Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Collaboration Technologies in 2004

Looking back to 2004 is on. You will find the reviews of 2004 everywhere. Open any newspaper, any magazine, any TV channel, or even a blog, you will find a backward glance on 2004.

No, if you are thinking that I am also going to do this too - not. I was actually looking for the blogs related to collaboration software. Here I found one very interesting blog by Michael. He has done the review of year 2004 from the perspective of collaboration technologies. Collaboration is one important part of portals now, and that's why I am very much interested in it. It seems that the authors is from MS background, so he talks more about Exchange server. Anyways, it is worth reading -

2004 in Review from Collaboration Perspective

Tsunami, Disaster and Me

I am quite regular when it comes to blogging. But due to time constraint, I am not able to post for the last few days. My last post was on 9th December i.e. around 20 days back. And it is the day when I had written first time about Tsunami, the content management solution by Oracle. That day I had no idea about the meaning of this dangerous word Tsunami and nor I bothered about it. But this word from my last post was probably telling something to me. And now I am much aware about it. I don't know what was it. Was it a correlation or a hint to an astrologer?

If you have no idea about it, Tsunamis are the killer waves that have swallowed life of more than 25,000 people in a single day. According to the rediff.com, an Indian portal, around 25000 may have died in Indonesia alone. The counting has reached to around 10,000 in India and it is still going on. 30,000 people are missing in Andamans, a small island of India. So the final count will be unimaginably high for sure. If you want to know more about Tsunami and the disaster, here is the link for details - Tsunami -- the killer waves.

So why I am writing all this on my portal blog? I know that I have very good readership and I want to request my readers to help the victims. Here is how you can help -

How you can help tsunami victims

You never now how many lives will be saved/ helped by your contribution.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Oracle Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

Amidst the Oracle's effort of drinking my blood (yes, I am experimenting with 'Oracle iAS Portal 10g' for the last few days :-) ), Oracle today announced the launch of their new Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technology, Oracle(R) Files 10g. Like other infrastructure portal vendors, Oracle was also lacking on ECM front. Hopefully, oracle will be able to fulfill that void using this ECM release i.e. Oracle Files 10g. Oracle Files 10g (Tsunami) is expected to be released in early 2005. Check the news release here -

Oracle Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

Friday, November 26, 2004

Free Portlets Repository

Seeing the dearth of free JSR 168 portlets, I have created a folder on the file section of portlets forum where one can upload portlets. There are already 15 portlets available in the repository contributed by different members. I request everyone to contribute portlets that can be the part of learning material and instant reuse. You can also create your own folder inside the free portlets folder.

Your suggestions on 'free portlet repository' are welcome.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Example Portlets/ Sample Portlets

Studying existing source codes is the best method of learning new software technology. But it is difficult to find codes on Internet in case of portlets. In my previous post titled free portlets, I mentioned about few free resources on Internet where you can find portlets. But most of those resources are based on vendor dependant APIs and tools and hence not much useful in JSR 168 Portlet API learning. Here are few Sample Portlets that you can use for start learning portlet development -

1. http://www.geocities.com/lestermartin/portlet/portlet-dev-env.zip - 2 portlets (Hello World and Calculator) by Lester Martin
2. Notepad, Bookmark and Showtime Portlets - 3 sample portlets (Notepad, Bookmark and Showtime) from Sun Microsystems
3. http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=91153 - 5 portlets (Google, Rss, Wizard, Upload, Mail) by POST: Portlet Open Source Trading Website

I am sure that there are various example portlets scattered across the Internet. If you know any of those portlets you can let me "pandeypunit AT yahoo.com" know or upload it to the portlets discussion forum. These portlets are already available at the file section of portlets discussion forum.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Start Learning Portlet

I was looking for some introductory articles to give to our portlet trainees. But as usual, I found nothing really useful on Internet. Most of the good articles are vendor specific and not for JSR 168 portlet API. But I had to give something to them. I identified following articles that can be useful in click start learning of JSR 168 portlets -

Understanding the Java Portlet Specification

Developing to the Java Portlet Specification

Introducing the Portlet Specification, Part 1

Introducing the Portlet Specification, Part 2

Seeing such a slack of portlet development articles, I have started working on "hands-on" type tutorial on portlet development that I'll post here soon. Till the time the second article i.e. "Developing to the Java Portlet Specification" can be the good starting point.

Happy portletting.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Most Popular Enterprise Portal

The portal poll is still going on but I think that it's time to conclude. I am in touch with the industry and watching it closely for a long time but the results are somewhat surprising to me. I was not expecting that the open source portal servers would do that well.

For me it is always difficult to interpret the data. But I'll try to do it with my limited understanding and almost no knowledge of statistics. I must make it clear that -

  1. My group and blogs may have audiences that may not be representing the real portal world.
  2. It may be biased towards one community or other. For example there is another poll going on titled "Do You Use Open Source Portal Servers". Around 68 percent users voted in favor i.e. they use open source portal servers. So one point is clear that my blogs/ groups have good readership/ usage among open source community. Though now-a-days I see more questions pertaining to commercial portals than open source portals.

Now as the there are sufficient votes, we can use this sample to draw some conclusions. Though, I understand that it cannot give us the complete market picture, still it can be a useful way to get the glimpse of the market and usage.

So much talks and no data??? Here is the scorecard -


Note: Others contain MS Sharepoint (1%), Vignette(4%), Plumtree(2%), SAP Netweaver(2%) and Oracle (3%) Portal Servers.

