Saturday, December 24, 2005

Oracle Portal Discussion Forum Portlet Vulnerabilities Detected

Recently multiple remote vulnerabilities/ exploits has been reported in Oracle Portal's Discussion Forum Portlet. I am not very sure about the severity of the exploit, but it is always good to play safe. Please check the test page for details.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This time it is Bowstreet, Inc.

Portal market consolidation process is still going on. Acquisitions are becoming daily news in portal arena. Seeing the heavily distributed market, big vendors are fighting hard to gain more and more market. This time it is the turn of Bowstreet. So the news is - IBM acquired Bowstreet, Inc. to consolidate itself in portal and collaboration space. Bowstreet's portlet factory was the leading tool for portal based application integration. Application integration is a major challenge in portal implementation. IBM's acquisition of Bowstreet will help IBM in integrating WebSphere Portal with backend applications like PeopleSoft, SAP, and Databases etc. Bowsteet Portlet Factory's collaborative features will also support IBM WorkPlace, which is IBM's visualization of collaborative portal.

I am personally not much impressed by Bowsteet Portlet Factory product. It is complex in terms of development, installation, configuration and maintenance (in other words everything). It is the main feature ;-) that makes it perfectly fit into the IBM's kitty. IBM is follower of the philosophy which says – create complex products which are hard to install, configure and maintain and then sell your services on top of it. Which can be the better company than IBM to acquire Bowstreet? Bowstreet had also licensed its portlet factory to various vendors including big vendors like Oracle. It would be interesting to see what will be the impact of this acquisition on such vendors. What is your opinion?

Check the press release and let me know your opinion.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sun Announces Java Enterprise System 7.0

Sun Announces Bold New Enhancements to Java Enterprise System and Java System Suites With Breakthrough New Portal Server for Building Web 2.0 Applications and Communities

Check complete story here.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Apache Jetspeed 2.0 Released

Apache recently announced much awaited Jetspeed 2.0. Among other new features, in my opinion, the best feature is the native support for JSR 168 (and no marks ;-) for guessing it). Due to lack of JSR 168 support it fell in few of my evaluations. I hope that open source portals like Liferay and eXo got tougher competitor this time. Though I believe that much more efforts are required on Apache's front to catch leading open source portals.

Apache Announces Jetspeed 2.0 Open Source Enterprise Portal

Friday, December 09, 2005

TIBCO Announces JSR 168 Compliant Portal

TIBCO Software Inc. announces the release of Tibco PortalBuilder 5. Other than JSR 168, it also supports WSRP, another key standards for enterprise portals. Seeing TIBCO's strengh's of enterprise application integration, it is going to a good addition in portal server market.

Please check the complete story here.

Friday, December 02, 2005

JSR 286 Portlet 2.0 Submitted for Review

IBM has submitted JSR 286 - Portlet Specification 2.0 to the JCP for an initial review. "This JSR requests the creation of the next version of the Portlet Specification. The main goal of this version is to align the Java Portlet Specification with J2EE 1.4, other JSRs relevant for portlet programming, like JSR 188, the next version of Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP)"

Portlets community was a bit worried for the next version of JSR 168 specification. I am sure that everybody will be happy reading this.

More details can be found here.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Say Goodbye to Portal Servers?

Got a change to go through Forrester’s article "Say Goodbye To Portal Servers." Here is the summary of report -


Vendors like Plumtree Software and Epicentric created the portal server market in the late 1990s by offering servers with technical features that just didn't exist within firms' existing IT infrastructure. Now those features — like UI abstraction, integration, workflow, and delegated administration — have been co-opted, improved, and embedded in general-purpose infrastructure platforms from vendors like IBM, BEA Systems, Oracle, and Microsoft. The standalone portal server market is gone, absorbed into infrastructure vendors' app server platforms and emerging interaction platforms.
Conclusion looks OK that infrastructure vendors are adding portal features like UI abstraction, integration and workflow in their suite. But I don't think that pure play portals are out. The major missing point in this report is the exclusion of open source portals which are pureplay portals. As always, Forrester guys forgot to include Open Source portals and hence the final conclusion they have drawn it not IMHO a valid one. I personally want to classify open source portals like Liferay and eXo as Pure Play portals than infrastructure portal. Though the pure play portals like Plumtree and Epicentric are out, but Open Source portals continue to have its market share. A survey in my portlets community suggests that Pure Play portals are still having more market share than the infrastructure vendors (again note that I am counting Open Source Portals as pure play portals). Keeping IBM, BEA, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft & Plumtree (as it is acquired by BEA) votes in Infrastructure category and eXo, Liferay, Jetspeed, uPortal and Vignette votes in Pure Play category here is the picture –


In my opinion, Pure Play portals are not out, rather it is next generation of pure play portals that is ready to take over.

