Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Enterprise Portal and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is the talk of the enterprise fraternity. Not only the business is getting benefited but the potential of SOA is affecting the speed of application development process.

This buzzword strikes Portal technology as well. These days organizations are in the process of migrating from traditional client/server, monolithic or disparate n-tier architecture to a more loosely coupled and interoperable environment, this process is then better termed as Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).Most of us are aware of SOA and its benefits, I wont be repeating those here but will discuss that how Portal can be used to leverage SOA.

When we talk about the underlying components of SOA i.e. Interoperability, Scalability, and
Integration, the best suite that does and support all these is an Enterprise Portal Implementation.

A Portal based on standard like JSR168 and WSRP can be the most eligible candidate for SOA. When we look at the Portal’s Infrastructure, we find that it comprises of nuts and bolts of Service Oriented Architecture.

So the next thought that comes to mind is how Portal fits in SOA?

Portlets are reusable web components which forms the core of a Portal Desktop, providing relevant and customized information.SOA’s Interoperability is achieved by deploying JSR 168 Portlet to any JSR 168 compliant Portal server. Also, a portlet can be reused in different Portal pages as well as in different containers which proves reusability aspect of SOA.

Web Services, one of the main building blocks of SOA, fits nicely with Portal as WSRP based portlets. WSRP enabled portlets, which adhere to Web services standard such as SOAP and WSDL, enables portal to easily include services from a third party into a portal page. This eases and reduces the development process and makes use of already available enabled services. WSRP provides much support for the basic pillars of SOA like SSO, Reusability, Access management, service integration with loose coupling (here I mean to say that different processes should be integrated but without the processes being dependent on each other ).

Lastly, Role based content delivery model in Collaborative Portals makes a value addition for role based SOA Implementation.

The above information perfectly fits with the Gartner’s conclusion that

The portal can be a logical and appropriate first step toward SOA implementation because its fundamental nature lends itself to SOA approaches”

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


RedHat to acquire JBoss

The JBoss war has finally take a not so expected turn when Red Hat announced to acquire JBoss. Red Hat and JBoss have been recognized as open source leaders in their respective domains. The large and vibrant communities around Linux and JBoss prove that the open source development model creates innovative, quality software, while providing a flexible and low cost model for customers. This acquisition is expected to accelerate enterprise adoption of open source infrastructure, and broaden the entire market opportunity for existing and new Red Hat and JBoss partners who are building
value-added enterprise solutions.

RedHat have already tried its hands on middle ware front (Jonas as application server),and much of the R&D was on portal and CMS with no success. With this acquisition RedHat will get a powerful web stack and the customer will get a product with more performance ,security and the branded and well respected support with a low –price.

As far as my speculation, I don’t think that RedHat will offer any support for Windows Version, rather it may stop JBoss’s windows version, because that will effect its own Linux distribution.

Anyways “All well that ends Well” --- OpenSource to OpenSource” :)

Friday, February 24, 2006


Enterprising the open source

The cloud thickens on the strategy of the open source vendors….“The enterprise fraternity” are keen on acquiring smaller rival companies with open sourced software and after acquisition, only unveil a part of the software that remained open sourced before, Then doesn’t the whole idea of open source get flouted? Another heating debate could be on the possible reasons for acquiring such firms that are open sourced. Typically, an open sourced company is learnt to be earning from the product’s maintenance, installation and support unlike, their product counterparts that derive from the licensed product copies as well. So, there seems to be a basic clash on the ideals of the two entities. Is this strategy a result of the fear in the biggies that the smaller ones could eventually overtake them as they gather more supporters for open sourced version.

A historical data on some such developments on this front that testify this:-

Oracle acquired Innobase an open source software company and a developer of transactional database technology, the software was distributed under the GNU GPL open-source license and was bundled with MySQL. Currently, it is reportedly in talks to acquire three open-source companies to expand its customer base .In return, it announced a free, low-end version of its database software thus, letting the world know about their commitment to opensource. Oracle also plans to buy Jboss Inc ,another opensource company and a leader in the application server market .

