WebSphere Portal 6.1 To Couple Web 2.0, Enterprise Technologies

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IBM revealed Wednesday that it will ship WebSphere Portal 6.1 this quarter (i.e. by the end of June) with new collaboration, administrative, deployment, and Web 2.0 features based on input gathered from some 4,000 beta testers. The company also announced that it's shipping three of its accelerators for WebSphere Portal this quarter.

WebSphere Portal is a family of portal products that IBM aims largely for SOA implementations that includes a server and various extensions, as well as add-on modules called accelerators. The core software includes portal design, application templates, design helpers (such as themes), policy-based administration, and various other portal creation, maintenance, and administration features.

Some of the new features set to appear in WebSphere Portal 6.1 include:

  • Web 2.0-based functionality, including live text tagging;
  • AJAX-based front-end features;
  • Support for "new classes of applications to be created in a much more intuitive and responsive fashion";
  • New content and document management features;
  • a self-help site wizard;
  • Improved portal security; and
  • Pre-designed templates and new site creation tools.

"This is a first-of-its-kind Web 2.0 portal because it helps users interact with the information and people they need around the clock, from the Web and from within an organization," said Larry Bowden, vice president, Portals and Web Interactive Services for IBM, in a statement released Wednesday. "A portal is important because it's the first step in implementing any SOA strategy."

IBM said it holds a 64 percent market share in SOA, based on a 2008 study by Wintergreen Research. The company also said its portal software has been adopted by about 6,000 customers to date, with a 15 percent increase in adoption in the last year.

WebSphere Portal 6.1 will support IBM AIX, HP-UX, IBM I5/OS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Sun Solaris, and Microsoft Windows Server. Further information about the forthcoming WebSphere Portal 6.1 can be found here.

In other IBM news, the company also announced Wednesday that it will release two "accelerators" (addons for for WebSphere Portal that automate functionality and facilitate projects) by the end of June: Dashboard Accelerator 6.1 for WebSphere Portal and Content Accelerator 6.1 for WebSphere Portal. Dashboard Accelerator 6.1 integrates WebSphere Portal with IBM's Cognos business intelligence solutions. Content Accelerator 6.1 provides authoring templates for "creating quick content like blogs." The 6.1 release will also include "richer in-line editing to enable users to easily create folders, sites or site areas," according to IBM.

The company has also started shipping Business Process Accelerator, a role-based systems for portal applications meant to improve workflow. In the education space, Cardiff University in Great Britain was one of the early adopters of Business Process Accelerator. Back in November the university announced it would use IBM's portal solutions to create collaborative learning environments for students and faculty.

Simon Bradford of Cardiff University said at the time, "We will use a combination of WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Process Server and Lotus Forms software to help streamline our business processes with electronic forms and role-based portal applications. This implementation will enable us to move towards streamlined administrative processes, either directly or through pre-reqs, we can now model, orchestrate, deploy and participate in the business processes. We have the flexibility of choice to plug-in process engines from WebSphere, FileNet or third parties to run these processes."

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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