JSR 286 Grows Up

August 1, 2008 at 8:00 am | Posted in BEA, IBM, Oracle, portals, SAP | Leave a comment

A belated congratulations to the JSR 286 group, which went into final release in June. You can get the details here.  Good job to Stefan Hepper of IBM, the specification lead, who must have had a tough time herding the cats on this one.  Right out of the gate it’s good to see JSR 286 getting some attention from the portal vendors. 

Of course it’s been in development for quite some time.  When JSR 168 was being created a number of enhancements were shifted to JSR 286 to keep from slowing down the original portal spec’s ratification. The most important features of JSR 286 are inter-portlet communication (IPC) and alignment with the ongoing work on Web Services for Remote Portlets 2.0 (WSRP 2.0).

Vendor support has been promised soon as well (or is already here in the case of IBM). 

  • IBM quickly announced support in for WebSphere Portal 6.1 (as well as for WSRP 2.0).  Way to track the standards guys!
  • Oracle’s ALUI and Oracle Portal don’t have support yet.  I’m told Oracle Portal may get it in 11gR1 release or later
  • JBoss (Red Hat ditched its own portal in favor of the JBoss portal after acquiring JBoss) is promising support in Version 2.7, due out in Q3 2008 according to CMS Watch.
  • A document from someone at SAP coldly stated that “SAP supports and actively participates in this new standard as EG member. As this specification is in draft version, it is not supported in NW CE.”  I checked with my contacts at SAP and was told that JSR 286 is currently in scope for NetWeaver 7.0 Enhancement Pack 2, which is expected around October.  I also noticed they did not vote on the standard.  I wondered if this was a sign of lack of interest or a passive way to vote “no”, but their analyst relations staff said it was in fact because their committee representative was in the hospital. 

My guidance to portal architects though is to consider bypassing JSR 168 or 286 portlets and even WSRP and focus on creating web services for information that they want to expose.  Once the data portion is available as a web service, any decent portal product can create a quickie portlet (maybe in JSR 168 or some proprietary format) from the WSDL of the web service so it can be used in a portal.  And then you have the option of leveraging that interface through non-portal mechanisms as well.

I should mention JSR 301 here as well.  Presentation models have changed since the original JSR 168 specification was created. JavaServer Faces (JSF), the most significant of the presentation models for Java and has spawned many proprietary and open source attempts to transform JSF interfaces into JSR 168 portlets. The JSR 301 specification is only in its early stages, but promises to standardize these bridging mechanisms. No solid word yet on what that’s coming though.

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