Firms Take on Web Services

Plumtree and Vignette adding collaborative applications to software.

Plumtree Software Inc. is rolling out technology that adds collaborative applications as Web services to its portal software. Collaboration Server, due this week, allows users of Plumtrees Corporate Portal software to share documents, schedule tasks and participate in discussions, company officials said.

Plumtree Studio Server, also due this week, allows Collaboration Server to present documents, deadlines, announcements and conversation threads to the portal as Web Services. Studio Server is a graphical environment for creating what the San Francisco company calls Gadget Web Services.

While some collaboration capabilities were already available in Plumtrees Corporate Portal 4.0 through the use of the Gadget Web Services technology, Collaboration Server is a separate application with its own database for storing project information and a separate administrative experience for managing projects, officials said.

Atlanta-based Kurt Salmon Associates Inc. has used the existing collaboration capabilities in Plumtree Portal Server, but the Collaboration Server beta that it tested adds capabilities such as team sharing and more robust discussion group support, said Infrastructure Manager Cullen McClure. It also sports better document management capabilities such as document sharing and version control, McClure said.

"It will allow us to remain focused on the project level, building a community of people and projects," McClure said. "I like the fact that its an extension of the Plumtree infrastructure. Its basically a plug-in; you dont need any third-party add-ons."

Each project in Collaboration Server is associated with a Plumtree Portal Community, and each object within a project is searchable, so portal users can quickly locate information within a project, officials said.

Through the portal interface, users can view calendars and assign tasks and milestones and share documents with version control, change notification, workflow, and check-in and check-out for editing.

In a similar vein, Vignette Corp., in Austin, Texas, is embracing the Web services delivery model for its flagship content management suite, Vignette V6, which the company announced last week.

Vignettes technology enhancement allows any content management process in V6 to be delivered as a Web service, company officials said.

Designed to share application function across networks, the Web services support in V6 includes XML Schema, Web Services Definition Language and Simple Object Access Protocol standards. There is also an XML Adapter Library.

The Web services support will allow customers to extend content management processes to users across the enterprise, repurpose and publish content, and reuse content management objects and processes in new Web applications, Vignette officials said.

Vignette has supported integration of content management processes with business applications, such as customer relationship management applications, for more than a year.

The Web services and XML adapter libraries are available now and included with Vignette V6 software licenses in Vignette Content Management Server Adapter.