IBM, Hummingbird Launch New Portal Applications

IBM Corp. and Hummingbird have launched portalapplications to improve access to corporate data and end-user customization.

Yesterday, IBM said it had made good on its commitmentto combine the features of its various portal products into a single softwareline. “We have completed our convergence efforts,” said Larry Bowden, vicepresident of e-portal solutions at IBM. According to Bowden, IBM’s portalofferings were tied to specific applications, such as DB2 or businessintelligence applications.

Bowden says the new Websphere Portal products are“horizontal” applications, that is they are not designed with a particularbusiness need in mind. Instead, the new line combines the functionality ofprevious portal servers to allow an enterprise to use a single product foraggregating data from a variety of sources. Not surprisingly, Websphere Portalrequires the Websphere application server.

IBM launched three new products in the Websphere Portalline: Websphere Portal Enable, Websphere Portal Extend, and Websphere PortalExperience. Websphere Portal Enable is the entry-level product, providing anengine for creating a home page with data from across the enterprise and end-usercustomization to ensure users can immediately find the data essential to theirjobs. Websphere Portal Extend adds collaboration features, such as instantmessaging, an online team room, and community creation, as well as added searchand Web analytics. Finally, Websphere Portal Experience adds security,application sharing, and enterprise-grade content management capabilities.

Tim Thatcher, program director or e-portal solutions, saysWebsphere Portal Enable is pure Java – it uses no Websphere code to operate. TheExtend and Experience products draw on the extended functionality of theWebsphere application server for their added features, so some native code isused. Thatcher said that IBM wants to make its portal server as compatible withmany products, so a clean use of Java was a priority.

IBM also announced partnerships with some ISVs tocreate what it terms “portlets.” Portlets are pre-fab bits of code to hook intoa third party application and define how the portal serves up data from theapplication. Partners announced yesterday include Documentum Inc, for contentmanagement; Brain Technologies Corp, for enterprise knowledge management; andCitirx Systems Inc., for server-based applications. Thatcher expects more ISVsto join the portlet partner program.

Hummingbird launched its PD Accord product, whichintegrates into its Hummingbird EIP portal. PD Accord is a collaboration toolthat helps workers share documents online and view project status reports. WithPD Accord users will see the progress of their projects when they view theirpersonalized portal page.