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Preview: Punit Pandey's Weblog on Portlets, WSRP, OOA/D and J2EE

Punit Pandey's Weblog on Portlets, WSRP, OOA/D and J2EE



Nowadays, I am working on Portlets, WSRP, OOA/D, AOP, Design Patterns, Software Methodologies, J2EE and More. I will try to post related information on this blog.



Last Build Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2011 06:28:45 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2011
 



2012 Horoscope - 2012 Astrology

Fri, 2 Dec 2011 06:28:45 -0500

Year 2012 is round the corner and everybody is curious to know about the next year 2012? Will world end in year 2012? How will be your year 2012? Get answers by learned astrologers from AstroSage.com - 2012 Horoscope 2012 Astrology



Is Ruby/ RoR, Java Competitor?

Mon, 29 Jan 2007 00:01:48 -0500

Ruby combined with RoR is now-a-days getting a lot of advertising. It makes us think whether Ruby is the next Java? If we go back and see, Java was not popular because of the language itself. In fact, C++/ Smalltalk had everything what Java had when it become successful. It is the platform independence and simplicity NOT the language features and framework that made it successful. So, in my opinion, language doesn't make much difference whether it is Java, C++ or Ruby. I believe Ruby/ RoR is competitor for PHP and not for Java. We may see the Ruby is picking up in the scripting language segment, but I seriously doubt that it will get the share in enterprise application segment.

Do you agree with my views or you think the other way? What is your opinion?




Lotusphere Annoucement: WebSphere Portal Express 6.0

Sat, 27 Jan 2007 13:15:51 -0500

In the past, IBM discontinued the Express edition of portal. Today IBM has again come up with Express flavor with new attires. This time it is going to be an integrated portal and collaboration platform for SMBs. Other than all regular feature of portal, I believe that it will also have some out-of-box intranet features, so that SMBs can build and deploy their intranet easily. It also has some pre-built sample websites to pick and customize. You can check press release here.

Even though I am at Lotusphere, I missed the annoucement. I'll check more details today and post it here.

Other than WebSphere Portal Express 6.0, IBM also announced following products in Lotusphere conference -

Lotus Connections, Press Release
Lotus Notes and Domino 8
Lotus Quickr
Lotus Sametime 7.5.1
IBM Websphere Portal Express Version 6.0
Lotus Component Designer
Lotus ActiveInsight
Lotus Workforce Management

A brief of these annoucements can be found here.

I am at Sun Microsystems's booth showcasing our SyncEx Collaboration Suite on Sun Platform. I would glad to entertain everybody who is interested in these products.




AJAX with JSR 168 Portlets

Tue, 26 Sep 2006 15:59:15 -0400

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




Another Collaborative Portal - Oracle WorkPlace

Mon, 21 Aug 2006 07:03:28 -0400

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.




What is new in WebSphere Portal Version 6

Thu, 3 Aug 2006 03:24:46 -0400

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?




Web Clipper Portlets

Wed, 28 Jun 2006 03:48:05 -0400

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




Easy-to-use portal?

Wed, 21 Jun 2006 14:26:49 -0400

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.




JSR 286 (Portlet Specification V 2.0) Preview

Mon, 12 Jun 2006 04:45:32 -0400

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.




Meet me at JavaOne

Wed, 17 May 2006 02:57:26 -0400

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.




IBM WebSphere Portal 6.0 Announced

Thu, 27 Apr 2006 05:11:56 -0400

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.




Where Am I?

Mon, 20 Mar 2006 05:42:20 -0500

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 -
(image)

SyncEx Collaboration Portlets

(image)

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.




Oracle Portal Discussion Forum Portlet Vulnerabilities Detected

Mon, 26 Dec 2005 12:51:22 -0500

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.




This time it is Bowstreet, Inc.

Wed, 21 Dec 2005 10:56:22 -0500

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.




Apache Jetspeed 2.0 Released

Wed, 21 Dec 2005 06:36:12 -0500

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




JSR 286 Portlet 2.0 On It's Way

Sat, 17 Dec 2005 01:38:28 -0500

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.




Say Goodbye to Portal Servers?

