The development of the Internet and Intranets have tremendous consequences for Novell. They are currently investing a great deal of time and money in developing tools and services that will allow them to take advantage of the Java market. We interviewed Patrick Harr, the Java Product Marketing Manager and Steve Holbrook, the Product Line Manager for Java at Internet World at the Jacob Javits center in New York.
JDJ: Could you please introduce yourselves and your responsibilities at Novell?
PH: I'm Patrick Harr. I'm the Java Product Marketing Manager with Novell Developer Services. We primarily focus on providing value to the developer by making it easy to access our networking services and our IntranetWare™ platform.
SH: I'm Steve Holbrook. I'm the Product Line Manager for Java. I'm responsible for the product side of that effort. We shape the product by working with both our own engineering teams and with those of other companies.
JDJ: Could you tell us about Novell's
PH: Back about a year ago, we launched a brand new development program called DeveloperNet. It's a service designed by and for developers. We surveyed our developer base as well as developers from other platforms, who consisted primarily of corporate developers ISVs, systems integrators and VARS. We asked for feedback on how we could enhance our Java products and services to develop to the IntranetWare™ platform. Our networking services include Novell Directory Services™, File Print, Security and so forth.
We also launched the DeveloperNet 2000 initiative, which is the technology side of the program. This technology initiative focuses on four primary development options, making it easy to access our networking services and develop to our platform. It moves beyond the traditional C interface to provide the freedom and flexibility in developers applicatoin design.
Not only do we have the C now as an option, we also have the Basic Scripting option and the RAD components option. The final and premier initiative within DeveloperNet 2000 is Java. We've made a serious commitment to Java. We feel that it is the future of distributed computing because it offers tremendous value to the developer community, particularly the ISVs that develop shrink wrapped applications.
SH: There is a whole spectrum of developers that we want to provide our services. To do so, we are giving them access to whatever authoring tool or environment they choose. For those who choose Java, we've got a full set of solutions coming for that. The primary thing that we are offering is access methods for libraries: Class Libraries for Java, ActiveX controls for Visual Basic and the other OCX and component assembly authoring environments and C libraries for the C programming language.
For Java, there's a couple things that we have to enhance before we can use Novell network services directly. One is that we want to make sure that our server platform is enhanced. Novell has an operating system that is very focused on networking. It is not a general purpose operating system, but lives for the sole purpose of servicing requests out on our network, file servers, print servers, directory service and management. This high performance solution engine is what we base a lot of our services on. Now that we have added the Java Virtual Machine to our operating system, the special focus is hidden and the operating system will operate like any other Java Virtual Machine. This will insure that the "write once, run anywhere" philosophy of Java will indeed be true. Applications written for the virtual machine will actually run on top of NetWare®.
At the show, we are demonstrating a number of applications that we have downloaded off of the Internet. We have them running on our server platform. The SDK also includes an alpha version of the Just in Time (JIT) compiler, which improves Java execution performance. The SDK will actually be shipping December 30 and will be available on our Web site by that time. The official name of what we are shipping is the IntranetWare™ SDK for Java. It also includes the core APIs that come in the JDK 1.02 release from JavaSoft. That includes Java.IO, Java.NET, Java.UTIL, Javal.LANGUAGE and Java.AWT.
For the Java.AWT, the windowing tool kit, we have put the necessary graphics primitives in place on our Novell server. We have not had graphics on our server prior to this. Part of the reason is that it is part of an operating system that normally sits in back rooms where IS administrators go up to the server console. Up until now, we haven‘t found it necessary to actually have a full blown GUI on the server. You can get to our server remotely now, so the administrators can stay in their office and manage the network. But to be compliant with the Java platform and pass all the tests suites we have provided the GUI primitives on the server. Just for a proof of concept, we actually have some games on the server, PacMan and Tetris, just to show that they can. We don't expect you to play PacMan at the server console, but it shows that anything written in Java will truly run anywhere.
The kinds of applications that we are interested in having run on the server at this point are things that make sense running on the network that don't necessarily interface with the screen. An example is a Web server written completely in Java that we downloaded from a Web site and installed on our server. It ran without any modification. That shows that the Java claim is true. It's going to enable a lot of forward movement in the industry. The movement that we are really interested in is distributed computing. We've got a lot of experience in offering services that really make distributed computing possible. Some of the things that you need to do distributed computing are the ability to find other things out on the network, other services, clients, servers. When you have found them, you want to be able to connect to them and pass packets of data back and forth. Then you want to secure that connection so that you are comfortable with the security level that is offered. Those three things are basically the building blocks for all other distributed services.
