by September 16th, 2014on
In part 1 of this series, How to Implement Lighter Weight Portals, I wrote about the infrastructure and installation aspects of Portals. To make the tasks of managing and installing portals, I recommended cloud solutions and for IBM, their PureApplication system both in the cloud and on-premise.
In Part 2, I turn my attention to applications and how to make task of developing portal applications more lightweight.
The goal of a portal is to combine applications and content at the glass for a user. By this definition alone, we should always think of how to make lightweight portlets. If you have a larger application to build, break it down into core components that can be built into separate portlets, rather than one large portlet.
Even if you can get to smaller, bite-sized applications or portlets, you are still faced with the underlying framework imposing additional layers on your efforts. We’ll focus on Java-based portals to make the discussion simple and I’ll use IBM WebSphere Portal as an example. Say we want to simply display a feed from Reuters as shown in our first picture here.
To create a portlet for use in IBM WebSphere Portal, a developer is going to use IBM Rational Application Developer (already a heavy-weight tool), create a new project using a wizard, fill in some details about the portlet, like name, Java version, etc. and then hit go. RAD will do a nice job of building the portlet shell with all the right components set up. These components include xml files, TLD files, libraries or references, file folders and start JSP files. Already, we have a lot of code to manage.
Once I put in my custom code, I then have to build the project, create a .war file, and then deploy it to WebSphere Portal. After its deployed, I can create a portal page, and my new portlet and I’m all set. In most IT shops, build and deploy to production can take weeks or months just because IT has to control the changes to production very tightly.
If I’m a business guy who just wants a very simple portlet, this makes portal look heavyweight to me, but its likely the process than the technology.
So how to fix this?