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April 4, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

The 1995 vintage Mountain View, California start-up Active Software Inc did not actually want to come out of hiding for another couple of months, but the deal that sees its user interface builder picked up by SunSoft Inc in its Java Workshop as the Visual Java graphical user interface last week forced it to break cover. Even so, it is not giving much away, apart from the fact that it working on a distributed environment it says will enable firms to extend their ability to do business over the Web beyond the home page metaphor. It says the multi-system products are designed for commercial and OEM customers developing Web and Intranet applications. It is doing client software and tools; single- and two-tier server architectures; and connections to corporate databases and legacy systems. It is thought to be working on non-HyperText Mark-up Language transaction handling. Active Software co-founders are chairman Jim Green, former SunSoft Inc DOE (Distributed Objects Everywhere) director and leader of the team that wrote the Object Management Group’s Common Object Request Broker Architecture, and chief technology officer Rafael Bracho, who was previously lead architect for SunSoft’s distributed computing, windowing system and software development products. It has around a dozen staff and is bankrolled by Enterprise Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Sierra Ventures, although Green says money that is not the issue; it is whether the company can actually build the products to fulfill its mission. Green says competitors that have characterized its Java Workshop deal as just a quick fix for SunSoft to plug a hole are far from the mark and that the two have been working together for some time, even if their deal – which is also an on-going technology exchange – was not finalized until late. It’s not a fix. It is the Java graphical user interface builder for SunSoft for now and forever, says Green. The interface builder is just one component of Active Software’s product plan. A key advantage, according to Green, is that it is a development tool on the Web, for the Web, written in Java.

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