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December 2, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

Edison, New Jersey-based start-up Netsmiths Inc has issued a challenge to Centerline Software Inc and ParcPlace Systems Inc in the form on a new object-oriented application development environment, called ObjectKit. It also has a new network management product, NetManager, in beta testing. Both products are based on IBM Corp’s Dragons Distributed Reliable Architecture Governing Over Networks and Systems, which the Open Software Foundation originally chose for its Distributed Management Environment, before rejecting it in favour of Tivoli Systems Inc’s Tivoli Management Facility. ObjectKit enables developers to build distributed, high-availability applications with data replicated in objects stored on multiple servers. This means that if a given server goes down, an object replicated on another will immediately supply it with the lost information. The product comprises several application development tools, including a Motif-compliant interface builder, a debugger, an object browser, object library and NetSmith’s Object Implementation Language. The Object Language can be compiled into either C++ or a binary program, but does not yet conform to the Object Management Group’s IDL Interface Definition Language. Still, NetSmith says, the Object Implementation Language will have an Interface Definition Language front-end and Common Object Request Broker Architecture-compliant interfaces by spring, with the good stuff underneath. ObjectKit will be available by year-end under Sun Microsystems Inc SunOS 4.1 and IBM Corp’s AIX, and under Sun’s Solaris 2.x, Hewlett-Packard Co’s HP-UX and Microsoft Corp’s Windows NT by January. The first copy will cost $5,000, the second $3,000, and $1,000 for any after that. NetSmiths will also charge a run-time fee for any applications developed because it is using IBM technology. Although these fees have not yet been decided, they are expected to range from $150 to $500 per data engine. Furthermore, ObjectKit was used to build NetSmiths’ second product, NetManager. NetManager is a real-time distributed network management application. Like ObjectKit, it has a data engine as well as a display engine, which shows data, and a query engine that pre-processes data. Network management objects are replicated in as many data engines as are considered necessary for a given network. Shipment of NetManager will follow the same schedule as ObjectKit and the product will cost $5,000, but query engines for Novell Inc’s NetWare and Microsoft’s LAN Manager for Unix networks are currently being developed. These should be available by the spring next year.

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