Portals are Web sites that can be customised to provide access to business applications or content from the Web for employees, customers and partner companies. Sybase has about 200 customers for its portal software, making it a relatively small player in a market, dominated by IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Sun Microsystems.
New features in the Sybase product include Portal Studio, which has wizard-driven tools that are designed to make it easier for developers to create portlets, the reusable content elements that make up a portal.
In cases where integrating applications is not required, developers can build portlets with a few mouse clicks using content from Web sites, internal databases and existing Java Server Pages (JSP) applications, according to Haridas Nair, Sybase director of product management and marketing.
"One of our goals with this product was to get to the point where you can build most portlets without having to write code," he said.
Portal Studio can be installed on a desktop or hosted on a server where it can be accessed through a Web browser. This allows a group of developers to log in to the software and work together simultaneously on a portal project, Nair said.
Another feature, Portal Framework, includes a tool that's intended to make it easy for end users to add their own content from around the Web to a portal. The tool uses technology that Sybase gained through its acquisition of OnePage in April.
The product is priced at $85,000 (£54,555) per processor and includes a copy of Sybase's database and application server products. It is available now, and the company will launch additional editions for application servers from IBM and BEA Systems by the end of the year.
Sybase also introduced two lower-end versions: An Application Edition, priced at $10,000 (£6,417) for up to about 100 users, is for deploying basic applications and does not come with a database. An Information Edition, priced at under $10,000 for use on a single server, is intended to help companies get started with basic portal development. It comes with the open source TomCat application server.
Sybase's customers for the product include government agencies and manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies. It runs on popular flavours of Unix and on Microsoft's Windows NT 2000.