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Digital Transformation

Top Portlet Catalogs

Since portals are very comfortable with the concept of extending a site using portlets, web parts, or widgets; having a portlet catalog or app store seems to be a no brainer.  I actually posted on this about a year and a half ago lamenting how poor the various vendors have done in giving solutions.  The good news is that we are seeing progress on many fronts. The bad news is that they still have a ways to go.  Apple’s app store has primed the pump to get the vendors to think in terms of a true app store.  Here’s what has to happen in order to make a portal app store work.

  1. Vendors need to buy off an an app store concept.   This goes beyond the simple lists and catalogs that exist today.
  2. Vendors that support the same standards (JSR 286 anyone…..) need to define how to make an app store download and easily install.  I have no illusions about how hard that will be.  When you have different databases, functionality, etc; it wont’ be a one day type of effort.
  3. Vendors need to do a better job of getting portlets/web parts/apps out there. In other words, help third party developers know there is opportunity here.  The new app stores in the mobile world that provide ecommerce and install functionality in one nice, neat box give great incentives to third parties. 

Now that said, today’s solutions are still much better than I saw a year and a half ago.  I would try to make a top 6 list but catalogs don’t work that way.  Many of them are specific to a vendor.  So here is my initial list in no particular order:

  1. IBM Solutions Catalog
  2. Liferay Catalog
  3. Sharepoint Third Party Product & Solutions Directory
  4. Sharepoint Product Reviews
  5. JBoss Portlet Catalog
  6. SyncEx Portlet Catalog

Vendor Agnostic SyncEx

SyncEx provides a variety of portlets that range from a bunch of blog display and admin portlets to calendar to events to forums.  They are all JSR 168 compliant and so, can be used with IBM, Weblogic, SAP, JBoss, and Liferay portals.  I’ve seen them around for at least four years and they’ve continued to build out their solutions.  If you need anything from their list, it might be worth taking a look at buying these instead of building your own.

IBM’s Portlet Catalog

IBM recently went through a complete refresh on their portlet catalog and it’s much better than it used to be. They also made a decision to make sure it stays refreshed by making the catalog the default place for all their new functionality.  You will find a variety of portlets and templates like:

  • New JSR 286 WCM portlet
  • Check list portlet
  • Universal Task List portlet
  • Various WCM templates
  • Page templates

Anyone who uses WebSphere Portal and/or WCM should keep an eye on this catalog.

Microsoft’s Sharepoint Catalogs

Microsoft doesn’t have any official catalog or location to list out Sharepoint or MOSS solutions.  This market seems to be quite large with a ton of companies offering Sharepoint solutions.  No one catalog will ever host all the solutions and many times, you are better off using Bing or Google to search for specific solutions.  That said, I was able to find two sites that seem to do a decent job of tracking a variety of solutions.

Sharepoint Product Reviews

Sharepoint Product Reviews has a categorized list of products or solutions that numbers around 600 different applications you can run or use to manage Sharepoint.  It’s very well organized and formatted.

Sharepoint Third Party Product and Solutions Directory

This catalog takes a blog and tagging approach to the directory. Many of the solutions in the catalog can also be found in the product reviews although this catalog seems to be a little bit smaller.  Based on recent posts in November, it is an actively managed site.

Liferay Catalog

We’ve known Liferay as the open source portal with a lot of out of the box functionality for a while.  They host an active wiki wtih a lot of articles and you can find a large number of portlets.   They even have a few portlets built for liferay by third party companies.   If you use Liferay portal, this is a great place to start.

JBOSS Enterprise Portal Platform

JBoss’ portal has undergone significant changes and have added in a lot of out of the box functionality of late.  I’m intrigued by their approach to personalization and managing of content and the portal together.  They have a small catalog with a list of portlets.  I would bet that over time, the out of the box portlets and functionality will increase with this portal.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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