Do you think that counting open source portals in pure-play category is correct?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Review Liferay Enterprise Portal

I always tried to provide information helpful for portal selection. Here is another useful article in that chain -

Liferay Review

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lack of good portlets

Announcing our SyncEx Collaboration Portlets, I quoted that market really lacks useful JSR 168 compliant portlets. Joseph Ottinger wants to verify it on theserverside.com. Post your opinion too -

http://www.theserverside.com/news/thread.tss?thread_id=37286

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Collaboration Portlets for MS Exchange Announced

I am proud to announce JSR 168 complaint collaborative portlets for MS Exchange Server on behalf of my company Yash Technologies, Inc. Seeing the dearth of JSR 168 compliant portlets, I hope that our portlets will prove landmark in portal evolution. Here is the press release -

Yash Announces SyncEx Collaboration Suite & API for MS Exchange

Yash Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise portal solutions, announced the release of SyncEx Collaboration Portlets for use by enterprise customers worldwide. The new offering gives Enterprise Portal customers the ability to integrate Microsoft Exchange emails, appointments, contacts, tasks into their portals quickly and easily. The SyncEx Portlets are JSR 168 complaint and can be deployed on any JSR168 portal server. Presently, SyncEx is coming with ready versions that work seamlessly on all popular J2EE portal servers such as IBM WebSphere Portal, BEA Weblogic Portal, eXo Portal and Liferay Enterprise Portal. Yash lab is also testing SyncEx Portlets for SunOne, Vignette, Jetspeed, JBoss, and Oracle Portal Server.

The key benefit to many enterprises would be to minimize the total cost of ownership (TCO) as these portlets would eliminate the need for having an email client software and provide access dynamically through Web Access. In addition, the SyncEx Portlets ship with a fully customizable Collaboration API for enabling additional integration specific to business requirements. With the introduction of this API, developers can build powerful collaborative applications that leverage Microsoft Exchange, with the same ease of use, time-saving, and reduced-cost benefits offered by SyncEx Collaboration Suite.

For more information on the SyncEx Portlets and free evaluation, visit http://www.syncex.com.

###
SyncEx is a trademark of Yash Technologies, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

Tags:
outlook portlets, microsoft exchange portlets, groupware portlets, collaboration portlets, collaborative portlets, team portlets, calendar portlet, task portlet, contact portlet, e-mail portlet, appointment portlet, microsoft exchange connector api.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Stringbeans 3.0 Portal Released

Nabh Systems, an India based company, today announced the release of Stringbeans 3.0. This major release introduces Nabh's Web services platform, and support for Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) standard.

Full feature set can be found at announcement page on our portlet forum.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

JBoss reporting portal

JasperSoft builds JBoss reporting portal

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Stopping Blogger Spam Comments

I was so tired of spam comments that I was thinking of disabling comments features altogether. Thanks god, Blogger's new Captchas feature (Word Verification System) came to rescue me. Once you enable it, automated comments will not be possible. You can also enable it by changing the comments setting. Get more details here -

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/08/19/204126.ph

Friday, September 30, 2005

Next Generation AJAX

I normally avoid writing anything unrelated here (it is not about portlet and portal) but sometimes you can not control yourself. Yes, it is about AJAX. Today, I have seen this application – meebo and really stunned seeing the power of AJAX. We ourselves are using AJAX in quite a few applications now-a-days, but this application seems special. Meebo has used JavaScript, DOM, DHTML, XML & CSS in really innovative ways. Seeing this application, we can say that AJAX has come a long way and will soon start challenging desktop applications. You can do nearly everything in this web application that you can do in desktop application. It is one of the finest examples I have seen of AJAX. You can also try it and let me know your opinion. Mr. Gates, are you scared?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Oracle Portlet Factory Released

First impression while reading the news was - what happened to the portal industry. Don't they have any other name to think? There are already two products named 'Clickmarks Portlet Factory' and 'Bowstreet Portlet Factory' and I am also planning to launch a similar named product. But going into details, I found that Oracle has licensed the technology from Bowstreet only :-) Anyways, seems that portlets are picking up as preferred platform for integration.

