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Sun, M7 join to boost new Java portlet spec

The advent of portals has provided companies with easy-to-use Web interfaces to aggregate and display information from multiple applications and back-end systems. But, experts say, it is portlets that really make portals flexible and useful. Actually a type of servlet, portlets allow for easy customization of content, can be extended to work on many client devices, and can be published as Web services.

Zack Urlocker, VP of marketing at J2EE development tools maker M7 Corp., says the emergence of the Java Portlet Specification has freed users to pick and choose among portal server suppliers. Previously, he said, each developer offered a proprietary portlet API, making it difficult to create, customize or share new portlets.

Urlocker described the Java Portlet Specification as "a milestone in the portal market."

At last week's Sun Network Conference, M7 revealed that it has collaborated with conference sponsor Sun Microsystems to support the recently approved Java Portlet Specification (JSR 168) and the new SunONE Portal Server 6.2. The company's flagship M7 Application Assembly Suite now supports the development of industry-standard portlet applications enabling corporations to develop portlets easily and without low-level programming, Urlocker said.

The M7 Application Assembly Suite's visual tools are designed to allow developers to create standards-based portlet applications quickly. The toolset provides developers with a visual framework that combines a Java development methodology with the ability to leverage existing and future application components. According to company reps, portlets created in M7 can be deployed on any JSR 168-compatible portal server, including SunONE Portal Server 6.2.

Development of the Java Portlet Specification was co-led by Sun and IBM, and is supported by leading portal server vendors, including BEA, BroadVision, Oracle, SAP, Sybase and Vignette.

The M7 Portlet Development Suite is scheduled to ship in Q4, and will be available directly from M7 Corp. and its partners, company reps said.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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