Content in Context: Emerging Portal Standards Facilitate Content Integration

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Portal Maturity</STRONG><BR>Customers like Jenuth at MDS Capital anticipate tighter integration of external content into enterprise portals. She's specifically looking at how she can incorporate brokered searching so that users can search all of the available content from external as well as internal sources in one query.</P>
<P>There is also a growing acceptance that, moving forward, enterprise portals will be the dominant means by which external content is delivered. Harrison explains that at MarketWatch, "We don't say this is a portal product and this isn't. We take that into account in everything we build today as that's the direction everything is headed."</P>
<P>Today, many customers are also aware of the emerging standards in the portal market and see that these will help them integrate all kinds of content and systems. Abramski at Sun says, "We've been seeing a lot of customers who are very savvy about this specification. They want to know when the portal products will be JSR 168-compliant. They've been asking Sun about this for at least nine months."</P>
<P>While the emerging specifications don't specifically address many of the more advanced functions that customers are starting to explore, they are a step in the right direction. At a minimum, they show maturity in the portal industry. Abramski says, "Creating a standard that makes it easier to aggregate content into portals shows how much the portal market has matured."</P>
<P>Gerdy says that Factiva welcomes the maturity of the portal market as well as increased customer demand for portals that can be the delivery mechanism for high-value content. "This is the evolution of the portal as it pertains to external content" he says. "The standardization is great as is the understanding on the part of the market that premium content brings more value to the organization."
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<P>Sidebar: Web Services for Remote Portlets</P>
<P>The Web services arena is also generating standards that may help facilitate content and portal integration. One emerging portal-specific Web services standard is WSRP (Web Services for Remote Portlets), which was ratified by OASIS in late 2003. WSRP layers on top of existing Web services standards to define portlet presentation. One of WSRP's key drivers, portal-to-portal communication, will allow remotely-hosted Web services that include a portlet presentation definition to be displayed via another portal server. As external content is most often hosted remotely (sometimes outside of the enterprise entirely) this will likely be a relevant standard as it matures.</P>
<P>While JSR 168 can be used by in-house developers who want to write to a common API, WSRP primarily concerns portal and other application vendors, including content providers. Portal vendors must ensure they include a portlet definition that can render WSRP-defined portlets, and application and content providers must write portlets that include the WSRP definition. The customer need only ensure that these components are present and that they work together (WSRP and JSR 168 are designed to work hand-in-hand).</P>
<P>Most portal vendors today are working on their support for the WSRP standard, as are some content providers. Portal vendors supporting JSR 168 offer customers an advantage as their portlets are defined by an industry standard API and WSRP can use this API in its portlet presentation.</P>
<P>For more information on these standards: <BR>JSR 168: <A href="http://www.jcp.org/en/jsr/detail?id=168">www.jcp.org/en/jsr/detail?id=168</A><BR>WSRP: <A href="http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=wsrp">www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=wsrp</A>
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<P><STRONG>Companies Featured in this Article</STRONG></P>Factiva <A href="http://www.factiva.com">www.factiva.com</A><BR>Forrester Research <A href="http://www.forrester.com">www.forrester.com</A><BR>MarketWatch <A href="http://is.marketwatch.com">http://is.marketwatch.com</A><BR>MDS Capital <A href="http://www.mdscapital.com">www.mdscapital.com</A><BR>Plumtree Software <A href="http://www.plumtree.com">www.plumtree.com</A><BR>Sun Microsystems <A href="http://www.sun.com">www.sun.com</A><BR>Thomson Dialog <A href="http://www.dialog.com">www.dialog.com</A><BR>
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