By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2006-04-03 Print this article Print

Given the inherent nature of open-source technologies, especially J2EE, it shouldnt be surprising that the JBoss portal uses many of the same underlying technologies that Jetspeed does, including many core Apache technologies. But the JBoss portal also uses numerous other core JBoss technologies, such as the Hybernate relational persistence technology and, of course, the JBoss application server.

When we launched JBoss, which takes just minutes to get up and running, we could instantly tell that this is a portal product heavily weighted toward managing content and facilitating group collaboration.
Among the tools included for these capabilities is a full-on CMS (content management system) layer with all the built-in content editing and versioning features that entails.

Click here to read a review of Apache Software Foundations Jetspeed-2. Using the integrated CMS Manager, we could easily upload content to the portal or create it in our browser using the pretty good WYSIWYG editor included with the portal. The product does automatic versioning for this content, providing access to past edits. Probably most impressive is the support for friendly URLs within the portal, making it possible to avoid long, nonsensical addresses for content within the portal.

Administration of the JBoss portal is done through highly interactive and graphically pleasing management interfaces within the portal. Often, we find that the more graphically pleasing a management interface is, the higher the initial learning curve, and JBoss was no exception. We went through an initial period of a lot of trial clicking to figure out how to do certain tasks, but once we figured out the management interface, it proved capable for any task we needed to carry out.

Like Jetspeed, JBoss uses the standard user, group and role model for managing access and permissions within the portal. Permissions are applied to specific content throughout the portal, with standard access, read and editing rights allowed.

The underlying architecture of the JBoss portal is very sound, and, like Jetspeed, JBoss supports multiple Web application frameworks, including Struts, MyFaces and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML). Standards support overall was very good, especially for several key Java standards, including Java Management Extensions.

JBoss Portal comes with an assortment of prebuilt portlets, providing good out-of-the-gate functionality. The portlet swap site is still in the early stages but could become a good outlet for companies to share and find useful portlets for their portal implementations.

Probably the biggest advantage JBoss has over many other open-source portal implementations is that JBoss itself is a full software company that can offer the multiple levels of support that enterprises expect for software running in their infrastructures.

To download JBoss Portal, go to www.jboss.com/products/jbossportal .

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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