Check the News Here

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Web Clipping for Portals goes Mainstream

Lack of good web clippers (aka URL scrappers) in the market obstructs quick portal adoption. Web Clipping is one of the fastest methods for integrating existing applications with the portals. Though nearly all portals come with web clipper tools/ portlets but most of them lack the professional touch. Kapow and Clickmarks are two such companies in the market whose products are quite advanced in comparison to out-of-box web clipping portlets provided with most portals. Yesterday's announcement by Kapow Technology for the release of version 6.0 of "RoboSuite Web Integration platform" will definitely boost this market.

Kapow Press Release

Friday, September 23, 2005

Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portal Products

Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portal Products

Friday, September 16, 2005

Google Introduces Blog Search

After a long wait, search engine champ finally came up with its own search engine for weblogs (Beware Technorati.com) -

Google Blog Search

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Difference between JSR 168 & IBM Portlet API

If you are looking for comparison between two popular portlet API, here are few useful online resources -


In my opinion, white paper is very well written and is the most useful resource. I keep refering this PDF especially whenever I have to code something in IBM Portlet API (a modified version of Apache Jetspeed API).

Friday, August 26, 2005

InterWoven Worksite Integration with MS SharePoint Portal Server 2003

Microsoft & Interwoven recently announced the integration of Interwoven WorkSite with Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Though Microsoft and Interwoven were working together on quite a few other projects, but it is really very interesting news as it will strengthen Microsoft SharePoint Portal with features like Collaborative Document Management whereas it will open altogether new market for Interwoven. It is definitely win-win partnership for both the companies.

Me and my company Yash Technologies Inc., being player in both SharePoint portal as well as WorkSite, will definitely take a special note of it.

Check the press release from Interwoven

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

BEA to Acquire Plumtree

Another day and another acquisition by BEA. The first question that came into my mind is about the future of Plumtree. Whether Plumtree is going to survive or it is the end of it? Different people do have different opinion. You can check few of them at TSS -

BEA to Acquire Portal Vendor Plumtree Software

Here is another opinion -

Another Acquisition

At this stage nobody knows the correct answer but here is my 1 cent. I believe that using Plumtree, BEA wants to enter into the market where there is no IBM ghost. Both IBM and BEA are strong infrastructure portal players, but IBM's aggression was leaving very little for BEA. After acquiring Plumtree Software, BEA will have new market as well as some more breathing time. It will also get hold on technologies like portal integration with dot net, collaboration services and content management services where BEA was not much strong till now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Inter-portlet communication library

Good to see new codes in the open source library. Concept of Inter-portlet communication is nothing new in JSR 168. But having a ready-made API is a great idea. I have not checked it, but the architecture is matching with the one we are using internally. Here is the URL -

Check the library

If you check it, don't forget to let me know your opinion.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Half Object plus Protocol Pattern for Portlets

Switching from one portlet to another results in losing the state of the first portlet. Due to this behavior of portlets, it becomes difficult to use them for rich client applications. Author Marc Domenig suggests half-object + protocol pattern (:-) interesting name) can be useful in such scenarios.

Rich-Client Portlets And Half-Object Protocol Design Pattern

We have never faced such kind of requirements in our projects so I am not sure in what situation it can be useful. But It will be good to see similar support directly in portal servers.

What do you think? Have you faced similar problems in your projects?

Note:
For those who are not aware of "Half Object plus Protocol (HOPP)" design pattern can have an introduction to it at http://jan.netcomp.monash.edu.au/distjava/hopp/lecture.html

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Open Source Portal Server Selection

Jing Xue's Weblog is an interesting blog from portals perspective. He is nowadays evaluating various open source portal servers. He has already evaluated JBoss, Liferay, GridSphere, and Jetspeed. I guess the eXo and Stringbeans are in the process of evaluation. Here is what he has to say for various open source portals -

JBoss Portal & Liferay

GridSphere

Jetspeed

Open Source Portal Servers and GPL

You would have seen few useful posts on the same subject on this blog. These posts in conjunction with Jing Xue’s posts can help you in choosing the right portal. To bring everything on one page, here are the old links –

Which Open Source Portal Server to Choose?

