JBoss Releases New Open-Source Portal
- By John K. Waters
JBoss Inc. released the latest version of its open-source, Java-based portal product.
The new JBoss Portal 2.0 embraces the Java portlet API specification (JSR-168)
and provides an extensible portal framework designed to integrate dynamic Web
pages and applications within standardized reusable portlets.
JP2 is a core component of the JBoss Enterprise Middleware System. The JEMS
platform includes the JBoss app server, the Hibernate object-relational mapping
software, the Tomcat JSP and Servlet Web container, the jBPM workflow engine,
the JBoss Cache caching technology, the JGroups multicast communications toolkit
and the Eclipse IDE.
"JBoss is moving up the stack," says Pierre Fricke, the company's
newly appointed director of product management. "And we're on our way to
rounding out a complete middleware platform."
With JP2, JBoss is looking to attract potential portal users put off by the
cost of commercial enterprise-class portal offerings, Fricke tells AppTrends.
"The portal market has been relatively small and constrained because of
the high price points," he says. "We believe that there are a lot
of unserved customers out there, and we see a mass market for portals with the
right price point. We expect to expand the portal market significantly."
JP2 is a major upgrade of its predecessor. It comes with several new features
and some improvements on some old ones. Among them:
- Certified JSR-168 portlet container
- Single sign-on support across portal and portlets
- Ability to run multiple portal instances inside one portal container
- Ability to deploy portal instances in a clustered environment
- Portlets can be implemented using JavaServer Faces, MyFaces, and Spring
- Data access and persistence provided by Hibernate, JBoss’ award-winning
object/relational mapping technology
- Portlets can have their own internationalization resource files
- Web-based administration of portal security (users, groups, roles) and functionality
- Includes basic content management features
- Forum/Message Board portlet for community-based collaboration
JBoss reports some impressive pre-released downloads stats—12,000 in
April climbed to 27,000 in May—which the company claims make JP2 the fastest
download of any open-source Java portal technology.
The new portal also bears the first fruits of JBoss' expanded relationship
with Novell, which disclosed in March its intention to discontinue further development
of its own exteNd application server and point its customers to the JBoss portal
"We've been a key player in the open-source world for some time, and we
saw the water rising on commoditization and open source," says Novell's
Robin Cohan, senior product manager for the exteNd product line. "We finally
had to ask ourselves, should we continue spending our resources on something
that is proprietary when there’s some great open-source stuff out there
that we could make more successful?"
"So we looked at the JBoss portal," she adds, "and we realized
that, with the momentum of the JBoss community behind it, it was going to become
an important force in the market. We wanted to help make it enterprise-class
and bring some of the capabilities that Novell has into that picture, ultimately
so that we could make it useful to our own customers."
Novell's contributions to this version of the JBoss portal were significant,
but not huge; the project was already under way when the two companies upped
the ante on their partnership. Novell is contributing some key automation features
and substantial code to the portal's theme APIs for layouts, skins, look and
feel, and branding.
In the next version, however, expect to see big hunks of Novell technology
enriching the JBoss portal offering, Cohan says. Among other things, Novell
will kick in its Web Services for Remote Portlets standard-based portlet container,
and portlets from its extensive library. “WSRP and the portlets we see as two
very important contributions that we want to get to JBoss as soon as we can,”
The open-source, Java-based JBoss application server was first released in
1999. Two years later, JBoss Group was founded to provide technical support
services for the software. Marc Fleury, who wrote the first version of JBoss,
founded the for-profit, Atlanta-based JBoss Inc. in 2004, to provide “resources,
technology direction and core development” for the technology evolving
For more information on JBoss Portal 2.0, go to: http://jboss.com/products/jbossportal.
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached