Sybase Revamps Enterprise Portal

Enterprise Portal 5.0 matched with new rapid development environment.

Sybase Inc. this week announced version 5.0 of its Enterprise Portal (EP) product. A fourth-generation product, EP 5.0 is designed to facilitate rapid deployments and boasts improved integration with packaged applications from PeopleSoft and other vendors.

Sybase first shipped EP 1.0 in early 2000, followed by EP 2.0 in early 2001. An interim release, EP 2.5, followed in early 2002.

Why the quantum leap in versioning from EP 2.5 to EP 5.0? According to Sybase director of product marketing Haridas Nair, the latest EP revision adds several new features and functions, not the least of which is Portal Studio, an integrated development environment that lets business-class (and even unskilled) users build custom portal views. "With 5.0, our focus was on reducing the complexity, and our focus has been to not only make it easy for the end user, but also for the administrator and developer. This is a paradigm shift because now the IT person can sit next to the business person and build the portal very quickly, and that time is compressed."

Portal Studio facilitates portal deployment and maintenance in a single point-and-click environment. It makes it possible for developers and business-class users to rapidly develop portlets—or windowed content on a portal page—by grabbing content from Java Server Pages, other Web sites, and corporate databases. Nair says, "We wanted to give users the ability to build most portlets without knowing how to write code."

Although EP 5.0 boasts connectors to many packaged applications, including PeopleSoft, it doesn't facilitate integration with legacy or custom applications. It ships with its own application server (Sybase Enterprise Application Server) but can interoperate with J2EE application servers from IBM Corp. (WebSphere) and BEA Systems (WebLogic), as well.

Another EP 5.0 feature, Portal Framework, exploits technology that Sybase picked up when it acquired OnePage earlier this year. Portal Framework is designed to allow end users to rapidly aggregate existing Web content into custom portal views of their own, Nair says.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.