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.