If we assume that usage of my forums and blogs spread uniformly among portal community, here are few conclusions that I can draw from it -

  1. Open Source Portal Servers are in more use than the Commercial Portal Servers.
  2. eXo is the most popular portal server & Liferay is closely behind.
  3. In commercial portals, IBM has the lead on BEA. Other commercial portals are far behind.
  4. People are looking more towards open source solutions.
  5. Standardization (JSR 168, WSRP, JCR) is one major popularity criteria. It may be the reason for eXo advantage.
  6. Integration with other products is not a primary criterion for portal popularity.
  7. Even the major portal features like content management and collaboration is down the wish list.
  8. Development tool (again eXo has advantage) is another important popularity criteria for portals, at least among open source portals.
  9. Portlets are not available in MS Sharepoint portal servers so it is not fare to measure it in a portlet community poll.
  10. Plumtree and Vignette popularity is declining, if we compare it with previous research reports. OR
  11. The portlet development community for Plumtree and Vignette is not that big as compared to other portals.

I want to apologize that I missed few portals servers from both the open source and commercial world. I initially believed that these are not much popular. But this poll has shown that assumptions are not always true. I assure that I'll include them in any future poll. Here is a list of portals that I missed out -

  1. GridSphere
  2. Jahia
  3. PeopleSoft
  4. SunOne
  5. Novell Extend Director

It is probably the first attempt to evaluate open source and commercial portals together. There are various researches and reports available on Internet but those all exclude open source portals. This poll has proved that any research without including open source portals cannot depict a real market.

Thanks to my readers and members, my blogs and groups has grown as a big portal community. My portlets and WSRP groups have around 1500 members and my blogs are receiving thousands of hits a day. Due to this community only, such types of opinion polls are possible. Thanks to my readers and members once again. Finally, just to remind again that the portal poll is still on so you can cast your votes before it is late.

For those, we are looking for similar content, we had few discussions and other similar attempts in the past, but those all were restricted to open source only. Here are other similar attempts -

1. TSS on Choosing Portal Server
2. Which Open Source Portal Server?

Monday, November 01, 2004

Creating a map portlet for Oracle Portal

While surfing, found following article -

Creating a map portlet for Oracle Portal: "Creating a map portlet for Oracle Portal"

UPDATE (Nov 20): Blog author has revised the post incorporating JSR 168. I received few emails regarding the need for JSR 168 portlets instead of oracle specific portlets. So it is the welcome modification. The new article is available at -

http://www.orablogs.com/oragis/archives/000661.html

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Framework for Portlets

Portlets, like model-I JSPs, need some framework to keep code manageable. While saying framework, initially we are more concerned with the basic structure of the portlets. Though it can be argued that portlets are based on MVC pattern and less prone to code management problems. But due to single controller architecture, soon the controller codes start zooming and becomes highly unmanageable. At this stage we need some framework with some best practices to avoid code management problems. There are various methodologies available like State Pattern by IBM. Here in this article authors has suggested that portlets have three major functions -

1. Validate
2. Store Data
3. Prepare Request

Based on above assumption, he has tried to standardize above three major processes of portlet development. Idea is new one and, in my opinion, can be useful for small to medium size portlet development. For detailed portlets (say more than 100 lines of code), in my opinion, we should go for some proper framework like JSF, Spring or Struts. Have a look at the article - Portlet How-To: Using an Action Interface to Improve Portlet Code.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Which is the most popular portal server?

It is the one of the most frequently asked questions in portal world and I believe that no one has the right answer. There are various surveys and research reports but all telling different stories. One report is saying that IBM is leading the market and other-one is saying that Plumtree is the market leader. Most of the reports don't consider open source portal servers at all, I don't know why? In my opinion no research can be said complete without including the open source portal servers. Few of my fellow blog authors are of opinion that most of the research reports are fabricated & biased and vendors use them to promote their products only. In my opinion there is no easy method to find the right answer. I have created one survey for finding the answer of the same question. Right now, IBM Portal Server is leading and eXo is at the second spot. Please go and cast your vote.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/portlets/surveys?id=11907382

Note: The poll is on portlets yahoogroup and you need to be a member for casting your vote.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

New Version of WebSphere Portal

IBM is going to release version 5.1 of WebSphere Portal. The release is long awaited and I have still to see it. But from the available resources, following are the major additions in features -

1. Integrated workflow engine
2. Multiple Site Support
3. Improved Content Management (Lotus Workplace Web Content Management, JCR, Search)
4. Improved Document Manager (Tree View, JCR)

The next major release i.e. Portal 6.0 is targeted around 2Q05.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

JBoss Takes On jBPM Project

JBoss, owners of the popular JBoss open source development community, added another piece to its middleware product portfolio with the addition of the Java Business Process Management (jBPM) Project, officials announced Monday.

Complete Story

Monday, October 18, 2004

Enterprise Portal Content Management

Content Management is one of the major motivations behind portals. But it is really unfortunate that there is no portal solution (at least in java world) that can fulfill even the basic content publishing requirements. A basic content management solution contains at least a content repository, content creation methods, content publishing methods, workflow and an API for content manipulation.

In the past I have given a look on few major portals and reached to this conclusion. First, as usual, I have given a look on various open source portals. But other than the basic content repository and few APIs, I wasn't able to find anything. Means no open source portal can be used as an instant content publishing solution. The affair on commercial portals is also muted. The best portal server, in my opinion is IBM WebSphere Portal Server (again in java world). It comes with it's own content publishing tool called WebSphere Portal Content Publisher (WPCP). It can be used for small and medium size business but it lacks the feature for an enterprise content publishing.

There are various third party content management tools available but it is not easy to integrate them with portal sever. For example Interwoven Teamsite has support for many portal servers including IBM WebSphere Portal and BEA WebLogic Portal but it is not easy to integrate it fully with the portal servers. Also there are some licensing issues. So here comes the closing words - If you are planning to use portals merely for content publishing, it seems not a good idea in current scenario.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

FatWire Software Releases Content Server 6

FatWire Software, a provider of enterprise content management solutions for deploying content-centric applications, has announced the release of Content Server 6, the latest edition of its enterprise level software. Content Server 6 adds new features that are designed to help organizations speed multi-site deployments, increase reuse of existing assets, provide higher levels of security, and use Content Server in portal environments. This latest version of Content Server is available and shipping to customers immediately. Specific new and enhanced features include: Site Launcher, SAFE (Secure Authorization for Enterprise), Portal Integration, and InSite Editor 2.

