Like most Apache projects, the Jetspeed portal leverages several other Apache projects and applications, including the Apache Web server, the Tomcat application server and the Maven software code management project. However, Jetspeed does not rely on these products exclusively.
eWEEK Labs tested Jetspeed running on Tomcat, but it will work with most any Java application server, from JBoss to IBMs WebSphere.
Jetspeed also supports pretty much any SQL database, including those from MySQL, Microsoft and Oracle. Jetspeed can be installed through a Jar-based installer, or those comfortable with Java commands and configuration tweaks can install the portal using source code.
At first glance, Jetspeed looks like most portal applications, with a customizable but standard modular interface. However, once we started delving into the administration tools, we were surprised by the richness of the capabilities that Jetspeed offers.
Administration tools are provided through portlets, and the user- and role-based controls were capable (based on the standard roles, groups, users and permissions model).
A welcome administration capability added to this release of Jetspeed is support for single sign-on, and we found it very easy to configure our Jetspeed portal to accept credentials and pass them on to a central authentication store .
Jetspeed has the standard hierarchical views for managing pages and portlets, making it simple to work on content within the portal.
It also includes a portlet called PALM (Portlet Application Lifecycle Management) that will be familiar to anyone who uses the graphical tools to manage applications with application servers such as JBoss. PALM allowed us to easily manage the deployment and run cycles of portlets within our Jetspeed portal.
Coming from Apache, we expected Jetspeed to be very open when it came to development technology, but Jetspeed-2 exceeded our expectations. It is one of the few portals that we have looked at that can easily accept portlets developed in multiple languages.
In addition to its ability to use Java-based portlets, Jetspeed can run portlets developed in PHP and Perl. Jetspeed can do this through its ability to support multiple Web application frameworks, including JSF (JavaServer Faces) and Struts.
Jetspeed has broad support for a variety of standards—including the basics for layout and design, such as CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and core portal technologies, such as the Java Portlet Standard.
Probably the biggest weakness of Jetspeed is in the documentation and support area. We found the documentation to be fairly sparse and incomplete, often neglecting to deal with even simple questions. There is a wiki site, but this was similarly sparse during our tests.
Jetspeed comes with a fairly small set of sample portlets, but they cover a relatively wide area of functionality. We found that the sample portlets helped us a great deal when it came to figuring out how to best develop for the platform.
Jetspeed-2 can be freely downloaded from portals.apache.org/jetspeed-2/.