JBoss Adds Gadgets

Red Hat  is on a mission to improve the portal experience with the release today of its JBoss Portal 2.6 open source portal software.

The new release is all about making it easier to work with the portal as Red Hat ramps up its development efforts in the fight for portal supremacy.

“JBoss 2.6 brings some significant improvements both from a developer stand point and from an end user standpoint,” Ram Venkataraman, director of product management JBoss (a division of Red Hat), told i>internetnews.com. “Portal is not just a developer product. It’s something that [the] end user interacts with.”

From a developer standpoint, Venkataraman identified better identity management integration, including out of box integration for LDAP , as a key feature improvement in JBoss Portal 2.6.

Venkataraman also explained that JBoss developers did a lot of work on the usability aspect of the portal application with the goal of reducing the number of keystrokes and mouse clicks needed to execute various tasks.

To that end, JBoss has provided simple drag and drop integration of Google Gadgets for portal 2.6. Google Gadgets are mini applications that take advantage of the Google Gadgets API  to appear on a desktop or in a portal application like JBoss Portal. Venkataraman noted that JBoss did not have any formal agreements with Google in order to provide the Google Gadgets integration. He explained the integration was fairly straight forward since it’s all JavaScript on the client side.

The JBoss Portal 2.6 release is the first release since Red Hat’s release of its flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 earlier this year. From the JBoss portal point of view it doesn’t really matter.

“JBoss as a division of Red Hat will deploy equally well on top of all operating systems,” Venkataraman said.

Moving forward the plan is to further improve usability for JBoss Portal.

“Usability was one of the prime focuses in 2.6 and we are not done,” Venkataraman said. “We still have more work to do and you’ll see more work in 2.8.”

Among the enhanced features expected to be officially included in the 2.8 release will also be additional Ajax functionality that JBoss acquired earlier this year from Exadel and recently open sourced. RichFaces and Ajax4jsf are frameworks for building Ajax applications on top of Java Server Faces technologies. Venkataraman explained that the two technologies are included in the experimental section of JBoss Portal 2.6.

“Today customers can’t build Ajax portlets and what we’re going to work toward is integration in version 2.8.”

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