Compete Story at EContentMag.com

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

WSRP FAQ

For quite long, I had not checked OASIS's website. Today somehow I got the link of WSRP FAQ and found it contains answers of many common questions (yes, I know it is FAQ). For people who don't know what is OASIS, it is the committee taking care of WSRP standard; in fact many web services related standards. WSRP is still an evolving technology and on my WSRP discussion forum, people ask very basic questions. Most of the people are not very sure what WSRP can do, what it can not, how to do that etc.

OASIS website has few very useful documents. These two documents are must read, if you are related to WSRP, in any ways -


You can have a quick glance on contents here -

  • What is the difference between JSR 168 and WSRP?

  • What is a WSRP Producer?

  • What is a WSRP Consumer?

  • How does a Consumer discover a Producer and the Portlets it offers?

  • What are the standard WSRP user categories supposed to mean in a real-world environment? Are there any generally accepted practices for assigning
    behavior to a user category?

  • What happens during the registration process?

  • Is it valid for a Producer to change the set of required registration properties after Consumers have registered? If so, how does the Consumer learn of this change?

  • Should a Producer respond with an InvalidRegistrationFault when a
    modifyRegistration() invocation fails because the required registration
    properties have changed?

  • How does a Consumer assert to a Producer an anonymous user (or that it does not know the user)?

  • What does it mean to pass a null UserContext to operations that take it for the purpose of filtering the returned data on the user information in the context?

  • How does caching work with WSRP? Will my WSRP Producer be overwhelmed by
    requests?

  • How can user Portlet preferences be saved? What are the typical patterns for
    preference storage?

  • Can WSRP Portlets be used with other devices like PDAs or cell phones?

  • How does WSRP address security?

  • Can a WSRP Portlet introduce anything malicious into my portal?

  • What concept does WSRP have of sessions?

  • How does a Consumer's user sessions relate to sessions on a Producer?

  • Can Portlet session state be shared between WSRP Portlets that are hosted on the same Producer?

  • Are there any JavaScript conventions for use in URLs?

  • How do I generate Java building stubs, skeletons, and datatypes from the WSRP TC WSDL files?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Metamorphosis Portlets

Oh, strange title. No no, I have not created any portlet that can bring back your youth. Rather I am talking about new look of this (portlets) blog. The last theme was quite old and in fact fairly dull too. This time, I have chosen the theme that I like most on blogger and it looks professional too.

Other than all old features, 'mail the post' and 'blogger comment system' is now activated. So you can mail any post to your friends. Only problem that I am getting, I am not able to copy my old comments to the new templates. I will skip this, if I am not able to find any automated method. If anyone here knows any automated method of copying comments from Holoscan to blogger, please let me know.

Anyways, please let me know your views on changed look.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Porting Struts Application to eXo Portal

Struts is already the most popular web application development framework and there are tons of applications around, built on top of it. Introduction of portlet as a new web development mechanism has created porting challenge for existing applications. Not all applications are easy to port to portlet framework. But most of the popular framework especially Struts has many bridges already developed to instantly port existing Struts applications to portlet framework. Framework bridges are portal server dependant but nearly all portals now have bridge for Struts.

Following article by Masoud Omidvar is good starting article, if you want to port your existing web applications built using Struts to eXo Portal. Here is the link -

http://exo-struts.blogspot.com/

Omidvar, hope to see more posts on your blog in future.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Mapping LDAP Attributes into the User Object

In WebSphere Portal, user object provides some LDAP information of the user. But the user object doesn't provide all the information available in the directory. In case, you want to fetch that missing information from LDAP directory, there are some tweaking you will have to do. Here is the article that can help in achieving that.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Enterprise Portal Trends

Enterprise Portal Market Research - Part I
I am out of it for quite a while now. I was busy in doing some market research pertaining to enterprise portals. So in last few days, I found some interesting facts, and probably that will be the basis of my upcoming posts. I started with identifying contemporary portal trends. I found following trends in portal marketplace -

  • Convergence of portals from aggregators to integrators
  • Smart Applications suites vendors and Applications platform suites vendors competing for market share
  • Adoption of Portal-related standards among vendors offering interoperability
  • Emergence of open source portals as strong contenders
  • Adoption of the portal as a core-computing platform
  • Aperture of portlet Marketplace

I am sure few portal experts will be reading this entry too. So I'll be more than happy by getting their opinion.

Monday, September 06, 2004

How to implement WSRP consumer or producer?

It is often asked in our WSRP discussion forum, how to implement WSRP consumer or producer. WSRP specifications are new and there are not many resources available. WSRP specifications are there but are too complicated to be used as base document for WSRP implementation. Also no technical details and 'how to' instructions are available inside the specifications. Another solution is to check the WSRP primer by OASIS available at http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/9002/wsrp-primer-1.0-draft-0.9.pdf. Though it is in the draft stage, still it can be more useful than the specifications.

The best solution right now seems to read existing implementations. For java, there is already good implementation available in the form of WSRP4J. One can download the source from CVS and study the code. It can definitely help in implementing WSRP in your product. Open source portals i.e. eXo, uPortal and Gluecode have also implemented WSRP. But most of them have used WSRP4J as their base implementation so one cannot find much useful information inside those codes.

I don't know any similar (open source) implementation available on Microsoft or not. If someone of you has any idea, please leave a comment.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Clickmarks is back

There are only few tools in the market for visual portlets creation. I mentioned in my previous article that this market is hotting-up. There seems good market growth for this segment this year. Seeing the potential of this market, I am sure that we will see some concrete data from Forrester and other research firms.

