Next Step: Cross-Portlet Coordination
Documentum's Spitulnik says that adoption of the standards is moving forward but that it will "take some time for the development community and vendors to take advantage" of them. Vickers believes that major portal vendors will incorporate support for both specifications. "Most of the vendors are supporting at least the JSR 168, and those that also handle remote portlets are supporting WSRP," says Vickers.
The open source community is also interested. In October of last year, the Apache Software Foundation released its reference implementation of the Java Portlet Specification. Dubbed "Pluto," the reference implementation acts as a portlet container that developers can use to test their portlets. Developers can now also turn to the open source community for portlets. The Portlet Open Source Trading (POST) site, launched last October on SourceForge, aims to provide a library of JSR 168 and WSRP portlets.
Although Sun says that no major changes are planned for the Java Portlet Specification, the WSRP standard will see significant enhancements in the future. Rich Thompson, chair of the OASIS WSRP Technical Committee, says that version 1.1 of the WSRP standard will add support for registries to discover WSRP services, so that a portlet "producer" can publish portlets and "consumers" can find and invoke them. Version 2.0, due out in 2005, will focus on adding cross-portlet coordination. "The goal is to enable a user interaction with a portlet to have an appropriate ripple effect on other portlets," explains Thompson. "It is also expected that SOAP attachment mechanisms and message level security will have moved far enough down the standardization track to leverage them in WSRP version 2.0."
Over the next two years, portals and portlet development will involve much more cross-portlet interaction, predicts McDonough: "Currently, portals can access an application, but they need to also be able to dictate a workflow that operates the process of applications. A portal becomes much more valuable when portlets can interoperate and lead to the creation of next generation e-business applications."