Corporate portal pioneer Plumtree Software Inc unleashed a slew of new product announcements at its sixth Odyssey user conference that kicked off in Hollywood, Florida this week as part of its strategy to support so-called ‘composite applications’.
Plumtree unveiled a set of activity management applications that coordinate collaborative business processes that span across traditional packaged business applications. The applications are driven by service and product enhancements across Plumtree’s Enterprise Web Suite platform that offer finer control over their business processes and tighten up application integration.
The San Francisco-based company sharpened its focus on composite applications – which are really application templates that get populated with data spanning across disparate business systems and processes – by announcing .NET and Java parity for its portal and developer tools, a new Collaboration Server 4.0 product that integrates with desktop productivity tools like Microsoft Office/Project and groupware, and an upgraded Content Server 6.0 that offers new information distribution, administration, WebDAV integration and portal templating capabilities.
The Content Server will be available as part of the Enterprise Web Suite later this year.
Plumtree also extended its library of .NET and Java tools by announcing a new remote Web-services-based API that let developers programmatically embed its Collaboration and Search Server products into composite applications.
The APIs are available as part of Plumtree’s Enterprise Web Development Kit (EDK 5.1).
Plumtree CEO John Kunze sees a great deal of interest among customers in integrating disparate applications. The portal has now become service-oriented and provides a platform for coordination of processes and applications.
Kunze hinted that the company is working towards building packaged composite applications for the retail and life sciences industries. But he did not offer any specific time-line for their release.
Plumtree is not alone in targeting the composite applications space. Vendors like BEA Systems Inc, IBM Corp, and Vignette Corp are also evolving their respective portal platforms towards Web-based application development and integration.
For example, Vignette released its Application Portal 7.1 and Builder products earlier this year precisely for this task.
Separately, Plumtree announced it has closed three million dollar deals during the last quarter for its .NET and newly released Java portal suite. The company now says that over a third of customers have upgraded or deployed to the Plumtree 5.0 and 5.0J suite.
Plumtree 5.0 .NET was released last year and both products are geared specifically for building composite applications.
Plumtree is also hoping to jump-start composite application development through new roadmap, platform upgrade and portal migration service offerings.
The user conference drew in a crowd of around 700 customers and partners.