Yesterday only, Clickmarks has announced it?s tie-up with Sun Microsystems. IBM has already collaboration with Bowstreet, a similar product company (Incidentally the name of both the products are Portlet Factory). I believe that after seeing the successful partnership between IBM and Bowstreet, Sun/Clickmarks didn't have any option. Few days back I heard a rumor that Clickmarks is going to shut it operations but it is a good sign of it's revival. Let us see what will be the end-result of this partnership. You can also check the press release here.

After this partnership, I see one to one competition for the market share. It would be great to see who is going to win - IBM-Bowstreet or Sun-Clickmarks. But in my opinion, IBM & Bowstreet have the advantage of time.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

IBM Portal Application Integration Presentation

IBM Portal Application Integration Presentation

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

RAD & Visual Portlet Tools

Rapid Portlet Creation Tools

Enterprise Portal Market Research Series

Portlets (JSR 168) and Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) specifications are out for quite a while now. Nearly all products are now specifications compliant and you will not see the fray for compliance among portal vendors anymore. So what trends I see among portal vendors? I have done some market study and come up with some conclusion that I'll try to post here in future. But one point is catching my eyes prominently and it is "RAD tools for portlets and portal development".

Now vendors are focusing more on tools creation. RAD tools for creating portlets and tools for "visual portlets creation, even by non-programmers" seems to be the selling idea now. To what extent it is possible, it is another question. But It's true that without proper tools and environment, it is not possible to exploit underlying features of portal-servers fully. Portal Server vendors are coming up with tools for rapid portlet creations for supporting their portals. But here portal vendors are not alone, independent vendors are also planning to take benefit of this huge market. You can see few of the above portal tools can become tools of choice in coming future -


Other than these independent vendors, portal server vendors are coming up with their own portlet and portal development toolkits. Every portal vendors is betting high on their portals / portlet creation tools. For example -

Weblogic Workshop gained popularity due to its Microsoft style of development. IBM has betted on open source eclipse and this proved quite successful strategy especially due to plug-in support and extendible nature. Yesterday, Vignette announced Vignette Builder for quick and easy portlet creation. I believe that we are going to see more and more portal and portlet creation tools specifically for portal development in near future.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Enterprise Java & J2EE Security

Java Security is now-a-days on top of the list for big corporate. According to a survey by Forrester, IT decision makers named security on top of their purchase list in 2004.

On the line of portlets and WSRP discussion forums, we have created a group to discuss enterprise Java and J2EE security implementation related problems. All of my readers are invited to join the forum at - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/javasecurity/.

As all we know, enterprise security is one of the most difficult technologies to implement. I was not able to find any common place for finding solutions and discuss related tools, technologies and standards. This group intends to bring enterprise security implementation adn security patterns related knowledge to members. Technologies like Single Sign On (SSO), Secure Socket Layer (SSL), Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS), Secure Web Services standards (WS-Security etc.), Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL), Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), Lightweight Third-party Authentication (LTPA), Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) etc. can be focal point of discussion. Products like IBM Tivoli Access Manager, Identity Manager, Netegrity Siteminder, IBM Directory Server, WAS, WPS and other enterprise security related products can be discussed here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Books on Portlet, WSRP, JSR 168 & Java Portals

I am compiling a list of books available on portlets, java portals, JSR-168 and WSRP technologies. A quick serach given following results. You will find books on IBM WebSphere Portal Server, Oracle Portal Server, BEA Weblogic Portal Server and of course Open Source Portal Servers etc.

1. Professional Portal Development with Open Source Tools: Java Portlet API, Lucene, James, Slide by W. Clay Richardson, Donald Avondolio, Joe Vitale, Peter Len, Kevin T. Smith
2. IBM WebSphere Portal Primer by Ashok K. Iyengar, Venkata Gadepalli
3. Web Development with Oracle Portal by Mohamed El-Mallah
4. Mastering IBM WebSphere Portal Server: Expert Guidance to Build & Deploy Portal Applications by Ron Ben-Natan , Ori Sasson , Richard Gornitsky
5. Building Portals with the Java Portlet API By Jeff Linwood, David Minter (Not yet published)
6. Programming Portlets by Ron Lynn
7. Oracle 9iAS Portal Bible by Rick Greenwald, Jim Milbery
8. BEA WebLogic Workshop 8.1 Kick Start 1 by Albert Saganich
9. Creating Web Portals with BEA WebLogic by Howard Block, Rob Castle, David Hritz
10. Corporate Portals Empowered with XML and Web Services by Anura Guruge

If I am missing some books here, please let me know by putting your comments. I am planning to keep this list updated at http://www.portletsfactory.com/resources/portlets-jsr168-wsrp-portals-books.html.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

MS Open Source Portals

Truly speaking, I don't have much idea on what portal solutions are available on Microsoft platform especially open source ones. Yesterday, while surfing the web, I came to know about some open source portal solutions on Microsoft platform. One was Rainbow and other one was DotNetNuke.

It is good to see some open source portal solutions on Dot Net. What made me interested that these too use some sort of portlets. Again as I told you, I don't have much idea of these solutions. But I am interested to know how these are compared with open source java portals?

Monday, July 12, 2004

More Study on Portal Servers

Please read it in continuation of my old stories on choosing open source java portal server. The one was not based on any extensive study but based more on my past experiences with java open source portals. After that a few things have changed. (yes, and will keep changing:-) ) Probably on the same day of my post, GridSphere released version 2.0 of their portal server. eXo has also came up with RC1 of the their portal server. I have given a quick look to eXo but didn't get sufficient time to go through GridSphere.

