Portal suppliers unveil portlet-sharing site

Plumtree Software, Sun Microsystems, BEA Systems and Documentum have launched the Portlet Open-Source Trading site (Post), a...

Plumtree Software, Sun Microsystems, BEA Systems and Documentum have launched the Portlet Open-Source Trading site (Post), a website where customers can share portlets and submit components for community development.

Available at http://portlet-opensrc.sourceforge.net/, the site is hosted by SourceForge, an independent organisation which hosts a variety of Java and Linux-based initiatives.

JSR 168 and WSRP (Web Services for Remote Portlets), two portlet standards developed by the Java Community Process and Oasis standards bodies, respectively, aim to let portal components be deployed across a variety of platforms. JSR 168 was approved in early October, while WSRP was finalised in mid-September.

The idea of Post is to create a way for portal customers to share standardised portal components.

"We have a site where Plumtree customers can share portlets, but the standard exists so that a Plumtree customer could share portlets with BEA customers. However, there is no way to do that unless they have a forum for exchanging these," said Glenn Kelman, vice president of product marketing and management at Plumtree.

"The JSR 168 and WSRP efforts imagined people would share code but hadn't taken the extra turn of the screw to see how it would happen," he added. "This is making the standards real."

Any registered organisation can contribute portlets to Post, which then become available to all other members of the open-source effort. Post lets participants see lists of new portlets, post requests to the community for the development of new portlets, search for portlets, upload or download new portlets, submit modified or enhanced versions of portlets, and discuss portlet development best practices, issues, and solutions.

Plumtree, BEA, Sun and Documentum each will provide an initial library of standards-based portlets, and will offer feedback, suggestions, and best practices for portlet development.

One incentive for customers to share portlets is the capability to improve their code, Kelman said.

"This is the same phenomenon that is powering Linux. JSR 168 created the same possibility to have portlets shared across different vendors," he said.

Even before portal standards were developed, BEA customers got together informally to share portlets, according to Nils Gilman, director of product management at BEA.

"Now that there are standards there's no reason why the community of users shouldn’t be expanded," he said. "This is an opportunity to increase the sharing of code among portal customers from all vendors."

Long-term benefits from portal standards and multivendor efforts such as Post include less supplier lock in with portal infrastructures and more repurposing of code among multiple suppliers' frameworks, according to Gilman.

Cathleen Moore writes for InfoWorld

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