IBM upgrades WebSphere Portal

IBM is to roll out an updated version of its WebSphere Portal next month, featuring improved content publishing capabilities and...

IBM is to roll out an updated version of its WebSphere Portal next month, featuring improved content publishing capabilities and portlet creation and interoperability. It also offered a preview of its embedded component functionality, scheduled for release next year, designed to deliver on-demand productivity capabilities within the portal.

Version 4.2 of WebSphere Portal will be integrated with IBM Content Manager, providing content publishing capabilities both to and from the master Content Manager repository. The portal will also still provide a local content store.

Version 4.2 will also include Click-to-Action capabilities, which let portlets from different vendors communicate with one another. With Click-to-Action, users can assemble multiple portlets into a process or a navigation path through the portal.

The forthcoming version of WebSphere Portal will add portlet generator capabilities for PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems applications, said Larry Bowden, vice-president of IBM Portals.

The portlet generator tool lets non-technical users easily construct, name, and deliver portlets without coding or IT department intervention.

IBM plans to roll out portlet generation capabilities for other applications over the next few months.

Previewing functionality scheduled to appear in WebSphere Portal Version 5.0 next year, IBM unveiled forthcoming embedded components designed to add basic productivity services to the portal on demand.

The reusable, available as-needed components are an element of IBM's larger computing-on-demand initiative, which aims to deliver the right level of functionality when it is needed.

The first set of the lightweight, browser-based components will deliver basic presentation, word processing, and spreadsheet capabilities available as services within the portal. The feature is not designed to compete against or replace Microsoft Office and other productivity suites aimed at the needs of power users.

"This is not a suite of office functionality. It is an awareness capability in the portal [to] a service in the back," Bowden said. "If you have a process where a spreadsheet needs to be called, wherever you are in a particular process you can have the portal make a call to those services. The portal is a great mechanism to have a bunch of services just sitting in the back waiting to be called by particular applications."

Version 5.0 will also integrate with Microsoft Office so anything created in Office can be viewed and integrated with the productivity components.

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