Standards for web services-enabled portals nearly done

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Two key technology standards that link Web services to portals are a step closer to final approval by their respective standards bodies, industry sources said.

JSR 168, the standard for remote portals out of the Java Community Process (JCP), recently went into final draft, which means it should be finalised in the next 30 days, according to a Sun Microsystems spokeswoman from the JCP, which creates and oversees Java standards.

JSR 168 defines a standard API to provide a common interface for aggregating several content sources and applications front ends into one portal, according to the JCP. Sun already provides support for JSR 168 in its beta of Sun ONE Portal Server 6.2, available now.

Meanwhile, the OASIS standards consortium this week has finalised the Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) standard, which is backed by BEA Systems, IBM, Oracle, Plumtree Software and others as a way to create remote portlets that are platform- and language-independent, according to sources familiar with OASIS' plans.

Though WSRP has been approved, OASIS won't formally announce the final standard until mid-September, sources said.

WSRP enables resellers aggregating application and information through portals to easily integrate Web services into portals without having to write adapters or code to communicate with the platform running the services, according to OASIS.

Since WSRP isn't tied to any specific language, it will work in tandem with JSR 168, said a Plumtree spokeswoman.

In fact, the spokeswoman said vendors supporting Java-based portals aim to make version 2.0 of JSR 168 compatible with WSRP.

To support Web services-enabled portal development, Plumtree Wednesday unveiled a set of development tools called the Plumtree Enterprise Web Development Kit, which provides developer tools for building personalised, interactive applications from Web services running on different platforms.

The kit includes sample code and documentation for Java and .Net development environments, as well as software that bridges incompatibilities between Web services, the Plumtree spokeswoman said.

Other vendors that support WSRP in products include BEA, IBM, Oracle, SAP and Vignette, according to OASIS.

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