Choosing an open source portal server

Best Open Source Portal Server?

[Update - July 23, 2005]
Another post on the same topic by Apoorv -
http://www.apoorv.info/index.php/2005/07/16/open-source-portals-comparison/

Interview Questions, Web Services, Why Portlets and More

It is hard to get free time. This weekends I decided that I will not even think about my routine work which includes portals and portals and portals. But this idea didn't last long :-). Once I returned back to my laptop, as usual, I started to look around for something new on portals and found some interesting blog posts & websites. I hope these posts will be useful for my readers too so I am posting the links here -

If I am not the interviewer, these questions can help - IBM Portlet Programming - Interview Questions

Web Services are useful for portals. But how? Check this - Teaming Up Portals and Web Services. It is an old article. I don't know how I missed it.

Even I think that AJAX is going to be important for portals. I visualized about a new DOM :-) (check my post on jetspeed mailing list); I guess it is on its way - Microsoft gets hip to AJAX

Understand how to do WSRP in a better way - Best Practices for Implementing WSRP

Still you have the same question "Why portals/ portlets?", please come to me. I have one thousand one answers for this question. This is another's perspective - Why Portlets

Take a REST, man - On Iframes, WSRP, REST and Portals.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Broken Week

Finally I am able to resolve problem with my blog. Last week was the "HTML broken" week (rather fortnight) for me. The right side layer of this blog is a floating layer and somehow one fine day it stopped showing there and moved to the bottom right part of the long web page. As always with HTML/CSS problems, I had no clue of what happened. I deleted most of the last posts and changed the template but nothing was able to solve the problem. The blog was looking good in Firefox but on IE, everything on the right side was taken to down.

On the other had, at my work area I was facing the reverse problem. Some of my portlets were working perfectly fine with IE but not on Mozilla Firefox. This IE/ Firefox issue was killing me. Finally we were able to resolve the problems with our portlets on Firefox with changes here and there. But the problem was still there with my blog. Suddenly the idea struck that probably the last post on the page is creating problem. So I changed the total number of posts on my page from 30 to 25 and after that change suddenly everything was as previous, the life was back to pleasant and finally I was in position to post again on this blog. So soon you will see me back in action.

It doesn’t mean that I was not doing anything for community during that period. I have something very interesting and soon I’ll inform you. Till then - bye.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Public WSRP Producers WSDL URL

Somebody asked me about publicly available WSRP producers for testing his consumer porlets. If you are also looking for some publicly available WSRP producer to check your consumer, here is everything that you want -

BEA

http://wsrp.bea.com:7001/producer/producer?WSDL

Citrix

http://andrek.dyndns.org/WSRP%20Portlets/services/andrek.wsdl

IBM

http://wsrp.dyndns.org:9081/wps/wsdl

Oracle

http://portalstandards.oracle.com/wsrp/jaxrpc?WSDL

Sun

http://sunwsrp.dyndns.org/portal/wsrp/wsdl/default

Vignette

http://wsrpdemo.vignette.com:8080/producer/wsdl

WSRP4J

http://wsrp.dyndns.org:8080/wsrp/wsdl/wsrp_service.wsdl

Note: You can get more WSRP related information from our WSRP Discussion Forum or WSRP Community.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Lotus Domino and Apache Tomcat - Single Sign On (SSO)

Found a good article on integrating Lotus Domino and Apache Tomcat for achieving Single SignOn (SSO) -
Domino and Tomcat SSO
The methodology is using LTPA (Lightweight Third-Party Authentication) Token for authentication. LTPA token is IBM's proprietary methodology and hence can be used to integrate IBM products e.g. Lotus Domino only.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

WILY PORTAL MANAGER 5.3.2 RELEASED

Wily Technology today announced general availability of Wily Portal Manager 5.3.2 for IBM WebSphere Portal, supporting IBM WebSphere Portal versions 5.1 or 5.0.2x.

