Google, BEA in enterprise portal mashup talks

BEA's chief says businesses understanding that "culturally, there is a new generation of communications."

Google and BEA Systems are in talks about partnering on a new initiative that will let organizations create mashups between enterprise portals and applications such as Google Maps.

As part of the partnership, BEA will get access to some of Google's hidden application programming interfaces (APIs), which will allow developers to create mashups using a new technology feature in BEA's WebLogic Portal, called Adrenaline.

The Adrenaline technology enables portal applications to run on other Web sites outside the portal framework, using AJAX and iFrames Web development techniques, while still managing it as part of the portal.

Skip Sauls, senior product manager for WebLogic Portal at BEA, told Silicon.com: "It allows you to take those applications and expose them to a Web 2.0 front end but still manage them within the portal environment. It runs on the WebLogic Portal server, so you still have access to all the freedoms, personalization and security, but you can render in a different fashion."

BEA has been in talks with Google for "two to three weeks" and has been given access to hidden APIs, Sauls said. It is also looking at Yahoo for a similar initiative, but Sauls said no talks have yet started on that front.

Future WebLogic Portal releases will include additional tools around this as well as other Web 2.0 capabilities such as RSS, according to Sauls.

Meanwhile, BEA's founder, chairman and CEO, Alfred Chuang, told delegates at the company's European conference in Prague that MySpace-style virtual communities are coming to the enterprise.

He said: "There is no doubt that culturally there is a new generation of communications going on. If you grow up with the virtual space you won't think of it any other way. I think the same thing is going to happen on the enterprise side."

But Chuang said service-oriented architecture (SOA) will be key to businesses being able to embrace these new technologies and ways of working.

He said: "I think there is some critical crossover point that has to happen for the enterprise to experience the same thing. With such tight integration between process and function it is impossible. You are coding to the specs of the business."

James Governor, an analyst at RedMonk, told Silicon.com that enterprise software vendors can't afford not to respond to the threat posed by the likes of Google.

Governor said: "We expect the same kind of experience from enterprise technology as consumer Web sites. Given (that)expectations are changing, that is something enterprise software is going to have to meet. BEA and others need to respond to the richness of organizations like Google. If you want to create mashups between enterprise and outside data we are going to need technology like this."

Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.

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