We're investing a lot of our expertise in working with JavaSoft and providing industry-wide APIs that encompass distributed computing. Specifically, we are working with them on having access to naming services and directory services in a federated approach. It's not like locking someone into Novell's notion of directory services or naming services, but rather an industry wide approach. There will be a common API that would have service providers under that common API. The programmer would program without having to worry about changing his programming paradigm to get to the various services that are available on the network. JavaSoft just announced the 100 percent pure Java initiative. It is one way to be sure that applications that use the APIs that JavaSoft licenses out to all the Java licensees will run everywhere. So they have varying levels of API. They have a group of APIs called core APIs and then they will have standard extensions. Java will endorse the extensions so when you won't have to worry about whether people will want the Novell ones versus the IBM ones versus the Sun ones.
JDJ: What is the relationship between Sun and Novell now?
SH: With JavaSoft specifically, we are one of their strategic licensees.
PH: This past November we announced a broad strategic alliance with Sun Microsystems that consisted of three primary areas: 1) Novell licensed Java Workshop, 2) Novell licensed the JIT compiler, 3) We licensed Novell Directory Services™ for the Solaris platform and so that makes it widely available not only on NetWare® and IntranetWare™ platforms, but also Solaris, HP/UNIX, SCO/UNIX, soon to be IBM AIX as well as Microsoft NT. We will have support of Novell Directory Services™ (NDS™) on NT in early 1997. We are really going to make it easy for Java developers to access Novell Directory Services™. NDS™ has upwards of 17 million customers currently, so there is a tremendous opportunity for developers to tap into this market.
JDJ: How will revenue be collected by Novell?
SH: We make our money selling IntranetWare™ and the services associated with it. We hope that as more people write applications that need Directory Services, people will choose Novell Directory Services™ because we are the most established Directory Services out there. We're appealing to a broader audience than just our own constituency.
PH: Steve had talked about the IntranetWare™ SDK for Java which we announced at the show. The SDK is available for free on the Web and you can download it at HTTP://Developer.Novell.Com/net2000/java. It does include that Java Virtual Machine, the JIT compiler, the class libraries and the graphical user interface that Steve talked about.
JDJ: Could you go into more detail about how your SDK is different than the one from JavaSoft?
PH: This SDK contains not only the base level classes API set and JDK 1.02. It also includes the Java Virtual Machine which is specific to IntranetWare™. The JVM is a series of Netware loadable modules that run Netware 4.1 environments and higher.
SH: It's a good point you are making. What we're providing is the same JDK 1.02 and the set of class libraries that are available at this point. Our JVM is something that we hand out to our end users, the people who have our end products so that the applications that are written with the JDK 1.02 will run on top of IntranetWare™.
PH: They will also run wherever a JVM is available.
SH: So as a convenience, we make those classes available on our platform. All those classes are free in the download.
PH: We really want to focus on providing value to our developer community. In fact, through the DeveloperNet subscription program that I talked about earlier, we now offer free subscriptions and you can download everything that we provide on the Web. Again, that's at "developer.novell.com" and you can sign up and receive everything the Developer Net™ Subscription offers, including the SDK.
JDJ: How has traffic on your Web site been?
SH: We had over two to three hundred developers download the original alpha. For the beta, we wanted to have a trackable group, so we could call up developers and see if everything is all right. We had approximately 30 plus people with that. We are coming out of the beta period and will be making this available generally to the developer audience December 30. The intention beyond this is that as JDK 1.1 comes out from JavaSoft and reaches final form, we'll then turn around and make that available on IntranetWare™ across the Web. We'll also include this stuff in the next round of CDs that we send out.
PH: Currently, we have almost 7,000 members in our developer program and we just started that program about a year ago. We are seeing pretty good support for this product through the alpha and beta programs. In fact, Compaq and Kettering Medical Institute all said that this will enable them to build functionality into their products and applicatioons that they couldn't do in the past. What we have been demonstrating at the show here has really opened quite a lot of people's eyes. They see that we are the serious player in Java space and we are committed to moving toward an open cross platform solution
One thing we want to do not only for our developer community, but also for our end user community and our administrators, is really provide those corporate people the ability to leverage their current networking infrastructure. It's very rare that you go into a Fortune 1000 or Fortune 2000 company and find that they are only running one particular operating system. You might find Netware or Solaris or HP or even IBM mainframes. With all of the vendors of these environments licensing the JVM, an application written in Java will run everywhere.
SH: One thing that we want to cover is where Java is going. It has been ramping up in terms of functionality. With what was available in the class libraries that came with. JDK 1.02, you have the basics. In JDK 1.1, JavaSoft has incorporated internationalization support based on Novell code. That's because we've done internationalization for a while and because our product is global in scope. We have the unicode translation tables that we gave to JavaSoft. Looking beyond JDK 1.1, we are providing access to naming and directory services, and are working on printing extensions to the very simple abilities to print in Java.