Check the press release here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

RAD Tools Are Back In News

Google has given me two news today and both of them were related to Portal RAD tools only. The first news was related to one of the biggest news making product on enterprise portal i.e. Bowstreet Portlets Factory. They have joined Bottomline Technologies, an ERP software company for rapidly creating, customizing, maintaining, and deploying Bottomline applications as portlets.

Another news was joining of Kapow Technologies and Plumtree Software. As I kept mentioning in the past, Bowstreet, Clickmarks and Kapow are kind of companies which can complement portal companies very well. In the world of outsourcing it is better to let companies work on their competencies and portal vendors are started understanding it. I am sure that we will see more such announcements in future.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

WSRP .NET Framework Latest Version Released

I am always a big fan of NetUnity WSRP Toolkit. I am pleased to see that NetUnity Software has announced the latest release of its product. Here is the brief of the release -

NetUnity Software today announced the latest release of its product for developing WSRP compliant portal-based business solutions using the Microsoft .NET Framework™. The latest release adds extensive support for ASP.NET™. With this release of the framework, developers can implement WSRP portlets using any number of ASP.NET pages including support for the form designer, postbacks, view state and event handling. Navigate or redirect between an unlimited number of ASP.NET pages within a portlet or re-use the same page in multiple portlets for extremely rich portlet content and interactions. Other new features include Oracle database support, SOAP tracing, advance session management, improved setup and streamlined deployment.

Check complete press release here.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Integrating iSeries Host Applications into Portals

With TN5250j, it is possible to easily integrate your host applications into your portal with full single sign-on capabilities. Here is how you can do it -

Integrating iSeries Host Applications into Portals

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Vignette Releases Portal 7.2

Vignette today announced the new version of its portal. The most important highlight of this release is the adoption of standards JSR 168 & WSRP. Now Vignette can be used to consume external remote portlets for web services. Following are some of the new features -

-- Enhanced out-of-the-box search capabilities that allow users to query a wide range of internal and external data sources
-- Improved personalization.
-- Improved & tightly integrated content management system.
-- Integration with Vignette(R) Records and Documents through the use of standards-based JSR-168 portlets.

Check press release here.

Monday, April 04, 2005

To hell with the Weblogic Workshop

With the development of JSR 168, we had seen some really beautiful dreams. There will be a world where vendor neutralization will be everywhere. Anyone will be able to take portlets from one portal and will be able to deploy it in another portal. It will be as good as web application porting. And during this beautiful dream, here comes the devil – the spec violation and making so many additions to make interoperability non-interoperable.

Why I am talking about my nightmare here. Isn't I am using the Weblogic workshop for a while now? What happened, have they said 'no' to sponsor some of my project? :-) Though we are using the Weblogic workshop for portlet development for quite a while, but I was not directly involved in the development. I mostly use IBM WSAD or Eclipse for JSR 168 portlet development. The real reason behind this sudden agony is that I had to deploy the portlet developed using Weblogic workshop into the WebSphere portal. First and the most interesting one - Workshop uses Weblogic specific ".portal" and ".portlet" files for storing configuration. It keeps hell lot of files related to skins and skeleton and the framework. It uses Struts and EJB automatically in the portal - use it or not use it. The web.xml will be of over 100 lines. And especially you will not find any option for exporting to the web archive (".war") format. What a pity!!!!

It taken my more than one hour to convert a medium size portlet and to make that workable in WebSphere Portal and remove all unnecessary files. The problem with Weblogic portal is its design. In Weblogic Workshop, you are never developing portlet, rather you always develop portal and it is the reason of having hundreds of unnecessary files. (Worshop has one benefit too of this approach i.e. you can directly test you portal inside the IDE) Though there is a command line tool to convert Weblogic format portal into web archive ".war" format, but this tool proved nearly useless to me. I would rather have copied the files in the WebSphere Portlet folder structure and debugged there only.

So if you are using Weblogic Workshop for croos-platform portlet deployment, be warned. It can create your life more difficult. Though it provides all those trendy debugging and testing features but it destroys all standard codes. The release of Weblogic 9.0 is round the corner and I hope this problem will be solved with a better design. Till the time use some other product and be happy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Portals Trends Coming True

Today Google informed me the launching of various new portal products. There are two development tools and two products. These are few of the important trends that I thought will be prominent in 2005. It looks coming out to be true. Here are two old posts reminding the same.


