Big Blue is thinking small with its newly announced WebSphere Portal Server designed to bring entry-level service-oriented architecture and Ajax capabilities to IT shops with limited budget and programming skill sets.
Following the SOA philosophy of starting small, the portal server also offers organizations a core set of capabilities for getting an initial project up and running, explained Chris Lamb, WebSphere Portal marketing manager.
"The Portal Server contains all the aggregation and integration capabilities, so you can tap into enterprise applications using our adaptors for Web services," he said. It also adheres to current standards, including Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP), the OASIS standard for content aggregation and the Java Specification Request (JSR) 168 standard from the Java Community Process for portal APIs.
More than 880 portlets already developed by IBM and its partners for applications – including financial management, customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) – are available through IBM's portal catalog, Lamb said.
To get SOA-based portlets pulled together without major Java or other programming, the new product includes WebSphere Portlet Factory Design for creation of Ajax user interfaces," Lamb said.
"To add Ajax capabilities to portlets designed with WebSphere Portlet Factory is a very simple process because customers can use a technology called Builders," Lamb explained. "These Builders represent design intelligence or design patterns and automate the creation of code. Developers can use the new Ajax Builders to add Web 2.0 techniques, such as type ahead and asynchronous loading, simply by adding the Builders to their portlets. These builders handle writing all the code."
But for developers without Ajax or SOA experience, the Builders help by "masking the complexities of the underlying J2EE or portal APIs", Lamb said.
Developers with Ajax experience can also write their own Builders for Ajax, he added. The Portlet Factory ships with more than 165 Builders designed to automate tasks including HTML from a schema and integrating with common back-end systems including IBM Lotus Domino, SAP, Siebel, Oracle and PeopleSoft, as well as Web services and JDBC-compliant databases.
Small initial portal projects can be built with portal server tools in as little as a month, Lamb said. He would not hazard a guess as to how long more complex projects would cost.
BEA moves Java into real-time SOA
For Java-based SOA applications with a need for speed, such as financial services transactions, BEA Systems Inc. this week released WebLogic Real Time (WLRT) Core Edition 1.1. The new product boasts 30-millisecond maximum latency on its benchmark application, according to BEA.
The improved performance comes from extreme optimization and advanced techniques for bounding latency, according to James Sherburne, director of product marketing at BEA. In applications such as financial trading, guaranteed sub-second latency can mean millions of dollars per day in increased profit, he said.
WLRT is being marketed to senior IT managers and architects in financial services, manufacturing, gaming and military/aerospace, who are developing SOA in Java and don't want to use C or C++ to get the real-time performance they need.
Prior to the release of WLRT, "Java was simply not a viable option for these kinds of latency sensitive environments," Sherburne said.
The new capabilities will be demonstrated at next month's BEA World 2006 in San Francisco.