Among the new features of Version 2.0 is support for theme-based searches, the ability to include URLs as indexable and searchable items, and support for PDF and other file formats. This summer, ConText will be upgraded to let users add knowledge bases to the search engine through an open API interface.

Copyright(c) 1997 Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Ziff-Davis Publishing Company is prohibited. PC Week and the PC Week logo are trademarks of Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. PC Week Online and the PC Week Online logo are trademarks of Ziff-Davis Publishing Company.

Send mail to PC Week