Bowstreet streamlines portal development

Bowstreet Software Inc. recently rolled out a new version of its Bowstreet Portlet Factory featuring deeper integration with IBM Corp.’s WebSphere Portal, enhanced Web services support, and a new wizard for speeding the development of portlets.

Taking the Portlet Factory’s initial integration with IBM WebSphere a step further, Version 5.5 lets developers snap together a set of builders to gain advanced functionality instead of having to learn a new set of APIs for portlet development, according to Dee Zepf, director of product management at Bowstreet, in Portsmouth, N.H.

“Now you can really create robust portlets, and allow for portlet to portlet communion without having to write any code. We have builders that you can snap together that essentially allow interaction between portlets,” Zepf said.

As more enterprises elect to build portals based on complex application server cores, tools like the Portal Factory that help shield users from the bare metal complexity of development are becoming increasingly important, according to Nate Root, analyst at Forrester Research, in Cambridge, Mass.

“Bowstreet [Portlet Factory] gives IBM a way to bridge the super technical side of development [in WebSphere] with the business user side of development and have an in-between kind of solution,” Root said. “The Bowstreet plus WebSphere [combination] is not a business user development tool, but it will let IT [developers] work faster, specifically saving a lot of time in the ongoing maintenance and change management of portlets.”

Another new feature in Version 5.5, the Portlet Wizard, is designed to help developers use J2EE technology to rapidly create custom portlets from a variety of data sources and legacy applications, according to Bowstreet officials.

“[The] Portlet Wizard lets you walk through a set of steps and create a portlet based on a wizard by pointing at a Web service or a database,” Zepf said. “The applications that are created using our wizard can be modified easily – they are not brittle at all.”

Portlet Factory also features enhanced Web services capabilities through Bowstreet’s continuing participation in the WS-I (Web Services Interoperability Organization). Version 5.5 includes improvements in interoperability with other Web services products and a new service call builder that lets developers change what service the application is calling at run time, allowing the application to easily adapt to service call changes, according to Zepf.

Bowstreet Portlet Factory 5.5 is available now for a free 60-day trial.