Plumtree Portals To Aid Web Services Devs

Portal leader Plumtree Software, fresh from word of its being purchased by BEA Systems, is bringing next-gen portal technologies to enterprise architects and developers. See how Plumtree plans to craft a portal that will offer a one-stop development platform for building or assembling enterprise composite apps in Java or .NET from a wide variety of backend assets.

Tags: Developers, EDK, Enterprise, Web Services, Devs, Integration Web Services, Backend,


Portal leader Plumtree Software, fresh from word of its being purchased by BEA Systems, is bringing next-gen portal technologies to enterprise architects and developers.

Devs will get an up-close chance to see the Plumtree EDK (Enterprise Developer Kit) at Plumtree's Odyssey user conference next month in Florida. where the new portal will be demonstrated as a one-stop development platform for building or assembling enterprise composite apps in Java or .NET from a wide variety of backend assets.

EDK: An SOA-Powered Dev Portal
Plumtree's EDK (Enterprise developer Kit) is designed to blend portal and web services technologies to more easily enable enterprise devs to design, build and deploy composite applications that bring together mid-tier Java and .NET assets with legacy code residing in backend ERP systems such as SAP, Siebel and PeopleSoft.

Plumtree's EDK is comprised of APIs, documentation and sample code, the EDK affords developers the unique ability to build portlets and Web services for the portal in both Java and .NET-based environments.

"We are now going beyond the basic portal model to deliver a development portal for building composite apps, which combines services from multiple backend systems into a definite application," Girish Balasubramanian, Plumtree's product line marketing manager told IDN. "Plumtree's EDK extensions provide enterprise application developers the blueprints for creating portlet based services to tap into back-end systems such as PeopleSoft, SAP and Siebel," Balasubramanian added.

In fact, Plumtree combines four (4) different types of web services engines into its developer portal: crawler, search, authentication and profile.

"These [engines] are constructed so the portal can consume whatever these services provide," Balasubramanian said. The authentication and profile components provide out-of-the-box authentication services by connecting to either an LDAP or Active Directory. Crawlers and search engines focus on enabling the developer to find and capture a variety transactional data elements.

All together, Plumtree is looking to bring developers an abstraction layer on top of all the various application elements he might need. "Our goal is to shield the developer from having to deal with every single application integration out there," Balasubramanian added.

Inside Plumtree's EDK
Plumtree's Enterprise Web Development Kit (EDK) is a set of APIs, documentation and sample code that work in both Java and .NET-based development environments, allowing devs to gain a SOA-aware front end to their current IDE. EDK provides a broad range of integration Web services that allow developers to integrate data and functionality from enterprise systems and provides shared application services for content management, search, collaboration and knowledge management.

Plumtree's EDK optimizes the core portal architecture for SOA developers with several key architectural enhacements, designed to make the portal an easy-to-manipulate front-end abstracted layer to backend code and aseets:

Among the key features of Plumtree's EDK are:

User Interface Tools
Plumtree's EDK supports customization of each composite application's user interface using a variety of web technologies, including .NET controls and JSPs. Plumtree EDK's UI tools allow custom navigation schemes, application and user event handling, inter-portlet communication and in-page portlet refresh. For extra control of source code, EDK also lets devs modify that code using a Model-View-Controller (MVC) approach, which allows devs to embed more than 30 core functions into applications using simple XML tags instead of complex code.

Web Services-Based Integration
Plumtree's EDK also allows developers to build their own portlets using a suite of "integration web services," which support deep integration with enterprise systems and repositories. These "integration web services" also are designed to help devs employ web services for a variety of complex backend interconnects, including (a) surfacing backend application functionality, (b) authenticating users against directories, (c) creating detailed user profiles for advanced personalization and expert location, (d) creating "crawl" repositories for key enterprise documents and information, and even (e) searching external repositories from within applications.

Remote APIs
Plumtree's EDK's remote APIs allow internal or external web services based systems to access apps and/or portal services. This approach to APIs means that devs can use the simple UI tools or coding approach to build bi-directional functionality into integration services. Further, apps and portlets can "query" other apps and services.




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