By Connie Winkler  |  Posted 2005-05-23 Print this article Print

Today's enterprise portals are polished, professional machines—a breed apart from their scruffy skunk-works ancestors.

All Grown Up

In a similar way, portal software products—from vendors such as BEA Systems, IBM, Microsoft, Plumtree, Oracle, SAP and Vignette—are becoming more standardized and sophisticated. They're offering new standards for connecting to other systems. One example is the Web Services for Remote Portlets, a specification maintained by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, an industry consortium. This lets a portal developer plug in a data feed from a third party (say, current stock price information) to a subsection of a Web page (a "portlet").

Portal applications are also providing a broader set of infrastructure services that can create personalized sites—for instance, letting individuals customize their view of information on a Web page.

At a time when spending on new information-technology projects is under scrutiny, portals are a relatively quick and easy way to deliver new applications that pull data from existing information systems. Businesses are "looking for ways to leverage the services they have and build new applications out of them," says Craig Roth, an independent analyst and former Meta Group researcher.


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