Thursday Jul 27, 2006

The Best Opensource Portlets


With Sun Portal's entrance (NOT foray!) into the Opensource community, [whose goal is deeply focused on the betterment of the world community of users and developers (see my posts)]- our developers have started two distinct efforts each with their own benefits. 

1.) Opensource Portlet Repositories: 
My new four wheel beast came with a very large engine, navigation, super-wide low profile-rims, satellite radio ... and an iPod integration.  That's ~400hp and ~10,000 songs - all controlled at the steering wheel.  Sweet.  But, where'd I get those 10,000 songs? iTunes is free  but the songs are not.  What good is a luxury sports car without an iPod integration and what good is iTunes without songs?  

desciTunes allows you to purchase songs from their store, and allows you to rip CD's you already own, but wouldn't it be great if you could go to independent sites and download songs, ones that are cheaper (50 cents) or have other catalogs (has Steve Jobs ever heard of the Beetles) or frees songs from new artists?  Maybe then I'd have 20,000 songs for that saturday afternoon drive to Julian for apple pie.

It's the same for a portal server.  A portal doesn't do anything without portlets.  Sort of like a web server.  Who cares what web server you use, as soon as you finish the install, it does nothing until you build some web pages and put them in doc root.  But a portal allows three categories for content, not just web pages,  1.) content (like the web server) 2.) portal-specific applications and 3.) portal independent applications.    So wouldn't it be great if you could get portlets for free?

desc A portal's unique capability is that it allows you to easily build a page or set of pages consisting of each of these elements.   A portal should be designed to simplify #1, and #2 should come with a portal (for free because it has something to do with the function of the portal - example, delegated administration of users or portal pages).  But for #3 today, most portal customers have to either develop each portlet themselves or purchase them from their vendor's proprietary library - making the customer even more tied to the vendor from whom they thought they purchased a capital expenditure (visualize the fat cat smoking a cigar laughing and counting his piles of money with smoke stacks in the background...).  Can you imagine only being able to buy gas from the same auto dealer and only at one location?


Sun's vision for the opensource portlet repository is to end this dependency on proprietary portlet repositories.  As the repository grows, the portal installer will install the portal of their choice, then add to that installation functions from an opensource repository.  Customers can download and own the code and migrate it through their own lifecycle or contribute back to the community.  ISV's will be able to provide tot the community their integrations - reducing their costs required today to support multiple portal vendors.  Governments may and should provide all their integrations back to the community that funded their projects.  Over time with thousands of customers our community should develop thousands of portlets - but first we must start with a set of core portlets.  Those portlets which provide the greatest value.

descSo what are the 10 core portlets we need?  What should the community be looking to develop?  A few categories are (I will provide deeper detail on these to community members over time):

 

  1. Collaboration
    • Project / Task Mgmt
    • Surveys  / Polls / Decision Making
    • File sharing, document routing
    • Workgroup Networking (blog post coming soon)
  2. Communication Suite Integration
    • individual email -no
    • individual calendar - maybe
    • individual summary - maybe
    • individual address book - maybe
    • community email - maybe
    • community calendar - yes
    • community addressbook - yes
    • enterprise wide address book - yes
  3. Enterprise Applications Integrations
    • standard applications  (alerts, quick data entry, human workflow, repetitive function interface)
  4. Business Intelligence and Analysis
  5. Desktop Integration
    • Windows Sharepoint Services (tasks, events, photos)
    • Citrix, Sun SGD (Tarantella)

2.) Next time, I'll discuss the benefits of the Portal repository to CIO's, Division VP's and even SI's and ISV's.

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atul

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