Tue, 22 Nov 2005 12:19:57 -0500

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 –

(image)

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?




Collaboration Portlets for Microsoft Exchange

Wed, 26 Oct 2005 07:47:59 -0400

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 - Seamlessly integrate Microsoft Exchange with any enterprise portal. SCHAUMBURG, IL October 11, 2005 -- In response to increased customer demand for fully functional out-of-the-box portlets for groupware integration and collaboration, Yash Technologies, a leading provider of enterprise portals solutions, announced today release of SyncEx Portlets for use by enterprise customers worldwide. The new offering gives Portals customers the ability to integrate Microsoft Exchange emails, appointments, contacts, tasks into their portals quickly and easily. All SyncEx Portlets are JSR 168 compliant, hence can be used with nearly all major portal servers. JSR 168 is a standard, adhered by all major portal vendors now, that allows portlets developed for one portal server to be used by other portal servers without any change in code. Groupware and collaboration systems such as Microsoft Outlook/Exchange are standard applications for many businesses worldwide. These systems contain years of mission critical information about employees, customers, and suppliers etc. However, many of today?s customer and employee facing portals are independently run with no interface to business critical applications such as email, contacts, calendar etc. In order to provide greater integration and a unified window for the key stakeholders, it is imperative that the information is incorporated into company portals. Unlike many portal offerings for groupware integration, the SyncEx Portlets go beyond providing minimal data and a hyperlink that launches Microsoft's Outlook Web Access or Lotus' web client. The SyncEx Portlets provide real-time integration and enablement of Microsoft Exchange features from inside the portal. In addition, the SyncEx Portlets ship with a fully customizable API for enabling additional integration specific to business requirements. 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. The SyncEx Portlets are JSR 168 Compliant and offer customers the following business benefits: Promote portal application adoption with familiar information that is used daily by all employees across the organization Meet specific business needs with flexible portlets that can be customized Improve productivity, communication and collaboration within the organization Increase return-on-asset with reduced vendor lock-in risks Deliver new services at low cost. "Companies are looking for ways to integrate information and applications to their portals as quickly and painlessly as possible," said Manoj Baheti, CEO of Yash Technologies. ?The SyncEx Portlets do just that. We are helping our customers see a faster return on their portal investment because portal stakeholders are able to leverage data in the portal quickly and seamlessly on a daily basis." For more information on the SyncEx Portlets and free evaluation software, visit http://www.SyncEx.com/. For a live demonstration or pricing information, please contact SyncEx at 847-903-2564 or sales@SyncEx.com. About Yash Technologies: YASH Technologies, Inc. is a leading IT company, providing enterprise solutions and services for Fortune Global 500 customers around the world. Our mission [...]



Oracle Releases Portlet Factory

Fri, 30 Sep 2005 01:59:31 -0400

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




Google Blog Search Unveiled

Fri, 16 Sep 2005 07:20:56 -0400

After a long wait, search engine champion finally came up with its own search engine for weblogs (Technorati, are you ready?) -
Google Blog Search




Difference between JSR 168 & IBM Portlet API

Wed, 7 Sep 2005 09:51:08 -0400

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).




Worksite and SharePoint Marriage

Sat, 27 Aug 2005 02:34:14 -0400

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




BEA to Acquire Plumtree Software

Wed, 24 Aug 2005 15:24:29 -0400

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.




Open Source Portal Server Selection

Wed, 20 Jul 2005 18:20:13 -0400

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 -

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 ?




Interview Questions, Web Services, Why Portlets and More

Mon, 18 Jul 2005 02:00:10 -0400

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.




WILY PORTAL MANAGER 5.3.2 RELEASED

Sat, 28 May 2005 15:17:50 -0400

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.




RAD Tools Are Back In News

Wed, 25 May 2005 05:44:02 -0400

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.




WSRP .NET Framework Latest Version Released

Wed, 4 May 2005 02:46:28 -0400

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.




Vignette releases VAP 7.2

Thu, 14 Apr 2005 11:36:08 -0400

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.



To hell with the Weblogic Workshop

Tue, 5 Apr 2005 02:43:42 -0400

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.




Today's Portals Inadequate for Web Services?

