Monday, October 30, 2006

Sun Java Portal Server Startup Resources

Good collection of articles for Sun Java System Portal Server at one place -

Click Here

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

AJAX with JSR 168 Portlets

Greg Ziebold and Marina Sum has written a good article titled Best Practices for Applying AJAX to JSR 168 Portlets. Check it here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Another Collaborative Portal - Oracle WorkPlace

Collaborative Portal technology is becoming so complex and completive that even the mammoth vendors like IBM and Oracle are finding it difficult to keep-up with it. Nearly all vendors have to have separate products for general portal (aka integration portal) and collaborative portal, probably in attempt to release products ahead of competitors (I know, not everybody will agree with me). For example, IBM has WebSphere Portal and WorkPlace products whereas BEA has Portal and AquaLogic User Interaction. On the same line, Oracle has also announced the Oracle Workplace and it is going to be different than existing Oracle Portal.

Check the recent news here.

As an advertisement note, most of the times, it is possible to use our products (http://www.SyncEx.com) to achieve the same collaborative and community features in any portal.

Friday, August 18, 2006

JBoss and Liferay Portal Comparison

Liferay and JBoss are among the few popular open source poral servers. Here is another comparison between them by InfoWorld -

JBoss vrs. Liferay

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What's new in WebSphere Portal Version 6

Finally WebSphere Portal Version 6 is available for download from IBM PartnerWorld. If you have not downloaded, go get your copy. Here is a detailed document by IBM team describing new features in IBM WebSphere Portal 6.0 -

What's new in WebSphere Portal Version 6?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Web Clipper Portlet

Web Clipper (also called Screen Scrapper or URL Scrapper) is the fastest way to bring (integrate) existing web application into portal. Nearly all commercial portals come with some kind of out-of-box Web Clipping portlets. Though, those web clipping solutions are not powerful enough and cannot always meet enterprise requirements. That is the reason, we can see various third party solutions in the market. Red Oak solution is the latest addition to the list of Web Clipper Portlet vendors -

Check Red Oak Press Release

Other than Red Oak, few other products also support enterprise level web clipping portlets. Here are two popular products -

1. Clickmarks Portlet Factory
2. Kapow RoboSuite

There is also one open source solution named PortletBridge which looks quite powerful. PortletBridge has been presently tested with following portals -

  • Pluto 1.0.1
  • JBoss Portal 2.2
  • JBoss Portal 2.0
  • LifeRay Professional 3.6.0
  • Gridsphere Portal 2.1.1
  • uPortal 2.5.1

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Easy to use portal

I keep getting the question that which (open source) portal should one use. The answer is not simple and depends upon the requirements. Today I got the similar email once again asking which portal is easiest to use.

Here is normally what I suggest to people -

  1. Looking for easy to use portal - Stringbeans, and eXo
  2. Looking for lots of out-of-box portlets - Liferay
  3. Looking for portal with extendible architecture and standard support - eXo
  4. Looking for good JSR 168 compliant portlet container - eXo, and JBoss

Though I believe that all the oepn source portals needs to improve on documentation front to make them really easy to use.

Update (June 30th, 2006): I received lots of feedback on this post. Based on that I want to make one clarification. In concluding above, I kept developer's point of view in mind and not end-user's. For example when I am saying "easy to use", it means easy to use for developers i.e. easy to deploy portlets, easy to adminster and easy to develop portlets etc.

Monday, June 12, 2006

JSR 286 (Portlet Specification V 2.0) Preview

Stefan Hepper, specification lead - jsr 286, presented the a futuristic view of portlet specification 2.0 (jsr 286 ) and its status in 2006 JavaOne Conference. The presentation is available at -

What comes next in the Portlet Specification V 2.0 with JSR 286

To summarize, here are the major working areas for JSR 286 -

  • Coordination (Events support, Sharing session beyond portlet application, Sharing render parameters across portlets)
  • WSRP 2.0 alignment
  • Better support for Web Frameworks (JSF, Struts, Spring, WebWork)
  • AJAX Support

For everybody's information, the committee is nearly done with the first early draft and it will be made available soon.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Content Management Portals

Support for content management in portals is another trend that is catching up very well. ( The other trend that I kept talking about is the collaborative portals.) We have seen quite a few happenings recently in this space. eXo Platform SARL came up with eXo Groupware. Liferay came up with Alfresco portlets and JBoss came up with the tie-up with Alfresco. The intention is same - to get entry into this space. In 2004, I had mentioned that open source portals are not really usable for enterprise level portal implementation based on content management needs.

Now, all of these portals are either supporting or planning to support JCR (JSR 170). eXo has come up with their own implementation for JCR. Whereas JBoss and Liferay are using Apache Jackrabbit for JCR implementation. Alfresco itself claims to be a portal which is making this space more interesting.

I am happy to see that after nearly one and a half year of my post, open source portals started picking up in this space and they are considering it as one of the important feature of portal. Though I think that all open source portals are still a long way to go to be really useable and compete with their commercial counterparts.

On the side note, here is one interesting post on JBoss Portal support for Alfresco.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Meet me at JavaOne

I will be there in 2006 JavaOne conference going-on in San Francisco. We are showcasing our SyncEx Portlets and API. If somebody wants to meet me, I'll be available at booth no. 780. I can also be contacted on the cell +1 309 721 4851 during JavaOne.

