Choosing a Global Software Development Partner to Accelerate Your Digital Strategy
To be successful and outpace the competition, you need a software development partner that excels in exactly the type of digital projects you are now faced with accelerating, and in the most cost effective and optimized way possible.
IBM continues to build out and up with their portal. I had the chance to get a sneak preview at the Portal Excellence conference and when talking to Rob Will, Chief Architect and Bill Swatling, Chief Product Manager. Overall, I like where they are going with it. Here’s a couple features that I find cool.
- It’s a true upgrade. It can be installed on an existing portal without a lot of effort. You won’t have to install it clean and then do a migration. For those of you who have done previous upgrades before, you know how nice that is.
- They are putting a web analytics framework in place and partnering with Omniture, Web Trends, and Core Metrics to do so. I see more and more customer facing portals and more demand to know what’s happening in the portal. Because things happen in portlets, or at a sub-page level, you can just see a page delivered and know what’s really happening.
- They have a new simplified theme that looks pretty good and is very easy to use when building new portal pages. It even uses div instead of table and rows. I know more than one html designer who will be happy to hear that.
- Much tighter integration between the content management tool (WCM) and WebSphere Portal. They have the concept of a content page template and a new JSR 286 WCM portlet. OK, the portlet has been out for a while but it’s still a step up. With the deeper integration comes better support for in context search, support for web 2.0 theme, and better caching. This is all good stuff. I’m going to be interested in learning how this will modify the release management approach. Currently, we have a portal page release management process and a more automated WCM content publish. With portal being tied more closely to the page and page creation, I see the two merging. However, that may cause some fun with those who view the production environment as sacrosanct. I see a bit of a clash between business and IT as they re-configure the process.
- The inclusion of the Ephox rich text editor is not new but the new doc picker that links to the portal document library is and I like it. It makes it really easy to access documents already in a library and make it accessible via WCM
- New WCM templates. They have out of the box blog, comment, and wiki templates. Those templates are easy to access from the new page builder so you can consume or create these things almost on the fly.
- Much better virutalization and farms support. Farms are just sets of portal instances that aren’t clustered and don’t share session information
So that’s a short list. You should note one thing. While there were some portal framework enhancements, there were a lot more tools for portal just dropped in. It fits a theme of making it easier to use and manage. It’s also something I’ve been hoping to see for a while. For anyone interested, you can get the portal next beta pretty easily by going to the Portal Next page.