Study Says Portalmania is Rampant among Developers

With so much development effort focused on Internet-enabled applications, it's no surprise that many developers are focusing their efforts in this area. But, it seems, most effort at this point is directed at enterprise portal development.

A recent survey by Evans Marketing Services ( of 600 developers worldwide finds that more than 23 percent of software developers who do any Internet work are now spending 50 percent or more of their time working on corporate Web portals for internal use. This is more than twice as much as were working on any other category of Internet-related activities, including Web portals for external use and e-commerce.

"There's a huge amount of work being done today on Web projects internal to corporations," confirms Janel Garvin, vice president of research at Evans Marketing. In most cases, the internal portals are used for internal corporate communications, Garvin notes.

Overall, corporatewide applications ranked as the type of applications developers worked on most often, cited by 32 percent of respondents. Commercial applications consumed the time of 24 percent of this group, while 15.5 percent concentrated on outside custom applications. Only 14 percent reported working solely on standalone intranet or Web applications, reflecting the ubiquitousness of Web-enabled applications across the board. About 11 percent of respondents devote a majority of their time to e- commerce applications, and a like amount devote most of their time to developing external portals. "All the current excitement and activity devoted to e-commerce, B2B, and so on, is just the tip of the iceberg. The real body of Internet development is taking place right now behind the scenes as corporations discover how to use the Web to make their own operations more efficient. Most portals are never seen outside the individual corporate structure."

The survey also sought information in capabilities that were important in a framework for creating Web portals. The most popular capability, cited by 24 percent of respondents, was reusable Web portal components that could be stored, Garvin notes. "It's clear that there's a good market for such components."

Another 20 percent of respondents expressed interest in having a single standard API for Web portal development. Likewise, 20 percent sought security services that could support their portal development efforts.

In addition, the study found that 56 percent of all developers expressed interest in a suite of tools and ready-made Web portal infrastructure for Java.