Oracle Sets Portal Testing Tool in Motion

Oracle Friday released a new Web services interoperability tool designed for corporate portals.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software giant’s new Oracle Portal Verification Service is structured around its 9i Application Server platform and includes the current draft specifications for the Web Services for Remote Portals (WSRP) from the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).

The online service is currently available free through the Portal Center on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN).

“We realize the challenges that our partners and customers have faced with portlet development and interoperability,” said Oracle vice president of Portals and Hosted Tools Marco Tilli. “We are moving quickly to support WSRP and JSR 168 in Oracle9i Application Server to address these issues, and we’re pleased to be able to offer the Portal Verification Service to help promote widespread adoption of new standards.”

The problem in the past, according to Oracle, is that developers who want to deliver their Web-based business applications and content services in enterprise portals must program custom adapters to mix in their portal components, called portlets, with each portal vendor’s server software. The workaround in this case are the proposed WSRP and JSR 168 specifications.

Built on such technologies as SOAP, UDDI and WSDL, WSRP services will allow remote portlet Web services to be implemented in such platforms as Java J2EE and Microsoft Corp.’s .NET. WSRP plans to harmonize with existing Web application programming models and the work of the W3C (e.g., XForms, DOM, XML Events, XPath, XLink, XML Component API task force).

The Portal Verification service will also allow for testing against the Java Specification Request (JSR) 168 standard upon final adoption by the Java Community Process (JCP). The request would define a set of APIs for Portal computing addressing the areas of aggregation, personalization, presentation and security.

Oracle has been heavily involved in both processes and is currently awaiting official review on its JSR 225 or “XQuery” definition that it recently submitted with IBM.

The company calls the two standards “compatible and complementary.”

“Oracle9i Application Server Portal uses Web service protocols, such as SOAP, to communicate within the portal environment. In addition, Oracle is designing its portlet environment to separate data from presentation, which will make them WSRP-ready both in spirit and implementation,” said David Marshak, senior vice president and senior consultant, Patricia Seybold Group.

As a second level of support, Oracle says its Oracle9i Application Server Portal Developer Kit can be used in tangent with its Portal Verification Service. The kit includes tools, code samples and documentation for building remote applications that support standards-based portlets. In this way, Oracle says developers building applications and services will support the new interoperability standards can take advantage of the or other vendors’ toolkits when they become available.