BEA pitches Web 2.0 theme for portals


With an upgrade to its portal software, BEA Systems earlier this month touted a Web 2.0 interactivity theme with the product able to expose portlets, which can be produced for use in mashup apps, to other applications.

The company announced BEA WebLogic Portal 10. Key to the product’s new portlet capabilities is support for REST (Representational State Transfer) Web services.

“We’ve added in WebLogic Portal the ability to produce portlets over REST that external Web applications can consume,” said Jay Simons, senior product marketing director at BEA.

For example, a portlet that provides employee telephone search capabilities could be produced via REST, and another Web application could utilize it.

“The goal here (with REST) is to support a number of different extensibility points,” for a portal, Simons said. Also featured as part of Web 2.0 capabilities is an improved AJAX-style (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) framework for building rich experiences for the Web.

The portal desktop can be updated dynamically through AJAX.

Support of the WSRP (Web Services for Remote Portlets) 2.0 specification in the product provides for portlet-to-portlet communication and dynamic refreshing.

New tools are provided in version 10 for portal management and governance.

A user of an earlier version of BEA’s portal software expressed interest in the new product’s AJAX capabilities.

“The main benefit would be an enhanced user experience and performance. That’s really what, in my mind, it does best,” said Michael Mainiero, Web director at NYU Medical Center.

The organization uses BEA’s portal software for such applications as student and research portals, among other applications. Although Java provides the same capabilities as AJAX, AJAX provides a smoother interface, he said.

Integration between portlets also caught Mainiero’s attention. It could be beneficial to have portlets communicate with each other, he said.

BEA WebLogic Portal requires the use of BEA’s WebLogic Server Java application server.

The portal software also functions with the BEA WebLogic Workshop development tool.

BEA believes extensibility capabilities in its portal product provide an advantage over rival offerings from companies like IBM, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle. Available now, version 10 of WebLogic Portal costs US$57,000 per CPU.

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