Sun Microsystems Inc. unveiled a technology Wednesday that it says will make it considerably easier for companies to offer products and process orders over the Internet.
Neo, as the product line from the Mountain View, Calif.-based company's Sunsoft unit is called, extends the theory of object-oriented computer programming to corporate networks.
In object programming, software coding is reduced to re-usable or interchangeable units that can easily be plugged into new or modified processing systems.
Janpieter Scheerder, president of Sunsoft, said at a press conference in New York that companies have been limited in their attempts to doing business on the Internet because of complications in adapting their in- house systems for the World Wide Web.
Mr. Scheerder and Sun Microsystems chairman Scott McNealy said Neo can help corporations overcome the limitations of their "static" computer environments the way Federal Express made it possible to track packages over the Internet - and thereby gain a competitive advantage.
"There is a new attitude in information systems - the corporate network includes the Internet," said Sunsoft object products manager Bud Tribble.
Internet postings can be far more dynamic than simple bulletin boards or announcements. With "networked objects," an internal system that takes an order or processes a credit card payment can be replicated on the World Wide Web.
The first Neo products will be available in October, Sunsoft said. The capability will come with any Internet browser in which Sun's Java language is embedded, including the company's HotJava and Netscape Communications Corp.'s Navigator 2.0.
A bank customer could use interactive services on a bank's home page, for example, by testing "what-if" scenarios on mortgage rates - using a version of the bank's own, powerful internal systems.