Are the big boys like IBM a little worried about being left behind SharePoint in the enterprise content management (ECM) market? Seems enough so that they are working hard to implement solutions that help integrate with Microsoft's burgeoning content management offering.
IBM announced a new technology and global reseller agreement with partner Mainsoft that enables enterprise customers to blend Java and .NET technology. Of particular interest are the SharePoint Federator components.
Mainsoft Corporation specializes in creating cross-platform technologies for Java and .NET. With this agreement, IBM will sell Mainsoft's new solution .NET Extensions for WebSphere Portal.
Part of the .Net Extensions toolkit is the SharePoint Federator. This toolkit enabled SharePoint data to be made available in WebSphere Portal. It has two primary components:
SharePoint Federator Portlets
The portlets include a List Viewer and an Item Viewer. They incorporate secure access to SharePoint lists and document libraries.
Visual Studio-based SDK
The SDK is an add-on to Mainsoft's product Mainsoft Portal Edition which is an SDK that allows developers to create JSR 168 portlets in Visual Studio using ASP.NET 2.0, .NET Framework 2.0.
The SharePoint component to this includes the ability to create these portlets and composite applications to pull SharePoint data out of SharePoint and into the portlets/applications.
The SDK also enables WebSphere Portal to incorporate access to SharePoint sites with single sign capabilites in one of three ways:
- secure access to SharePoint sites directly in WebSphere itself
- to store the SharePoint credentials in WebSphere (captured using a portlet built with the SDK)
- use Active Directory Services by adding WebSphere to Active Directory
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad SharePoint?
Big Blue is clearly worried about the broad proliferation of SharePoint sites. They are cropping up in companies and departments everywhere. With the free Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) so easy to turn on, and departments needing a simple to use, cheap place to store documents and collaborate on work, it's no wonder they skip WebSphere to get their jobs done. So IBM, not wanting to get kicked completely to the curb needs an integration story for all these SharePoint data stores.
But it doesn't look like IBM is the only big boy scared of the SharePoint craze. It seems the Open Source community may also be a little concerned about loosing market share to the mighty marketing machine that is Microsoft.
The OSS community is banding together to produce a team of products that can compete with SharePoint's relative domination. Will this merry band of brothers outwit the evil Sheriff? Stay tuned and enjoy the show.