Meanwhile, Nick also tried to deploy some JSR 168 portlets on different portal servers. But he was not able to deploy it on any of the servers. Primary reason being insufficient documentations. He has chosen GridSphere, Liferay, eXo and uPortal for his experiments. You can read his full post on Java Portal Discussion Forum. Again the study was not comprehensive one but you can say one step ahead in evaluating portal servers. At least you can get some different perspective. What he concluded was as follows -


From my point of view the Gridsphere hot-deploy feature & deployment UI seem nice, but I can't make them work. I had the most success Liferay, but the JSR168 implementation has some bugs. uPortal seems nice, but JSR168 support is badly documented. I'm hopeful about EXO, but so far unsuccessful in deploying to it.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Few Good News

I am happy with the way everything going on with me on net. There are various reasons of my happiness -
1. My portlets blog on JRoller was featured on TheServerSide.com. Due to TSS, I received lots of hits.
2. I was awarded "Star Blogger" by ITToolBox. :-)
3. My portlets discussion forum crossed 600 members mark.
4. There are few more but if I'll disclose here, I'll be in a prooblem. ;-)

Anyways, so first of all thanks to all readers who are reading my blog regularly (portlet, portlet and portlet :-( uhh). Also thanks to JRoller, ITToolBox, and Blogger for hosting my blogs.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Portal Server Demo URLs

One reader of my weblog asked me to help him with demos of portal servers so that he can play and have some idea about the product before making any decision. I requested the same on my portlet discussion group and few portal vendors responded. Here is the list based on their responses. I am planning to keep it updated.

Liferay - http://demo.liferay.net
GridSphere - www.gridsphere.org is composed of content portlets developed on top of GridSphere portal framework, but probably one cannot play with the portal.
eXo - Similarly, www.exoplatform.com is built on eXo Portal. You can also play with it to some extent.
Jahia - http://demo.jahia.org

Of course, I am looking for more responses so that I can add them here.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Case of Workflow

Nowadays my team is evaluating open source portals that have support for workflow management and BPM. Workflow is a technology in demand. Lots of people see it as complementary technology to EAI. But the problem is that each of our clients have different types of need.

Commercial portals are quite matured in the case of workflow. But I didn't find extensive workflow support in any open source portal. I did a google search (as always, it thrown my pages back to me :-)) I found only two open source portals in result. One was eXo with some workflow portlets and other one was Jahia (St├ęphane, I have included Jahia in open source list this time :-)) with content workflow support. I have yet to see both the products. But I guess there will be some more products that I am missing here. If I am missing some products, please let me know.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Best Open Source Portal Server?

Best Open Source Portal Server?

I had raised the issue Which Open Source Portal Server to Choose. Jeff replied on his blog in favor of Jetspeed 1. Meanwhile TheServerSide.com also raised the same question referring my blog. So the discussion became interesting. We have seen various responses including responses from nearly all open source portal vendors. As always, it was looking like portal marketplace where everyone trying to promote his portal. So one can ask now, which one you concluded the best?

Good question. But if you will see my initial post, you will be able to clarify that I was not trying to find out the best portal server. In fact, it is not possible at all to find the best and come to the consensus. Tell me which is the best Hollywood actress? :-) Anyway, my purpose of that posting was to narrow down the list. For a new person, it is really difficult to choose one portal server out of so many available portal servers. So just to repeat, the objective was to narrow the list not to find the best portal server. Thanks to TheServerSide.com for raising the issue on their news forum. Without them it would not be easy to get opinion of so many people.

Every portal server has it's own pros and cons. Liferay comes with so many ready to use portlets. eXo comes with extendible architecture, and JSR 168 & WSRP support. Jetspeed with Apache's brandname and so on. With the discussion my question has now become a little easy to answer. Now you can decide yourself "which open source portal sever to choose" :-)

Thursday, July 01, 2004

List of Open Source Portal Server in Java

Jeff on his blog, Uncommented Bytes, has shown Jetspeed 1 as his portal of choice. I had not given Jetspeed 1 in my list of choice instead I had given Jetspeed 2 (yet to release) in my list. He was of opinion that Jetspeed 1 and Jahia should be in the list.

There are two reasons for not adding these two in the list. Jetspeed 1 is not JSR 168 and WSRP compliant. I had JSR 168 as primary criteria for my list. Without JSR 168 support whatever work you are doing will not be reusable. It is very clear that all vendor dependent API will soon die. There is no use of going for vendor depended APIs. As the Jetspeed 2 will support JSR 168 and WSRP, I had added it in the list though it is yet to be released.

There are lots of question marks on Jahia being open source. As Jahia is not open source, I decided to take it off the list.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Which Open Source Portal Server to Choose?

Like with any other new technology, it is the most frequently asked question related to portals. The portlet and portal technology is now here for quite a while but I am asked this question so often that I decided to write here. If you will check manageability, you will find total of 17 open source portal servers listed. It is really not easy to evaluate all products and take decision.

I am now involved with this technology for quite a while. I am continuous in touch with Internet and discussion groups. So I decided to shortlist few portals severs that you should pay attention to. You can say it is my choice of portals. My choice is based on following parameters -

* Support of JSR 168 and WSRP standard
* The amount of work going on i.e. activity
* News being generated
* Opinion polls and reports on Internet
* My intuition

I have not worked with all servers listed here, but it is based on my experience with the portal and portlet technology. Here is my list -

* eXo
* GridSphere
* JA-SIG uPortal
* Jakarta Jetspeed 2
* Liferay

The above list in not in any order. I decided to write it, just to narrow down the initial choice. I want to repeat here once again that it is strictly based on my opinion and yours may be different. Anyway if you have different opinion, please let me know.

