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The HAL salesperson has lunch with my boss last week, pushing their Web Sphere portal/portlets product.  Of course, it is THE hot new way to define your portal.  Anyone know it? Use it? Willing to comment on it?

I worry about these things because my boss tends to buy tech we cannot use, or that does not add anything to what we do have in-house. Then he asks us to justfiy the ROI, or complains that he buys us new tech and we never use it.

Monday, January 12, 2004

I'm afraid I can't comment on this product, but I'd be very interested in any discussion that shows how this could be justified. 

So, let's see, it sounds like you've got a portal already, but this is a new way to define portals.  So you use this new way of defining portals (training, integration) to define the portal you've already got.  End result is the same as you had, but you've spent some money to get there.  I sure would be interested in how this would give you a good return. 

So from my perspective, I'm as worried as you :).

Monday, January 12, 2004

Looks like yet another buzzword to describe old technology. Web Services? Yea, Microsoft's hot technologies! Except Web Services and Portlets are nothing but Remote Procedure Calls, been around for decades.

Tom H
Monday, January 12, 2004

Portlet sounds like slang for "portable toilet" to me.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Portlets are the small boxes that make up a portal.  At least they are in Oracle Portal (  Its nothing that simple templates in your favorite web programming language couldn't handle.  What they give you is an easy way to create the list of items in there.

Of course they do a bit more than that as well, but thats the general gist of it.  When I poked around Oracle Portal a while back I didn't see anything life-changing.

Andrew Hurst
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I should add, the reason I didn't use the Oracle Portal stuff (part of 9iAS) is because of the HUGE amount of infrastructure required to get it running.  For example, for an Oracle Forms Server install: Oracle 9iAS SingleSign-On, Oracle 9iAS Application Server, and the actual Oracle 9i RDBMS to house the data.  3 2BG+ installs?  No thanks.

Andrew Hurst
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

What's a portal, anyways?

I know the word comes from Latin, meaning "a door".

How come I hear so much about doors, and never about the rooms they enter into?  If carpenters built as many doors as MBAs built portals, I'd think the carpenters had contracted Mad Portal Disease.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Portlets have been around for a while. In WebSphere, they are defined as extensions of servlets. Like a previous poster said, they allow you to put individual "mini-pages" inside a single page. Kind of like having frames except much more powerful.

MyYahoo or Citibank would be examples of portals - they provide you with multiple, personalized services that are actually quite distince (the classic example would be stock quotes and local weather) but have something in common (you want to read them every morning, etc.).

Like many J2EE technologies, portlets have poor documentation and are a bitch to deploy. BEA is the only company that puts out a relatively easy-to-use portlet platform; I know IBM is trying to make WebSphere Portal easier - don't know what other J2EE vendors are up to because they don't talk about it much.

Bottom line: portlets seem like a pretty strong idea, but they have a ways to go before "mainstream" developers start using them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

"Web Services and Portlets are nothing but Remote Procedure Calls"


Read  Werner Vogels' excellent article "Web Services Are Not Distributed Objects"

Under " Common misconceptions"
2. Web Services Are RPC for the Internet

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I was implementing "Portlets" two years ago with simple HTML and Javascript... Unless you have a ton of content that's constantly updated, I don't see why you need much more than this. Only I was calling it a "Custom Homepage for Each User."

Sorry, no real on topic information here.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Yep, it sounds like a regular old portal with customizable content. If you already have a portal, then I can't see the point of replacing it for that. If you don't have a portal, then you need a business case for setting one up. (i.e. "What problem do we have that this would solve?")


Tuesday, January 13, 2004

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