Sybase Seeks to Ease Portal Projects

With Enterprise Portal 5.0, Sybase hopes to reduce complexity of developing, deploying and maintaining portals.

Sybase Inc. will open its TechWave 2002 conference in San Diego on Monday with announcements on the next release of its portal software and additional application development support in its mobile and embedded database.

Sybase during the conference will announce plans for a beta version of its next portal release, Enterprise Portal 5.0, slated to begin Aug. 15, with general availability expected in October, said officials at the Dublin, Calif., company.

With the Enterprise Portal 5.0 release, Sybase is focusing on reducing the complexity of developing, deploying and maintaining portals by introducing capabilities to build portlets, or active components within portal pages—without manual coding.

The goal is to "reduce the time and cost associated with portal projects," said Haridas Nair, director of product marketing and management for Sybase Enterprise Portal. "We have now enabled building portlets without programming."

The release will include a feature called Portal Studio, which will allow developers to create portlets from a graphical user interface, route them for appropriate approval and share them among users, he said. End users as well can add their own custom portlets to their portal view. Both capabilities come from a feature called "one click capture" built into its Portal Framework, which Sybase officials say is unique among portal vendors.

The next portal release also will add support for IBMs WebSphere and BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic.

Also on Monday, Sybase will announce further application development support for SQL Anywhere Studio, the mobile database software from its iAnywhere Solutions Inc. subsidiary. At TechWave, iAnywhere will be demonstrating its latest integration of SQL Anywhere Studio with Borland Software Corp.s JBuilder application development tool for Java. The move comes after iAnywhere has built support for mobile and handheld application development across the C/C++, Java, PowerBuilder and VisualBasic environments.

"One of the things customers consistently have told us is that we need to be able to work very easily with the development tools they work with to create mobile and handheld applications," said Chris Kleisath, director of engineer at iAnywhere.

Beyond development support, iAnywhere will roll out a new partner program during the conference. It is expanding its partner efforts by adding categories for channel resellers, such as integrators, value-added resellers and distributors, and for technology partners that dont sell its products, such as mobile service providers and hardware makers. Much of the companys efforts to date have been on working with 700 partners embedding the SQL Anywhere Studio database into their products, said Shirley Macbeth, iAnywhere director of marketing.

The goal with the expanded iAnywhere Solutions Alliance Program is to increase the number of reseller partners—now about 1000—by 25 percent over the course of a year, Macbeth said.

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