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ARCHIVED  October 1, 1996

Software developers steer toward Internet

In the muddy scrum that is the current software market, progress is often made in a series of catch-up loops.The newest direction in office software is toward facilitating business applications for the Internet, while many new products found on the shelf during an informal survey by The Business Report are consolidations or upgrades to catch up with changes in the larger software world.
Increasingly, using the World Wide Web as a source for business information, such as Farcast or Stanford’s NetNews or the Wall Street Journal’s Personal Journal, just is not enough. More and more businesses are seeing the advertising value in having their own Web page.
And software developers are steering the way.
“It’s where we’re headed – marketing on the Internet as a way to promote É business,´ said Mary Clark of Infovision Inc. in Fort Collins.
Web-page makers are easing the travail of setting up and maintaining a Web page. MicroSoft Front Page 1.1, Hotdog Web Editor 2.0 by Sausage Software and Hot Metal Pro 3.0 by SoftQuad are among the newest. These are essentially programs that write programs. Sacrificing flexibility for speed, these programs automatically write chunks of code based on the user’s drag and drop choices.
Hot Metal Pro boasts that it will automatically convert word-processed files into HTML code, while Front Page and Hotdog incorporate word processing into its package so the user doesn’t have to import word-processing files.
All these Web-page makers have new features that make creating maps and charts easier. Front Page may be the most flexible of these. Both Hot Metal Pro 3.0 and Hotdog Web Editor 2.0 are upgrades that support Netscape and Microsoft extensions. Hot Metal Pro also supports Java. Front page supports Internet Explorer and Netscape.
Hot Metal Pro and Hotdog offer online help and auto-check features, and Hotdog includes a free 30-day membership with an Internet server that includes “everything you need to get on the Internet.” But note: “easy” does not yet equal “beginner.” Phrases such as “Not sure if your HTML code is up to scratch?” will give novices pause.
Lee Lasson, Web developer, NT networking consultant and co-founder of Infovision, said Front Page saves 75 percent of the time it would take to hand-craft a Web page. Lasson said that while Hot Metal Pro and Hotdog check your code, Front Page writes it all for you, making checking unnecessary.’Intranets’ get a boost
“Intranet” technology, that is, networking within companies or offices, has received a boost with the release of Windows NT 4.0. Windows NT allowed medium- to large-sized offices to network their PCs more easily than before. The 4.0 version is easier to use because it has, among other things, the now familiar Windows 95 look. It is, said Lasson, faster, and includes Internet server IIs 2.0. Lasson called its database integration excellent and fast.
“You blink, and there’s the page,” Lasson said.Upgrades and consolidations
The sudden ubiquity of Windows 95 has forced software makers to upgrade for compatibility with it. In the process, some have significantly added and improved.
Most notable among the recent upgrades, according to the experts at the Fort Collins Office Depot and Best Buy stores, is the newest edition of Peachtree’s small-business accounting software, Peachtree Complete.
Besides working with either Windows 3.1 or Windows 95, this Peachtree includes expanded business-management functions and throws in a handful of useful accessories.
New features include job costing, fixed asset management (it calculates depreciation and lets you manage fixed assets in compliance with current government regulations), sales orders and back orders, and partial-shipments accounting.
The software is network-ready, and various modules can be locked for security.
Competing with Peachtree is Corel Office Professional 7, which combines WordPerfect, Quatro Pro and CorelDraw for small office accounting with a strong graphics emphasis.
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In the muddy scrum that is the current software market, progress is often made in a series of catch-up loops.The newest direction in office software is toward facilitating business applications for the Internet, while many new products found on the shelf during an informal survey by The Business Report are consolidations or upgrades to catch up with changes in the larger software world.
Increasingly, using the World Wide Web as a source for business information, such as Farcast or Stanford’s NetNews or the Wall Street Journal’s Personal Journal, just is not enough. More and more businesses are seeing the advertising…

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