Linux vendor Red Hat is updating its middleware solutions portfolio today with the JBoss Portal 6.1 release, integrating social media authentication capabilities via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter as well as enabling a new era of mobile devices.
As to why Red Hat is now providing the social media integration features, Christina Wong, senior product marketing manager at Red Hat, explained to eWEEK that it's all a matter of priorities.
"As part of our standard product management practice, we prioritize and sequence our development based on customer demand and alignment with the rest of our Red Hat JBoss Middleware portfolio," Wong said.
Wong noted that Red Hat launched JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) 6 last year with improvements to performance, usability and flexibility, and JBoss Portal 6.0 was based on JBoss EAP 6 technology. JBoss EAP 6.1 was released in June of this year, providing an incremental update to the platform.
"Lean portals in general tend to be popular for building self-service applications that focus on providing automated, customized service to customer, citizen and partner ecosystems through externally facing Websites," Wong said. "Integration with these popular social platforms is an important way for organizations to provide a seamless customer experience for their portal users."
The social integration with Facebook, Google+ and Twitter isn't all that complex either. Wong said that from a technology perspective, the authentication protocol used is the industry-standard OAuth 2.0 and 1.0a specifications. OAuth is an open protocol that is widely used as the underlying technology for authentication across Websites.
Another key new feature of the JBoss Portal 6.1 release is enhanced mobile capabilities. Now when users visit a portal site from a mobile device, they are automatically directed to the mobile version of the site.
With JBoss Portal 6.1, Red Hat is adding a few key mobile configurations for administrators. There are now rules that administrators can set up to detect characteristics like the form factor of the device and dictate whether the portal should load up the desktop version or a mobile version of the Website, Wong said. Red Hat has also included adaptive user interfaces, which enable the portal to render appropriate layouts for the page on the fly, using factors such as screen dimensions.
There are a lot of different choices available today for enterprises looking to share content online, including traditional content management systems (CMSes) as well as portals. Wong explained that enterprises building self-service Web applications have a few choices. They can purchase a whole stack user experience solution, they can build their own custom solution using a content-centric approach (with a CMS), or they can leverage the value of their existing systems with a standards-based lean portal.
"JBoss Portal is a flexible lean portal, so we see it being used when an organization has many existing systems, which may include CMS systems, that they want to integrate together to create their self-service application," Wong said.
From a competitive perspective, Wong said that the market as well as competition can be very diverse.
"JBoss Portal does still compete against large proprietary whole stack solutions like [Oracle] WebLogic and [IBM] WebSphere, but it also competes against other lean portal solutions and content management systems that have additional portal capabilities," Wong said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.