The rise of JavaServer technology, XML and Web services, all of which have been adopted by major portal vendors, has made it easier to move portlets among portals.
But developing in portals can still be a problem, especially with standard tool sets. Many portals have excellent development environments, but these can be hard for some developers to learn.
Bowstreet has worked to address this problem with its Portlet Factory 5.8, which provides easy-to-learn uniform development tools for creating portlets. Version 5.8, released in March, can work with any portal that supports Java Specification Request 168, a portlet spec for standardized design and development.
This means Portlet Factory 5.8 will work with any portal that supports JSR 168—currently, several from top portal vendors—and should probably encompass most of them in the near future.
The tool runs inside the WebSphere Studio or the Eclipse development environment. In my tests, it proved helpful for creating and editing complex portlets, which I could then easily deploy to my portals. However, experienced developers comfortable in their environments may not find it necessary, especially given the price, which starts at $6,000 per developer seat.
Those wishing to find out if Portlet Factory 5.8 is worth the cost in their portal development can download a 60-day evaluation at www.bowstreet.com.