And here are the News stories -

This is not all. Every portal vendor is now trying to consolidate on
development tools front. Also not to tell that we will soon see more and more
existing applications being Portalized.

Uhum ... my astrology is working for enterprise portal market too :-)

Monday, March 14, 2005

Today's Portals "Inadequate" for Web Services?

Web Services analysts Zapthink (I must confess that I was not aware about any such research agency before finding this article on Internet) predicts that today's web based portals will prove "wholly inadequate" to meet the needs of emerging standards based, loosely coupled, distributed applications. The solution, Zapthink's research says, will come from "rich clients" that will allow portal users to customize their UIs and even their workflow and application access.

I have not seen the actual research. I have seen an article that can be found at "Integration Developers News." On first glance it sounds impressive to me. In fact, in the past even I thought on the same lines and found that existing browsers are too thin to be the pal of portals. But my conclusion was different from Zapthink's. In my opinion with the time and after emergence of portals, the browser will grow a little richer and will be able to understand portals. Even the DOM will be able to work in conjunction server side technologies. So my conclusion was that the browsers will grow more to catch portals.

But the Zapthink has drawn some different conclusions. They are talking about rich clients other than browsers. It is the same old Microsoft vs. all debate. Microsoft want to push web technologies on client-side to take advantage of it's OS strength i.e. Windows whereas other vendors (read portals vendors) want to push it to the server side where they are strong. Zapthink's research seems nothing but an extension of Microsoft's good-old philosophy. Another point to note is the title i.e. "Today's Portals Inadequate for Web Services." Where are web services in this picture? and what web services has to do with the rich clients? To me the research looks more pushing up Microsoft's philosophy by adding the word web services to it …. new packaging of some old ideas.

They have mentioned following reasons why portals developers need rich clients. I am giving my opinion -

1. Loosely couple presentation from application logic
I agree

2. Provide advanced capabilities for user interaction
Again, I agree. The future applications will be more aware of the features available with the browser 'rich client'.

3. Integrate local and remote sources of data and business logic
Here I disagree. The data and business logic will remain on the server side. I don't see any possibility of integration of data and business logic with rich client using SOA. Rather I see more integration happening at server side using technologies like WSRP. (Probably it is the reason why Microsoft is reluctant to implement WSRP in its products though a part of committee.)

4. Provide greater intelligence and efficiency in distributed computing
Though request/ response it not the best way to communicate, but with advent of little richer browsers, it will become the better communication method. The available of cost effective and high bandwidth will help in retaining the request/ response method of communication.

5. Enable online and offline modes of usage
Forget about offline. Nearly all future applications will be written keeping connectivity in mind. I don't see many offline applications happening in future.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Portal Popularity Ranking - February 2005

Last time when I made the similar post, we had around 200 votes on the portal poll. Since then, the total number of votes has doubled and we have slightly new equations. Seeing the change, I decided to post it again with the revised tally. Here is the latest tally -



Note: Others contain Oracle, Plumtree, Vignette, SAP NetWeaver and MS Sharepoint portals with 5, 4, 5, 1 & 1 percent votes respectively.

Here are some quick facts & observations -

  • The total votes were 419 on the day of counting.
  • eXo portal is still leading but with lesser margin this time.
  • It seems that eXo, Liferay and IBM WebSphere Portal are approx. equally popular (at least among the forum members)
  • Another poll in the community shows that around 60% members use open source portals.
  • Open Source portal servers are more popular than their commercial counterparts.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Portal Community: Request for Ideas

Hello Friends,

The time I started weblogs and forums, I had not idea what it can mean to me. Seeing the dearth of resources, it was just to share my knowledge and to learn from others. JSR 168 and WSRP were the new standards and even the basic tutorials, books, reference materials etc. were missing completely. But since then the scene has changed a little, if not a lot. The books have been written, the support of JSR 168 and WSRP has been added in products, and articles have been written.

Another surprise for me is the amazing growth of the community (see the side navigation for links) I started that time. For example the community I set up (blogs & groups) has grown to around 5000 members. On Internet and pertaining to a new technology, these are big numbers. Recently we conducted a survey and received around 400 votes. It helped us answering the one most important question pertaining to enterprise portals i.e. "Which is the most used portal server?" The portlet discussion group alone has grown to 2100 members. Thousands of people are reading and discussing on this community.

