Open Source Portal Servers – Jetspeed

July 6, 2005 – 13:07 | java

Tried out Jetspeed today. See here for the background of this series of evaluation and some other products I have gone through so far.

Apache Jetspeed 2.0 M3: this is actually my second attempt to get Jetspeed running. The first one was partially successful. I managed to build the source distribution, and got the portal up and running, but kept getting errors when trying access some of the portlets (RSS and the jPetstore for example). So I decided to go easy on myself for once ;-) and started over from scratch with the binary distro that comes with a pre-configured Tomcat 5.5.9. This time around it was pretty smooth – I made it within 10 minutes. Some of the portlets still came back with exceptions like ” Invalid portlet entity ts-1″.

Most portlets included are demos on various capabilities of Jetspeed. There are simple portlets such as “Guess Number”, more complex ones like a database record browser and the jPetStore, or some bridges that let you aggregate content generated by non-Java programs like perl or php. There is even an iFrame portlet which can be used to show virtually any other web site(now I don’t know if it’s practical most of the time to look at a web page design for 1024×768 through a peephole’ish portlet window, but hey the functionality is there and it sounds cool at least). If you log in with the ‘admin’ account, you get to see the administrative portlets, which is by far the most complete and practically useful portion in Jetspeed. You can easily manage all the aspects of the portal with these portlets.

Page rendering is fairly smooth. I don’t see page flipping between window state changes. You can change how the portlets are laid out visually by clicking on the “edit” icon and then using the arrow buttons to move the portlets around. I did run into some quirks while doing that though. After saving the layout changes I made, the page didn’t show up accordingly, but rather had one of the portlets randomly moved across to another column.

Memory wise, after the application started up, Tomcat reported “Free memory: 98.78 MB Total memory: 127.06 MB”. After I have touched pretty much every portlet I could find, it got down to “Free memory: 52.94 MB”.

In general, I can’t say Jetspeed has been very impressive, considering it carrying the “Apache brand name”. Most other Apache products I have worked with would have been nicely rounded up by their 2.0 release [update: I should certainly point out that the version I evaluated is only M3, not a release (as in other products in this series)]. While the potential is there, there is also lots of polish work to do – I mean, it certainly doesn’t look good if the “Test Suite Page” breaks out of the box with error like:

Failed to retrieve Portlet Definition for testsuite::TestPortlet1org.apache.jetspeed.container.window.FailedToRetrievePortletWindow: No PortletEntity exists for for id ts-1 removing window from cache.Failed to retrieve Portlet Definition for testsuite::TestPortlet1″

One plus with Jetspeed I should point out is that it runs on top of Pluto, which is the reference implementation of JSR168. So when the Jetspeed folks claim to be 100% JSR168 compliant, you can take their word for it.

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  1. 3 Responses to “Open Source Portal Servers – Jetspeed”

  2. The error above might be because the portlet isnot being registered in the HSQL db that comes with it. i was facing the same problem. check your Web.xml and make sure you have the display app name tag and no other tags there.

    By Piyush Hari on Jul 22, 2005

  3. So have you made a pick out of the portal servers that you evaluated? If so, which one did you pick and why?

    Looking forward to your response.

    best regards,

    By Egu on Nov 7, 2005

  4. I went with both liferay and jetspeed 2, with liferay being the primary platform, because it’s got lots of features working out of box. I still cross test my portlets on jetspeed 2 though, just to be more confident on the jsr168 compliance front.

    I guess which one to choose really depends on what you are looking for. If you want a portal server working right away, definitely liferay. On the other hand, if you need to develop lots of jsr168 portlets, jetspeed 2 is better in terms of being a jsr168 container.


    By Jing Xue on Nov 9, 2005

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