IBM last year bought Gluecode Software,which offers an application server based on apache Geronimo project. The give and take business is not new as IBM bundles with WebSphere, and it contributed an embedded database called Derby to Apache.
Bea Systems open sourced a version of its relational database mapping tool “Kodo” under an Apache license, while continues to offer BEA Kodo under a closed source license.
Sun Microsystems looked at open source community to revive itself , open sourced Solaris and JES.

At some point this may be a good deal for the customer as now they have a quality, open, and a low-priced(a bit more) product which is now backed ie supported by a branded company. So I think the product which was originally “true open source software” turns to have only source open.

My concern is that people who contribute to the open source software (apart from the employees of the open source company) is a vast community of developers, architects, designers who believe in sharing knowledge much to the relief of the smaller firms or developers that cannot afford licensed copies. However, with such moves industry wide, would this give enough leverage & credit to the people who contribute to this wealth of information or who use this information. Wouldn’t then the trend to contribute and share knowledge, then discouraged if this trend of acquiring smaller open sourced cos by the big giants continue?

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Open Ajax and Collaboration

..so the big guys finally collaborate to push AJAX in the opensource community. IBM, BEA Systems Inc., Borland International Inc., Novell Inc., Oracle Corp. and Red Hat
Inc., have formed a group to contribute code and work together to promote use of AJAX., they will call it Open Ajax. This group will promote the use of Ajax tools with which developers can build rich Internet applications. The tools essentially eliminate the need to refresh a Web page every time a user enters or receives new data.

IBM is to propose its Ajax Toolkit Framework , that framework supports multiple Ajax runtime tools and can be used to develop and debug applications.

Since in the portal front the world is going collaborative and AJAXed :) ,its good to see that even the top notch vendors are implementing or moving a part of their technology to opensource.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


An Eye on Collaborative Portals

The New Year heralds new realizations derived from the bygone year’s developments and thus, exploring options in the Collaborative portals space. The concept of Collaborative portals was an extension of the idea from commercial to business and organization’s infrastructural needs. It always was a challenge to achieve a single point of access as the teams are geographically distributed and mobile. Employees want to locate and communicate directly in the context of business processes and their day-to-day applications. They do not want to launch separate tools to chat with colleagues, participate in discussion threads or check project status.

However, the big players have their plug-in applications that adhere to no one standard and thus a technology incompatibility had erupted. Devising specifications for Java users (JSR 168) has been one move in this direction. As today’s teams are geographically distributed and mobile. To meet the expectation of being insync, organizations are providing and enhancing the capabilities that can transform the way colleagues communicate, relate with each other and perform work activities.

May it be asynchronous or synchronous, real-time based, these collaborative tools have provided a electronic workspace to allow people to share documents, project plans, calendars in the same online location. Bulletin boards and Blogs are becoming the medium to share thoughts and ideas on a particular topic on the web. Interactive Content Management System (I call it iCMS) with version control,Shared database ,email, event messaging etc are becoming the vital part of the collaborative suite.

It’s the business that benefits when -
• Employees access the right enterprise information, business process and people contributing in their areas of expertise with new ideas ,past experiences.
• Distributed expertise can respond more quickly and accurately to access consolidated
systems, reducing travel and facilitating efficient communications.
• A fast and reliable information flow can improve responsiveness, reduces coordination costs.
• Use the portal as a collaboration forum for employees and partners to work together more efficiently without regular face-to-face meetings.

Where every vendor is busy building their collaboration stacks and not concentrating on the compatibility with other Collaborative platforms,still there is no answer to the question of interoperability between different collaborative platforms in external or internal business units.

With this in mind a new category of integration software may emerge to enable interoperability among disparate enterprise collaboration platforms.

Concluding this post ,I believe that the market for collaborative portals is still promising, A trend is noted towards moving from collaboration to an "WorkField" which will incorporate collaboration, e-Learning, expertise location/identification, Interactive content management System (iCMS) and self-service applications.