So now I started taking this community seriously. I have big plans for it and soon I'll share with you. Meanwhile, if you have some ideas how to best utilize this community, I would glad to listen from you. I can be directly contacted at pandeypunit at yahoo dot com.

I am heartily thankful to the love and the support received from you.

Thanks & Regards,

Punit Pandey

Monday, February 14, 2005

eXo Platform SARL Releases First Commercial Product

eXo Platform SARL (http://www.exoplatform.com/), a privately-held company leading the development and services of the open-source enterprise portal eXo Platform, today announced the availability of the first commercial release of the portal -- giving users a customized single point of access to information systems and resources.

Check the press release

Thursday, January 27, 2005

News: IBM Launches WSRP Portlet Validation Site

At Lotusphere this week, IBM announced the availability of the IBM Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) Self-Service Validation Site. IBM built the site to help business partners test and ensure that their WSRP services can easily integrate with IBM's WebSphere Portal.

Though Oracle Portal doesn't support WSRP as of now, they have similar validation site called "OracleAS Portal Verification Service" :-). You can validate your remote portlets against OracleAS Portal there.

Check the release story at e-Pro Magazine

Portal Software: Passing Fad or Real Value?

Today I found an article on CMS Watch titled Portal Software: Passing Fad or Real Value?. I guess the author missed the bigger picture. The most of the logics do not sound convincing to me. Here are few of my observations -

Portals should not be evaluated for immediate benefit rather ROI should be calculated over a span of few years. For example author talks about the cost but he forgot the cost of maintaining 100 or 1000 independent applications written for different framework using different security, collaboration and content management architecture. Portals help in attaining that similarity and hence reduce the maintenance cost manifolds.

Also the authors seems evaluating portals from the content management perspective. After all he is writing for CMSWatch. Also he is from content management background. My regular readers can recall I have mentioned the problem of content management in portals few weeks back. But we should remember that portals are not only for content management, rather it is for everything e.g. security, collaboration, content management, personalization etc. We cannot see it from just a particular perspective.

The author's suggestion was to create a simple website on top of the existing intranet and wait for the proper time for portal implementation. My point is quite different here and I keep it uttering every time whenever this discussion comes into the picture. (yes, it is a hot topic for discussion.) The point is the more you delay, the more application you will have to migrate to the portals which has the additional cost. So mind it, it will cost more in future.

Another point is though not many portlets are available in the market, but we have started seeing these portlets. More portlets are available, more out-of-box features you will get from portals. It will help in reducing the cost of total software development in long run.

Again I cannot agree with the author's concern over the high licensing cost for portals. Perhaps the author didn't get the proper time to evaluate open source portals. I suggest him to have a look on Jetspeed, eXo, Liferay or few other open source portals. Here he missed the solid open source portal servers that are available for free or small licensing cost. These open source portals can fulfill most of the enterprise requirements. If the cost is primary concern, my suggestion is to go for open source portals and develop your infrastructure on top of them rather waiting for portals to happen :-). It will reduce the future migration cost.

Janus Boye, the author, has raised so basic question that I afraid I can write a thesis in reply of the article. But I'll try to write more after reading feedback from you.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Collaboration Technologies and Portals

Collaboration has now become a part of enterprise portals. It is hard to imagine portals without collaborative features. Though the collaboration technologies are the essential part of portals, its maturity seems just tip of the iceberg. Easy integration with portals is missing and generic portlets are not available. Here is the status of few leading portals -

IBM WebSphere Portal - The integration is hell lot of time taking and complex, and most of the collaborative portlets are still not native portlets. IBM is one company which is master in making the simple things complicated.

BEA Weblogic Portal - Full integration is not available. You can not use most of the collaborative features using the supplied portlets.

Oracle AS Portal - Available portlets are terrible. You can not even think of using it.

Open Source Portals - I have not heard about any open source portal supporting full range of collaborative features. Also the integration with popular collaborative products like Lotus Domino (Workplace) and MS-Exchange is not easy. Though every open source portal is trying its own way to achieve collaboration, it seems still in infancy.

Will we have to wait till the portal compliant collaboration products? Let us see.

Still not get bored by reading this post, read IBM, Microsoft Chart Collaboration's Course that itched me to write this post.