Portlet Development Tutorial

If you are a fan of Sun Java Studio or just starting portal development, you will find this article useful -

Building JSR 168-Compliant Portlets with Sun Java Studio Enterprise

It summarizes JSR 168 and WSRP and then moves to actual portlet development. You will find google portlet as an example. Keep in mind that the article is strictly bound to Sun Java Studio. So if you are using some other portal server / toolkit you will not find much to read.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Java Portals and EAI

Sorry for being away from this blog for quite a while. I am busy in researching various different tools and technologies. Although my objective for all this exercise was to find some enterprise application integration solution for my problem yet I never strictly stick to the objective. I experimented with WSRP (Web Services for Remote Portlets), Workflow Management & BPM (Business Process Management), "Bowstreet Portlet Factory" and "Clickmarks Portlet Factory", Web-clipping technology, all with Java Portals. In fact, after all this exercise I found that Java Portals can be extremely beneficial solution for EAI problem.

There are lots of integration methodologies and technologies available like messaging, and web services. But I found that in most of the cases portals can be the best integration technologies. I have found that completely desperate systems can be integrated with portals. We tried integration of application written in Microsoft with the help of WSRP technology. We tried integration of PeopleSoft with "Clickmarks Portlet Factory" and we tried integration of SAP applications with "Bowstreet Portlet Factory." We also tried web-clipping portlets available with IBM WebSphere Portals for integrating our in-house applications. In all the cases it was straightforward and less time taking process compared to other integration methodologies. In my opinion, only portal technology can make it so fast and easy. Clients can be convinced due to fast migration process to portals. Anyway these are not the only advantages of using portals, in fact there are many but for that I'll have to write a book :-)

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Bowstreet Portlet Factory 5.8.2 Launched

Bowstreet(TM), a leading provider of development tools for adaptive J2EE applications, today announced the availability of Bowstreet Portlet Factory version 5.8.2. This new release features the PeopleSoft Extension, allowing companies to rapidly integrate PeopleSoft data and business processes with their portals.

Check the press release here.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

500 Members

On January 5th this year, I had written about the century i.e. 100 group members for our JSR 168 Portlets & Java Portals discussion forum. But it is really surprising to see how the portlets, portals, JSR 168 & WSRP technologies are picking up. Only in four months, the group attained landmark of 500 members. I have few more discussion groups on other domains but this group is the fastest growing group.

I hope this group will really prove useful for learners of these technologies.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Open Source Java WSRP Portals

Hi all,

Today, while web surfing, I came to know that uPortal also supports WSRP. I was not knowing this so I was quite surprised. I am planning to compile a list of Open Source WSRP Portals. At present I know only three open source java portals that support WSRP i.e. -

1. eXo
2. uPortal
3. Gluecode (Thanks Patrick for update)

Please let me know (put comments here) other open source java WSRP portal servers. I am planning to expand the list.

[Update on Sep 28th, 2004]

Comprehensive and up-to-date list is available on OASIS website. Here you will find a list of all open-source and commercial products supporting WSRP. On the day of writing, OASIS has listed following products -



Regards,

Punit Pandey

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Portals: Utility or Hype?

Yesterday, I had written about Forrester's survey that portal failed to deliver enterprise benefits. If you have not gone through that, you can read that here. Forrester has also come up with some reasons for failure. But I found a different prime reason for failure. After that the question arises, is portal a safe technology for your enterprise? Or is it complete failure technology and popular just due to hype created by portal vendors?

In my opinion, the enterprise implemented portal solutions in the past were a little ahead of the time. Last year there was no portal standard resulted in lack of interoperability among portals. Due to that the numbers of supporting solutions were nearly unavailable. Mind you, the portal standardization technologies i.e. JSR 168 and WSRP have come onto horizon only last year December and September. Without that standardization, every portal vendor was moving onto his own directions. So the SAP portlets that was available with IBM was not available with BEA. The portlets I was developing for IBM cannot be used with Oracle.

Now the scenario has changed. Strong standardization is there and nearly all leading portal vendors are supporting them. With my experience, I can say that portals are foremost runners for EAI solutions. Portals have the power of integration due to technologies like portlets and Web Services and then add WSRP in the list. Portals will come up as the best integration solutions. According to me, it is the right time to go for portal based solutions.

P.S.: I am preparing a detailed report on "Portals as EAI solution" and if I got permission from my employer, I will publish that here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Portal Survey

Portal failed to deliver enterprise benefit still portals rank high on the list of must-haves for many in the enterprise.

Forrester done a portal study surveying 83 employees involved in portal projects in both business and IT roles at companies with $100 million or more in revenue. They have come up with some reasons for portal project failure and suggestions for choosing the portal

Recommendations:
* Know portals' best uses and limitations before launching a portal project.
* Before launching a project, "clean house first by putting supporting infrastructure and services in place and getting content in order."
* Don't start with enterprisewide projects: Some functional areas and business processes run well on their own, so don't shoehorn them into a broad-reaching portal initiative.
* Businesses should use system integrators and development partners with expertise in their industries, or with expertise in the specific business problems they face.

Reason of Failure:
* Lack of support for portal standards i.e. JSR 168 and WSRP.
* Lack of budget estimation at initial stages.
* Too many choices resulting in too many incompatible portal products.
* Weaker alignment with business goals.

They concluded the report with "weak alignment with business goals, soft budget justification, and too many choices doom rudderless portal projects and threaten to bury this technology in the app development platform."

Despite this, portals rank high on the list of must-haves for many in the enterprise. Thirty-four percent of IT decision makers named portals second to security as the technology they expected to purchase in 2004.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Portal Comparison

NetworkComputing has done an extensive test of 11 leading portal vendors. It has rated 'OracleAS 10g Portal' as best portal product. Although every test has it's own criteria, even then it is worth to give a look. As far as I know, it is the only comparison for such a wide portal range. Here is the complete test -

Enterprise Portals Suites

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

One more JSR 168 Compliant Product

It looks that now the JSR 168 compliant products are flooding. There are many commercial and open-source already compliant and new products are joining day by day. This time it is the turn of saba. I have not seen/used this product so I am not sure what exactly is the product. One thing is sure that it is not a complete portals solution. They call it "human capital development and management (HCDM)" solution. Anyway it is a good news for whole java portal world.

