At this years Mac World Expo, a pre-release of Web Objects 5 was available for developers to play with which included all of 4.5's features but in pure Java. There is no current downloadable beta, but WebObjects 5 is promised to be available soon after Mac OS X ships in early 2001.
From the Web Objects Support forum:
Dear WebObjects Community,
As we begin 2001, WebObjects continues to remain a central piece of Apple's Internet strategy, as a key way to connect Mac customers to enterprise systems. Even though we weren't in the MacWorld keynote, there was a lot of WebObjects news at this year's MacWorld San Francisco.
1. WebObjects 5 public showing - MacWorld offered developers their first chance to play with a pre-release of WebObjects 5 for Java. WebObjects 5 does everything WebObjects 4.5 does - all in 100% Pure Java. It also features even more Java classes, including ones not wrapped in WebObjects 4.5. If you're near San Francisco, come see it fly on a dual-processor PowerMac G4 running Mac OS X, using the new Project Builder! WebObjects 5 for Java will be available in early 2001, soon after Mac OS X ships. We have not made any announcements when or how a beta might be released.
2. Announcing WebObjects 4.5.1 - adding support for Mac OS X! Apple will release an update of WebObjects 4.5 for all platforms (Mac OS X Server 1.2, Windows NT/2000, Solaris, and HP-UX), featuring the latest bug fixes (including those in Update 3). In addition, we will be providing a special version of WebObjects 4.5.1 which will allow you to run Objective-C applications on Mac OS X (Java applications will need to use WebObjects 5 for Java). WebObjects 4.5.1 is a fully supported release on all platforms, and will continue to be available even after WebObjects 5 ships. WebObjects 4.5.1 will be available in early 2001, soon after Mac OS X ships. We are not planning a public beta of WebObjects 4.5.1.
3. EOF/Cocoa support in WebObjects -- Both WebObjects 4.5.1 and WebObjects 5 for Java feature the ability to create "thick" (two-tier) Cocoa clients (in Objective-C and Java, respectively). The developer tools will be bundled with the WebObjects product. We hope to provide a moderate-cost redistribution license allowing you to ship the EOF runtimes with your desktop application. More details should be available when Mac OS X ships.
4. WebObjects Deployment in Mac OS X Server -- At MacWorld, Apple also demonstrated the new version of Mac OS X Server, built on the same foundation as Mac OS X. The new Mac OS X Server will include a full WebObjects Deployment runtime.
5. WebObjects 4.5 Redistribution Agreement -- We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of a license allowing you to redistribute the WebObjects runtimes with your web application (each key costs $699). The license is available at http://developer.apple.com/mkt/swl/llsw5.html
For more information on all this, please check out the updated FAQ at: http:///www.apple.com/webobjects/pdf/l05774b_webobjects_final17.pdf
webobjects at group dot apple dot com
January 9th, 2001