ParcPlace Systems Inc says its VisualWorks object-oriented application development and deployment environment for Microsoft Corp’s Windows NT has now gone into beta testing, and it expects to announce the implementation with version 2.0 of the product next year. One of the main features of the new release will be enhanced database communications. The Mountain View, California-based company is also working with neighbour Sun Microsystems Inc to support the latter’s Distributed Objects Everywhere object layer. And it has just signed a joint development and marketing deal with Object Design Inc to establish a standard interface between Smalltalk and object-oriented databases – this will be submitted to the Object Database Management Group for approval when the time is right. ParcPlace will also ensure that VisualWorks customers can store information in Object Design’s ObjectStore database as transparently as possibly, while Object Design works on a SmallTalk-based interface to its database. These products are expected to go into beta test in the first half of next year, into volume release in the second half.