Open Source Portals Gaining Ground

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Open source enterprise portal packages are seeing substantial uptake in the marketplace, but vary broadly in features and usability, and tend to target a limited set of simple scenarios, according to the latest semi-annual release of the Enterprise Portals Report from independent analyst firm, CMS Watch.With the growth of open-source Java application servers, CMS Watch has found prospective portal customers taking a longer look at open source portals as well.Those customers are finding that open source alternatives can provide an acceptable platform for simple standards-compliant portlets, but may not yet be capable for more complex transactional, process-oriented scenarios."The main driving force behind increased adoption of open source portals is still the initial licensee savings," according to Lead Report Analyst, Janus Boye."There is also a greater sense that community support may trump commercial support, but open source portal adopters often have to work harder to recreate features found out-of-the-box in commercial alternatives," adds Boye.The Enterprise Portals Report was released earlier this month by CMS Watch, an independent analyst firm that evaluates content technologies and strategies for prospective solutions buyers.Based on hundreds of interviews with enterprise portal customers worldwide, the 2nd Edition includes detailed comparisons across 16 key feature categories, as well as evaluations of product suitability for 7 enterprise portal scenarios. A new "Open Source Edition" compares 5 open source portal vendors head to head: eXo, Jetspeed, JBoss, Liferay, and Plone.Pricing begins at $925 for the entire report or $350 for individual vendor chapters. Those of you not ready to spring for the full report can download a 25-page report samplefor free.Other Report findings include:* Open source portal packages tend to excel at scenarios emphasizing web application development and simpler informational portals.They tend not to fit well for more complex, transactional or process-oriented portals and also offer less in the way of pre-packaged integration capabilities.* All the major open source portal platforms are based on Java, with the exception of Plone, a Python-based alternative.There are no significant Microsoft-based open source portal packages to challenge Office SharePoint.* Community size and vibrancy varies substantially among open source portal projects.Established projects like Liferay can boast highly dynamic communities, while Apache Jetspeed and Red Hat JBoss Portal have yet to gain significant developer traction.* Sun is in the midst of releasing its portal offering into open source.Sun's portal is now free of charge, but not all of the source code has been made available yet.The new Edition of the Enterprise Portals Report -- designed to help enterprises make faster and better buying decisions -- provides 8 to 16-page comparative product surveys of 15 enterprise portal products as well as information about 6 other packages across 3 product categories.Vendors covered include ATG, BEA, Broadvision, Microsoft, Oracle, Vignette, IBM, Red Hat/JBoss, SAP, Sun, Apache, eXo, Liferay, and Plone/Zope. The report does not rank "best" vendors, but instead details the strengths and weaknesses of the various suppliers, identifies their suitability for different use cases, and isolates vendor tendencies that may influence long term product roadmaps. Click here to learn more or download a sample of the report.