By jtb on Nov 15, 2006
After using the full-featured Sun Portal product to try and do portlet development for a few years now, I've been looking for something more light weight. Essentially, I needed something I can run on my OSX laptop. The obvious choice for me was Apache Pluto. It's been around for a while now. It's the core of Apache Jetspeed-2, and other portals. It's the JSR-168 Portlet RI. Here is my experience ...
First, Pluto 1.1 (beta) requires me to add some heinous blocks into my Maven2 POM in order to deploy. While I think this is a stopgap until 1.1 has a deployment tool, I have to outright refuse anything that requires vendor-specific aspects to my portlet. So, I ruled 1.1 out immediately.
Pluto 1.0.1 has a palatable GUI deployment tool. However, I never got my portlet to run. Now, I accept the fact that this may be a result of problems in my portlet, but the container has to TELL ME what the problem is. Class not found? JSP compilation error? Nope. Pluto would only tell me that there was an "error in portlet":
Nov 8, 2006 4:03:16 PM org.apache.pluto.portalImpl.services.log.LoggerImpl errorSEVERE:
Error in Portlet
No other clue. I can hardly believe that there is not some way to get more information ... but I asked (twice) on firstname.lastname@example.org and received no response. Also, as a side issue, Apache's spam filter rejects any email I send from my Yahoo! mail account. That makes getting help pretty difficult :)
Enter the java.net Portlet Container project. It's only been live since August 2006, and it's already superior to Pluto. It's simple to install and configure (requires Glassfish), and best of all, IT RUNS MY PORTLET, or if not, TELLS ME WHY.
As a bonus, it actually lets you undeploy a portlet, something that Pluto 1.0.1 does not (you have to manually edit several XML config files).
Full disclosure: the Portlet Container project is Sun-sponsored and has been developed wholly by Sun employees. However, I want to make it clear that I really, really tried to work with Pluto. This is an honest assessment of the state of the art.