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Oracle readies portal-building tools

The company releases an early version of a toolkit to speed up the process of building standards-based portal applications, or portlets.

Oracle on Wednesday released an early version of its software toolkit that allows developers to create standardized applications to run in Java-based Web site portals.

The company said that its portal-building tools adhere to two recently completed Java portal and Web services standards, called Java Specification Request (JSR) 168 and Web Services Remote Portlets (WSRP). The "preview release," or early version, of Oracle's portal tools works with Oracle's portal server software, which delivers information to business users via a browser.

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Companies typically use corporate portal software to aggregate data from several applications, such as sales and order management systems, and present it in a single Web browser interface.

The Java standard is designed to allow portal applications to run on Java server software from many providers. Applications that work with the WSRP guidelines use data formatted with XML (Extensible Markup Language) to share information between different applications across a network. The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) develops and controls the WSRP specification.

The Oracle toolkit includes two components. A "portlet container" acts as an add-on to Oracle's Application Server to run portal applications, or portlets, that comply with the JSR 168 standard. A "portlet wizard" runs with Oracle's JDeveloper programming tools to speed up the process of constructing portlets.

Oracle said the company's support for the standards will help ensure interoperability between portals and make software easier to maintain. Oracle competes with companies including IBM, BEA Systems and Sun Microsystems, which also provide standards-based Java server software.

"Our new portlet development and testing tools will help developers deliver applications and content to a wider audience, making it easier for our customers to build and maintain their enterprise portals," Marco Tilli, vice president of portal and hosted tools at Oracle, said in a statement.

The preview release of the company's portal tools is available for download from Oracle's Web site.