Press note say that the human capital development and management (HCDM) solutions provider company saba, announced that it will support the Java Specification Request 168 (JSR 168) portlet standard (also called portlet 1.0) in its next-generation platform offering integrated performance and learning solutions for large-scale, enterprise-wide deployments.

Please check the complete news release here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Choosing Enterprise Portal Technology

If you are in dilemma of choosing appropriate enterprise portal technology, here is a report that can help you a little in choosing enterprise portal technology. The article examines what's available and what organizations should look for when choosing an EP platform. The article is on silicon.com -

Choosing Enterprise Portal Technology

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

My experience with Portals

I was recently selected by ITToolBox.com for authoring their blog on Portal and Portlet technology. They have invited me to write my day-to-day experience on this technology. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you should bookmark my new blog too.

URL: http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/km/portals/
XML Feed: http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/km/portals/index.rdf

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Add my RSS feed to your "My Yahoo!"

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Portal White Papers and Comparisons

Here you will find few more resources related to java portals (Oh no, not again). But wait, what I found interesting is links to all java based open-source portals' website and portal products evaluation reports. I have seen a lot of people searching for portal comparisons and portal white papers.

http://www.byelatech.com/resources/portal_resources.asp

Thursday, February 12, 2004

WebSphere Portal Articles Collection

If you are WebSphere Portal developer and looking for all articles from IBM at one place, this resource is for you. You can say what's great in that, I can use google or IBM website itself. Yes, you are right, I also didn't find it much useful for my development purpose. One thing that can be useful for you is a little introduction of each article. Articles are categorized into difference categories like "Portlets Environment," "Portlets Configuration," "Core Portlet Objects" etc.

Here is the link again.

WebSphere Portal Articles Collection

If you are WebSphere Portal developer and looking for all articles from IBM at one place, this resource is for you. You can say what's great in that, I can use google or IBM website itself. Yes, you are right, I also didn't find it much useful for my development purpose. One thing that can be useful for you is a little introduction of each article. Articles are categorized into difference categories like "Portlets Environment," "Portlets Configuration," "Core Portlet Objects" etc.

Here is the link again.

Friday, February 06, 2004

WebSphere Portal -- Technology Previews

IBM has made JSR 168 and WRSP technology preview available for it's WebSphere Portal Server. Please check the link -

http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/websphere/downloads/techpreviews.html#sec21

JSR 168 technology preview looks nothing but 'version 2.0' of Stephen Hepper's article written few days back. I have still not gone trough WSRP preview, so I can not comment anything on that. Anyway, it seems useful for JSR 168 developers who want to migrate to WebSphere Portal (I know there are not many) as well as IBM WebSphere Portal developers who want to understand JSR 168 specifications and API.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Vignette Announced JSR 168-Compliant Portal

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 4, 2004--Continuing to deliver on its mission to drive enhanced business efficiency, Vignette Corp. (Nasdaq:VIGN) today announced initial availability of Vignette(R) Application Portal 7.0, part of the Vignette(R) V7 family of products. Vignette Application Portal 7.0 has been certified by Vignette on the Sun Microsystem's Test and Compatibility Kit (TCK) for compliance with the recently adopted JSR 168 portlet interoperability standard. With this move, Vignette believes that it has become the first independent software vendor to announce a self-certified JSR 168 portal.

Vignette First to Announce Self-Certified JSR 168-Compliant Portal; Vignette Application Portal 7.0 Also Supports Comprehensive Localization and Standards for Universal Access

Vignette's JSR168-Ready Portal

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Web standards make portlets portable

Two new specifications - Web Services for Remote Portals (WSRP) and Java Specification Request (JSR) 168 - promise to jump-start enterprise portal development.

Read complete story.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Portlet and Related News

Some news that might interest you -

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Ease Communication Between Portals and Back-End Systems

I found this article on "Web Services Journal" titled "Ease Communication Between Portals and Back-End Systems." I am still trying to figure out who are the intended readers and what exactly has the author written about. Anyway, please let me know in case you are able to figure it out.

Ease Communication Between Portals and Back-End Systems

Free Portlets

You are looking for some source of free portlets? I assure you that you are not going to get many. What's  more, if you got some, you probably would not be able to deploy on your server. Most of the portal servers are not compatible to each other. You can not deploy IBM WebSphere portlets to Oracle Portal Server and so on. Most of the portal server and not fully compatible with JSR 168, the interoperability standard for portlets.  Yes, You will think yourself lucky reaching to POST (Portlet Open Source Trading Site) website. But alas, you will not find many of portlets there. Anyway you can start with few portlets there and soon we hope to see more portlets.

Here is a list of Portlet Catalog for your server. 

POST (Portlet Open Source Trading Site) - JSR 168 http://portlet-opensrc.sourceforge.net/
IBM WebSphere Portal Catalog http://www-306.ibm.com/software/genservers/portal/portlet/catalog/
Oracle Portal Catalog http://portalcatalog.oracle.com/
BEA Weblogic Portal Catalog http://dev2dev.bea.com/products/wlportal/psc/index.jsp
Jetspeed Portal Catalog http://jakarta.apache.org/jetspeed/site/catalog.html


Ofcourse you can find some more portlets on open source portal products like eXo and Liferay etc.. But the process is a tedious one. At present there seems no option other then to check your portal vendor.

The list is not any way complete. But I didn't get sufficient time to research on it. Please let me know about the missing resources. I'll include those in the list.  

UPDATE Nov. 27, 2004: We have setup a free portlet repository from where many portlets can be downloaded. You can also upload your portlets there.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

The New Enterprise Portal

According to a recent Jupiter Research report, 80 percent of companies surveyed has already deployed portals or planned to deploy them in the near future. Yet portal rollouts have been harder than the "simple, out-of-the-box dream that portals seemed to sell in the late '90s," says Nate Root, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.