We are also participating in the area of collaboration, especially in the area of e-mail and group productivity kinds of things. There is messaging, which is the core of e-mail, calendaring and scheduling, document management and work flow. These are areas that JavaSoft wants to move into and, with a broader variety of class libraries available, applications will be more easily written to take advantage of all the services. We are also very interested in providing something in the near term for our own constituency. People who want to offer solutions just to the Novell domain, but want it written in, have free choice on whatever client they are writing from, but they can leverage Novell specific services rather than go to an industry-wide kind of thing. We are making Novell-specific class libraries available in the first half of 1997 if people want to write to a Novell that is approximately 60 million people strong. That is approximately how many people are connected to NetWare® now.
SH: That's about double the number of current Internet users.
PH: People might see that as a market niche, but it is a very large niche. There's tremendous opportunity for ISVs to add value right now and make a lot of money. Corporate developers are also willing to take advantage of Novell's specific services because they have already made the investment in Novell.
The other area that we are excited about is Java Beans. In terms of standards, we've been monitoring what JavaSoft has been doing with Java Beans and are pleased with it. What we are seeing is an opportunity to offer Java Beans that give developers access into the same kinds of areas as class libraries (distributed computing, services and infrastructure). Beans and higher level components are easier for the layman to put together without having to be real Java programmers. I'm talking about people who consume the beans, not the people who produce them.
PH:We are going to be a strong supporter of Beans as well and you will see the first deliverables in the timeframe of Brainshare. You will also see more tools from the Sun/Novell relationship. I previously referred to Java Workshop, which we licensed from Sunsoft. We will optimize Java Workshop for IntranetWare™ development, meaning developers will be able to do remote debugging on the server as well as setting up breakpoints.
SH: Yes, we'll have conditional breakpoints. There are a couple of things that we felt need to be in the tool. to have it be viable, especially in the realm of distributed computing. It gets tough if you don't have assistance from the tool.
JDJ: Is there any competition between your group and the older core groups in Novell?
SH: No, the company has positioned itself to appeal to the Intranet marketplace. We have a 60 percent market share in the realm of network operating systems and LANs. As the industry transitions towards Web technology, it's a pretty simple thing to layer on top of the LAN infrastructure with an HTTP and HTML technology so that you can have Web links across your data.
IntranetWare™, which we just shipped in October, is the new name of our product line. It's no longer NetWare®, it's IntranetWare™. So you take NetWare® as it stands and as you upgrade to the next version, it comes with a Web server, an IP/IPX gateway and multiprotocol router.
JDJ: What effect will that have on the Novell market?
SH: People already have this technology installed and the administrators on the site already know how to manage the set of users using the LAN within the company. By adding Intranet capabilities, they get private Webs or local Webs. As a matter of fact, there is value added with Novell because we are giving them a proxy server which has the ability to make connections from your company to the Interment occur on the Novell server nodes. That way you can either constrict or expand the availability of that to the rest of your clients. You can indicate with access control lists who can get to what, and you can cache the commonly accessed Web pages. This is so you aren't paying as much in line fees and you don't have that random traffic coming from each desktop across your local area network just to go out on the Internet. Novell's been the leader in this kind of technology and we intend to maintain that kind of lead with innovation and giving the right kind of features to our customer base.
PH: Again, this will be optimized for very high performance. That's what NetWare® offers you and that is what IntranetWare™ will continue to offer. IntranetWare™ is just a natural extension of the LAN to the Internet.
JDJ: As the managers for this effort, you are busy all the time adding to the tools and services Novell provides. What do you do in the spare time left to you?
SH: I've been doing this for eleven years, so I identify with the developers who read your magazine. In my life outside Novell, I've got five boys and I love spending time with them. We live in Utah and I love to go mountain biking. Moab is like the mountain biking Mecca of the world. There's a place called the Slick Rock trail and I love going biking with them and doing outdoor things with my lovely wife.
PH: Outside of work, the most important thing for me is spending time with my wife and newborn daughter. That's the best thing that's ever happened to me. Outside of that, I love to play Bob Villa and work on my house. I'm outside on my own and I can get away from the rigors of work.
JDJ: Is there anything you would like to add about Developer Services and the Novell organization?
SH: We want to attract the networking gurus of the world and have them come work with us and develop. We've been involved with networking since 1983 and it's really exciting to work with other minds that are riveted on the same issues as we are. Up on the Novell home page (novell.com), there is a section on available jobs. Anyone is very welcome to reply to those.
PH: We are very excited as a company now. We feel that the best is ahead of us. Certainly we had some troubles in the past and we made it difficult for developers, but we have really turned the corner with our program and our new initiative, Developernet 2000. We've made it easy for people to access our services, so you are going to see a lot more people using Novell technologies. We are going to market the hell out of this stuff. We are no longer going to be passive in our marketing. You are going to see Novell everywhere. You can make a sure bet that anyone that incorporates our technology is going to get that technology exposed to a customer base even beyond our 60 million users.