ObjectWeb adds portal content management middleware

The ObjectWeb Consortium added portal, content and business process management elements to the stack of open source middleware projects it promotes, potentially providing businesses with access to cheaper technology, members of the group announced Tuesday.

The three projects are an enterprise portal contributed by eXo Platform SARL; the Byline collaborative content management tool formerly known as Red Hat CCM, contributed by Red Hat; and MOBE, a business process execution engine with support for the BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) specification, developed by Dutch company eMaxx. ObjectWeb first announced plans to add MOBE to the software stack in September.

ObjectWeb is probably best known for its involvement with Jonas, the open source J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) application server, but its work encompasses around 50 open source projects including workflow utilities and message-oriented middleware.

Like many commercial portal tools, the eXo portal software is certified to comply with Sun Microsystems Inc.'s JCP168 portlet specification. The advantage of this is that an element of a portal -- be it a stock ticker, or a tool for booking tickets -- developed for one JCP168-compliant platform can be reused on another, meaning that businesses are not tied to one particular vendor, according to Benjamin Mestrallet, chief executive officer of eXo Platform.

Using open source modules instead of commercial alternatives -- even standards-based ones -- could save businesses money, according to Mestrallet. While the integration costs will be the same, using open source alternatives eliminates the cost of the software license, he said.

The arrival of the three new elements of the ObjectWeb software stack opens up new possibilities, according to Christophe Ney, ObjectWeb's executive director. "The ObjectWeb code base now covers all the technologies needed to provide an alternative to WebLogic, WebSphere or Oracle portals," Ney said.

Although the source code for the three new modules is now available from the ObjectWeb site, there is no integration among them yet, according to Ney.

That integration will come as the developers behind the various projects work more closely together, according to Mestrallet.

"The market is going towards an integrated platform, which is both a portal and a content management system," he said.

The eXo portal platform and Red Hat's Byline content management system have many overlapping functions, he noted. However, Byline and Exo have different strengths, so to make the best of both, "We have been discussing ways to provide common code with developers at Red Hat," Mestrallet added.

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