Read more ....

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Wily Technology Unveils Wily Portal Manager

Wily Technology has announced Wily Portal Manager 4.0 for IBM WebSphere Portal 5.0, a portal management solution which supports IBM WebSphere Portal customers. Portal Manager features real-time monitoring of portal activity, visibility, and offers dashboards summarizing the health of the portal.

For more information on Wily Portal Manager, please go to:
http://www.wilytech.com/solutions/products/PortalManager.html

Portal Framework and Wiki

1. JSR 168 Wiki - You will find here lots of JSR 168 and portlet related resources. Other than JSR 168, you will also find resources related to portlet, portal and wsrp etc. As it is a wiki, you can add your own resources which you find missing.

2. This second one is titled "Portals & Portal Frameworks." You will find information on not only java portal and java portlet but also competing technologies like ASP dot net. This page is dedicated to an open source portal project called uPortal. Due to that, you will find some information a little biased towards uPortal. Anyhow, you will find it useful.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Portal Software Market Share

Today I was looking for the market share of different portal vendors. I found few papers on net. What I concluded is 'Jupiter Research' study is worth to rely-upon. Although the study is now around a year old that means the equation would have changed now. But as I was not able to find any other resource, I had no other options. I hope to see more similar studies in future.

According to Jupiter's data, which shows Oracle in the top spot, with its software accounting for 26% of product deployments. PeopleSoft Inc. holds the number two spot, at 19%, followed by SAP AG with 17% and IBM's WebSphere, at 15%.

We know that picture is worth 1000 words, so here it is –



The study has given 9 % share to others. It is not clear which are the portal products in this category. I guess it would be covered mostly by open source software.

You can get the details from IDG News Service.

Friday, January 16, 2004

More on Portlet Modeling

On Tuesday, I had written about portlet modeling article by "Anthony (Joey) Bernal." Hope that would have proved useful for portlet architects and designers. But I forgot to mention that there is another article in that series especially written for modeling portlet services. Click here to go to the article.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

BEA Weblogic Portal 8.1

I found this article on javalobby ezine. The author seems to claim high pertaining to Weblogic Portal 8.1. He says that most important part of it is Weblogic Workshop.

Weblogic Workshop is and IDE for Portal development integrated with Webloig Portal. Oh, you said, another IDE?????? Author claims that there are lots of features that can be useful for normal portlet developer. The most important thing is the breeze and easy to use environment especially suitable to Microsoft developers.

For example the developer can just do some changes, click on Launch, and everything happens transparently behind the scenes, code is compiled, descriptors generated (they have a xdoclet-kind of tool builtin), server is started if need be or application is deployed, etc… and the browser pops up with whatever the developer wanted to see. ..... check complete story.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Modeling Portlet

So you decided to dig into the portals. You understand APIs and you have product description with you. You have also solved the 'the case of portlet' problem. You have visited this blog :-) and now understand basics of portal very well.

But what about design. How to bring design of portal and portlet on paper. You want some guidelines on modeling portlet. But you find nothing about that on this blog. No, No, No My dear, Mr. Anthony (Joey) Bernal has solved this problem –


Modeling WebSphere Portal Portlets with UML: Part 1



Modeling WebSphere Portal Portlets with UML -- Part 2


Thanks to "Anthony (Joey) Bernal" for writing this article.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Java Portlets (JSR 168 )

Here is another link on JSR 168 - Java Portlets. In this presentation you will find the basic idea of portlet, portlet architecture and code of a small portlet. Last portion of the presentation is dedicated to 'Sun One Portal Server' and 'Sun Java Studio Portlet Builder.' Click here to get the presentation.

Thanks to Sang Shin for creating this excellent presentation and Benjamin for referring me this link.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

JSR 168 Portlet API Presentation

It is a good powerpoint presentation on JSR 168 portlet. Portlet newbies and students will find it useful.

JSR 168 portlet

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Congratulations for the Century

Hello Friends,

As you might be guessing but I am not talking about Sachin's Century at Sydney this time. I am talking about portlet discussion group's century.

Congratulations to all my blog readers and portlet discussion group members. The portlet discussion group has just crossed the hundred members mark. We have seen some very good discussions in this group and hope to see some more meticulous discussions. It would be the biggest vendor independent discussion group on this topic.

At this juncture, I wanted to thank my company, Yash Technologies, to motivate me to work on this portlet blog and discussion group. I also want to thank my friends who are the real source of my knowledge on this subject (I know that is very little, but I am trying to improve :-)).

Regards,

Punit Pandey

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Portal Battleground

Indians are busy watching possible astonishing victory over Australia in cricket test match. Everyone, so am I, was involved so madly in that, I didn’t get the time to write about another interesting battle going-on in the portal world.

Are you getting what I am talking about? No. uhhhh. I am talking about the discussion going on the topic of Portal framework. People from eXo platform are claiming that there is nothing new in the proposed service framework for Jetspeed. Most of the design ideas are taken from eXo itself. It is a quite interesting remark. But it is very difficult to find out who is right and who is wrong. This claims and disclaims will go on for few more days.

I have not gone through the code so I cannot comment much on it. But one thing I can say is whenever one should take ideas/ codes from another Open Source Project, he should explicitly mention about it. Please let me know your opinion.

If you are interested in going through the discussion, you can check “Service Framework Proposal” thread on Jetspeed developer list.

Portlet Client-Side Scripting Tips

I always emphasize heavily on integrating client-side scripting with Portlets. But believe me, JavaScripting always creates a lot of trouble, especially if you don't keep some guidelines in mind. I have already published these guidelines and re-publishing it keeping Client Side scripting in mind.


  • Use portlet style classes instead of specific style-oriented attributes.
  • URIs, HTML element name attributes, and JavaScript resources must be namespace encoded.