New Tools Ease Portal Development

Bowstreet enables quick creation of portlets for WebSphere; Sun product delivers VPN security.

Bowstreet Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. are among several vendors looking to ease the development, deployment, management and security of portals.

Netegrity Inc. and Interwoven Inc. last week also rolled out portal development products.

At Gartner Inc.s ITxpo in Orlando, Fla., Bowstreet announced its Bowstreet Portlet Factory for WebSphere, which enables developers to quickly create portlets that plug in to IBMs WebSphere Portal Server. Officials with the Portsmouth, N.H., company said the product eases development within the IBM portal environment and reduces the complexity of the Java 2 Enterprise Edition platform when building portlets. It uses profiles or templates to cut development time for portlets.

Catherine Marchand, e-business strategy manager at DuPont Performance Coatings, a division of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., in Wilmington, Del., said that using Bowstreets technology "is as simple as assembling a set of Lego blocks. We will be able to do tailored variations of our site for new customers and offer those customers the ability to do the same for their own customers. For DPC, this will be a substantial competitive advantage."

One analyst said Bowstreets technology is an alternative to prepackaged portal solutions with canned portlets that are not easily modified.

"In the portal market, part of what IBM has been beaten up on is that its portal solution has been too technical," said Nate Root, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., in Cambridge, Mass. "The competitive disadvantage has been very apparent between them and BEA [Systems Inc.]," which has touted the ease of use of its portal solution.

Meanwhile, Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif., last week announced Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) Portal Server, Secure Remote Access 6. The new product includes authentication and delivers the security of a virtual private network, company officials said.

Netegrity, of Waltham, Mass., unveiled PortalMinder, which features workflow technology for automating business process management. PortalMinders workflow engine provides document workflow capabilities and automates common business tasks, the company said.

Netegrity has licensed and embedded Insession Technologies Inc.s workflow engine, WorkPoint, as the basis for its workflow support. Insession is a division of Transaction Systems Architects Inc., of Omaha, Neb.

Root said that while Netegrity is facing stiff competition in the portal space, business process automation and management are important factors in the future of portals.

Hitting the portal space from the lower end, Interwoven, of Sunnyvale, Calif., announced TeamPortal for WebSphere. The product is designed to enhance content management capabilities for IBMs WebSphere Portal-Express portal environment for departmental and small- and midsize- business users.

Interwoven said TeamPortal for WebSphere will enable developers to get their portal solutions up quickly and manage overall content. It features keyword search capability and portlet development support, the company said.