HP Bundles Elemental Software's Drumbeat 2.0 With Netserver Line

NEW ORLEANS -- As part of its Internet business solutions initiative, Hewlett-Packard Co. announced at Tech-Ed that it is now bundling Drumbeat 2.0 from Elemental Software (Carlsbad, Calif., www.elementalsoftware.com) with its HP Netserver systems and workstations.

Drumbeat 2.0 is designed to enable Web site developers to build database-driven, interactive, business-oriented sites with minimal writing of code.

Elemental also announced that the new version of Drumbeat is available to the general public. Perhaps the most important enhancement to version 2.0 is the capability to build database driver applications into a Web site without having to write code. "A couple of years ago, to be a Web hero all you had to know was HTML and Perl," says Peter Hirshberg, Elemental’s president and CEO. "Today, you have to know several languages and COM Services, SQL databases, Active Server Pages and the idiosyncrasies of multiple browsers."

Indeed, the extent of knowledge required to construct active Web pages is enough to boggle many Web developers. "Drumbeat addresses the needs of our users who understand how to use HTML, but are not programmers," says Terry Young, vice president LAN management, Wells Fargo Bank Online Financial Services Group (San Francisco, www.wellsfargo.com). "We’ve got a long list of intranet projects to integrate our business with the Web, and Drumbeat enables us to get them done faster than using programming tools or hand-coding."

The Drumbeat DataForm Wizard builds sets of pages that search, update, insert and delete records in ODBC-accessible databases. Client-side HTML and JavaScript, and server-side Active Server Pages code, are generated by Drumbeat 2.0. Once the pages are built, developers can enhance the pages with Drumbeat visual editing tools.

Building sites for multiple browsers also poses a problem for developers. Sites requiring Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer 4.0 are not necessarily accessible to Netscape Communications Corp.’s Navigator 2.0. Drumbeat’s SmartPages feature enables users to build sites that adapt to a visitor’s browser; thus, sites can take advantage of the most advanced features while still supporting older browsers.

With these new features, "Drumbeat 2.0 fills a gap in the Web assembly and design software market," says Steve Garone, research director, International Data Corp. (Framingham, Mass.), Garone adds that Drumbeat’s "strong database connectivity and rich multimedia capabilities" make it a valuable tool for building Web applications in a codeless environment.

Lest you think that Drumbeat 2.0 does the impossible and lets true beginners build complex sites in a matter of minutes, a certain amount of knowledge is required to use the product. "We didn’t build Drumbeat for my mother. We built it for Web professionals, with a learning curve much like Photoshop. With Photoshop, in about an hour you can put David Letterman’s head on a dog and make it look good. That’s what we’re going for with Drumbeat 2.0. But to do something more complicated, you need a basic working knowledge of what you’re trying to do," says Elemental’s Hirshberg.