Open Source Portal Servers – GridSphere

July 5, 2005 – 16:13 | java

This is the second installment on my effort to evaluate popular open source JSR168 portal servers. See the first one for more background.

Gridsphere 2.0.3: I like the way GridSphere is packaged. There are two separate packages. GridSphere Portal Framework provides the framework and core services, while Grid Portlets collects a set of additional features that are more specifically geared towards working in the OGCE environment. If you are looking for a minimalist portlet framework that is capable of running in a servlet container, GridSphere seems an ideal choice.

Building and installing GridSphere is faily straightforward – just run “ant install” and everything is ready to run. There are some extra steps to configure the database if you don’t want to use the embeded hsqldb. While trying to start tomcat, I did run into a problem with castor complaining

  1. java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: org/apache/xml/serialize/XMLSerializer

After copying XercesImpl.jar into tomcat’s shared/lib directory and restarting the server, everything works fine. I do find it a bit annoying that the installation procedure puts all the 3rd party jars (minus XercesImpl.jar that is) into tomcat’s shared/lib. To make the matter slightly worse, the installation script doesn’t warn before doing that, which could have become a problem had I been deploying into a tomcat instance where there are already other jars in the directory.

The interfaces are neat and easy to use. Rendering is smooth even with the default build settings – meaning no pre-compiled jsps. Resource consuming appears to be on the light side, which is expected as there isn’t a lot of portlets out of the box.

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