Wed, 16 Mar 2005 02:02:55 -0500

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 Agreed 2. Provide advanced capabilities for user interaction Again, agreed. 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. [...]



Portal Popularity Ranking - February 2005

Thu, 24 Feb 2005 03:58:30 -0500

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 -

(image)

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.




eXo Platform SARL Releases First Commercial Product

Tue, 15 Feb 2005 00:56:46 -0500

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 here.




Portal Software: Passing Fad or Real Value?

Fri, 28 Jan 2005 01:53:25 -0500

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.




Collaboration Technologies and Portals

Tue, 11 Jan 2005 11:00:46 -0500

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.




Collaboration Technologies in 2004

Thu, 30 Dec 2004 08:57:29 -0500

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

Tue, 28 Dec 2004 13:00:50 -0500

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 mere 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.




Oracle Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

Thu, 9 Dec 2004 08:34:28 -0500

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)




Free Portlet Repository

Sat, 27 Nov 2004 08:34:53 -0500

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.




Portlet Samples with Source Code

Wed, 24 Nov 2004 14:38:37 -0500

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 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.




Creating a map portlet for Oracle Portal

Mon, 22 Nov 2004 13:26:48 -0500

While surfing, found following article -

Creating a map portlet for Oracle Portal

Note: This article is useful mostly for oracle developers. The authors has used proprietary oracle APIs and Oracle Discoverer for Business Intelligence for it. If you are interested in JSR 168, it may not be much useful to you. Though the same codes, as always, can be used inside any portal server using web clippers, you can use this code in conjunction with other portal servers.

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 a welcome modification. The revised post can be found at -

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




Start Learning Portlets

Fri, 19 Nov 2004 14:16:41 -0500

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 -

1. Understanding the Java Portlet Specification

2. Developing to the Java Portlet Specification

3. Introducing the Portlet Specification, Part 1

4. 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.




Most Popular Enterprise Portal Revisited

Thu, 11 Nov 2004 03:06:43 -0500

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 - My group and blogs may have audiences that may not be representing the real portal world. 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 - Open Source Portal Servers are in more use than the Commercial Portal Servers. eXo is the most popular portal server & Liferay is closely behind. In commercial portals, IBM has the lead on BEA. Other commercial portals are far behind. People are looking more towards open source solutions. Standardization (JSR 168, WSRP, JCR) is one major popularity criteria. It may be the reason for eXo advantage. Integration with other products is not a primary criterion for portal popularity. Even the major portal features like content management and collaboration is down the wish list. Development tool (again eXo has advantage) is another important popularity criteria for portals, at least among open source portals. Portlets are not available in MS Sharepoint portal servers so it is not fare to measure it in a portlet community poll. Plumtree and Vignette popularity is declining, if we compare it with previous research reports. OR 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 - GridSphere Jahia PeopleSoft SunOne Novell Extend Director It is [...]



Portlet Framework

Sat, 30 Oct 2004 04:49:16 -0400

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. 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 a detailed portlets, in my opinion, we should go for some proper framework like JSF, Spring or Struts. Have a look on the article.




Most Popular Portal Server?

Wed, 27 Oct 2004 09:29:52 -0400

Which is the most popular portal server in the market? 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.




WebSphere Portal 5.1

Wed, 27 Oct 2004 05:31:59 -0400

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.




Enterprise Portal Content Management

Tue, 19 Oct 2004 02:29:20 -0400

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.




CA to buy Netegrity for $430 m

Fri, 8 Oct 2004 03:31:18 -0400

Its biggest acquisition since 2000, marking its return to inorganic growth mode, after shelving acquisition plans due to government probes in its accounting practices.

Computer Associates International Inc. will buy Netegrity Inc. for about $430 million, adding a key Web security product as it expands in the fast-growing security software sector, the company informed.

Check complete story here.




WSRP FAQ

Sat, 2 Oct 2004 14:17:43 -0400

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 - Web Services for Remote Portlets Specification FAQ (DOC) WSRP Primer (PDF) 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? [...]



Porting Struts Application to eXo Portal

Fri, 1 Oct 2004 03:28:03 -0400

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.