If you you need free conference passes, please let me know.

Sun Portal Going Open Source

Recently I came across the news that Sun Portal is going Open Source. Previously they made it free and this time open source. I am not sure but believe that the motive is to get the community contribution and to compete against companies like IBM and BEA. This also shows the general shift in the strategy of big companies that are focusing more on selling the services rather than the licenses.

I am also interested to see how the present open source market changes after it. Presently the open source portal vendors like Liferay, eXo and JBoss are having good market share, at least in terms of the number of installations. It would be good to see the impact of this move on open source portal market.

Anyways, check the blog post by Navneet on the same subject.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Free Portlet Book Download

Stefan Hepper with Peter Fischer, Stephan Hesmer, Richard Jacob and David Sean Taylor has written an excellent book on Portlets and Portal development. Stefan is co-lead of jsr 168 and specification lead for JSR 286 (portlet 2.0). Peter Fischer, Richard Jacob and Stephan Hesmer have led the WSRP team and the implementation of the WSRP specification in IBM's WebSphere Portal v.5.x. David Sean Taylor is the founder of Apache Portals and Jetspeed-2 open source enterprise portal.

The manuscript of this book is available for free download from -
Portlets and Apache Portals

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Liferay and uPortal Comparison

I loved publishing comparison among portals and on this website I found another one. Here is the comparison, this time between Liferay Enterprise Portal and uPortal -
Liferay vs. uPortal

Also here there is a very good comparison among all popular open source portals i.e. Sakai, uPortal, GridSphere, eXo, Liferay, and Stringbeans.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

IBM Workplace Alternate

Analysts had long predicted the emergence of collaborative portals. Most of the leading vendors grabbed their research by both hands. IBM integrated its portal and collaboration software into one product called IBM Workplace. BEA acquired Compoze and Plumtree to achieve the same (though we have yet to see an integrated collaboration product from BEA. Perhaps because BEA lacks a product similar to Lotus Domino in its kitty.)

Rest of the vendors too tried their best to take advantage of collaborative portals and now we can see the collaboration/ team feature in nearly all leading portals. In IBM WebSphere Portal it is called Virtual Portal, in IBM Workplace it is Team Spaces, in Sharepoint Portal it is called SiteArea and in eXo Platform it is called community and so on.

I see only one major difference between the collaborative portal leaders (IBM, Microsoft) and the rest of them (Sun, Oracle, SAP etc.) and that is the availability of good out-of-box collaborative portlets. When we created SyncEx Collaboration Suite (a collection of groupware portlets e.g. e-mail, calendar, tasks, and contacts etc. ) we kept this in the mind. We wanted to create JSR 168 compliant groupware portlets which can work with collaborative / community portals and provide out-of-box groupware feature. We are presently working with major portal vendors to create full-featured out-of-box groupware/ collaborative portals. Hope it will prove alternate to products like IBM Workplace, Microsoft SharePoint, and InterWoven WorkSite MP.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Article on JSR 168

Article on JSR 168 Portlet specification by David DeWolf -

Introduction to the Java Portlet Specification

Friday, April 07, 2006

IBM WebSphere Portal Version 6.0 Announced

After a long time, IBM announced a major release for WebSphere Portal. The new release, version 6.0, has improved in following departments -

1. Workflow (introduced a new workflow builder)
2. Content Management (unveiled IBM Workplace Web Content Management Version 6.0)
3. Electronic Forms (incorporated IBM Workplace Forms), and
4. Alignment with Bowstreet Portlet Factory (Now WebSphere Portlet Factory)

I have yet to check the new release, but seeing the press release not many new features sound interesting. I hope that they would have fixed lots of problems with IWWCM and made it a usable product now. Also I hope that they didn't integrate atrocious Portlet Factory tightly with WebSphere Portal. I would love to see what all other changes are there. For example I would love to see and better AJAX based look and feel.

Check announcement here.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Where Am I?

My regular readers are wondering where I suddenly disappeared. Why I am not posting regularly on any of the blogs and forums. I really feel sorry about it. In fact, I also feel that I am not justifying my involvement with JSR 286. There are multiple reasons for it and the most important is my occupancy with our running portal projects. I was also busy in finishing my Portlets Factory. Anyways, now I hope I am back and able to contribute to all such areas.

You will be wondering what exactly the "portlets factory" is. Portlets Factory is going to have different meaning to different people. But the most common meaning is a place where you can get readymade portlets. In short, I am working towards creating bunch of JSR 168 compliant out-of-box portlets. I always felt strong need of portlets that can be readily utilized with the J2EE portals but not many companies are working towards that. Here are few of the latest portlets we have finished -

1. Collaboration Portlets for Lotus Domino Server
2. Collaboration Portlets for Database
3. New version of Collaboration Portlets for Microsoft Exchange Server
4. Portlets for Issue Tracking, Bug Tracking and Change Management
5. Portlets for Poll and Feedback etc.

These are what we already have ready with us. There are quite a few portlets that are under development and you will soon see more information about them.

Here are few of the screenshots of our latest products -

SyncEx Collaboration Portlets

SyncEx Issue Tracker

Do you also feel a need of a place where you can get free and commercial JSR 168 compliant portlets? If yes and you have such portlets, please let me know at punitp [at] gmail.com. I would love to have it in my portlets factory.