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BEA bulks up Web portals

First it bought Plumtree; now the software infrastructure company fills out its portfolio of Web development and collaboration tools.

BEA Systems on Wednesday detailed forthcoming tools from its new Aqualogic line and said it will combine its two Web portals products.

The software infrastructure company paid about $200 million in August for Plumtree Software, which sells software to build Web portal applications. BEA has another portal tool set, WebLogic Portal, which is primarily for Java programmers.

At a BEA customer conference in Beijing, China, BEA outlined how it will combine the Plumtree and WebLogic Portal software. Ultimately, the company expects to have a unified product line so customers can build Web interfaces for both Java and Microsoft .Net servers.

By the first half of next year, BEA intends to make it easier to run the same portal applications, or portlets, in either Web portal server, WebLogic Portal or Aqualogic User Interaction, the rebranded Plumtree software.

In the second half of 2006, BEA plans to release a series of products that will allow customers to use portal capabilities in a range of Web applications. The products will use a common set of front end-related services, such as collaboration search and analytics.

By 2007, BEA said it plans to unify its portal products into a single product to manage portal and "composite," or modular, applications which will run on Microsoft's Windows .Net servers and Java application servers.

BEA also described portal-oriented Aqualogic products under development. The Aqualogic line, launched earlier this year, is aimed at technical business analysts or software architects who can make build or modify Java applications without having to write code.

In the second half of 2006, BEA said it will add three products to the Aqualogic User Interaction line, including a tool to build collaborative applications without a Web portal server; an enterprise-oriented wiki for jointly designing and building applications; and a "knowledge management" repository for classifying information stored in content management applications or file systems.

Separately, BEA is expected to announce that it will ship WebLogic Real Time Edition in early 2006, a version of its application server designed for high levels of reliability and performance. The company also intends to release its JRockit 5.0 Java virtual machine on Wednesday.