Archive for the ‘Atlassian’ Category

Cool Tools 15: Atlassian Crowd

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

It’s official: I’m pretty much out of the kind of “Cool Tools” that started the feature in the first place.  I’m pretty sure I’ve covered every tool that I regularly use during the administration of the Plumtree/ ALUI/ WCI portal.  So while I may have a genuine new “Cool Tool” at some point, this category will mostly apply to different applications that augment or replace pieces of functionality in the out-of-the-box WebCenter Interaction product stack.

It’s also (mostly) official that WebCenter Interaction is winding down as a product line, and many clients are formulating their strategy for the next couple years.  While WCI isn’t going to go away tomorrow, at Integryst we’ve been working with a lot of different technologies to help clients evaluate “what’s next”.  It’s clear that there are pretty much three directions clients may pursue:

  1. Stay on the Oracle Gravy Train and work on a migration plan to WebCenter Spaces and the rest of the Oracle stack
  2. Move to a similar competitive enterprise project – particularly, Microsoft SharePoint
  3. Look at building a best-of-breed open-source/inexpensive solution by tying together a bunch of great products

None of these are bad approaches, and in fact all of them are appropriate in different client situations, depending on the portal profile and business requirements.  But expect to see more of option #3 in these pages in the coming months.

As such, let me introduce you to Atlassian’s Crowd.  Crowd is a Single Sign-on product that allows you to stitch together a bunch of disparate web applications together by allowing users to log into one application and navigate to another without having to log in again.  It allows you to create various directories (LDAP, AD, custom sources), and surface those user accounts to different applications (Confluence, Jira, and even – with some custom code – applications like WebCenter Interaction), and has integration points at pretty much every level of the stack.

You’ll be hearing more about Crowd in upcoming posts, as well as some pretty slick hybrid integration solutions that won’t completely lock you in to the Oracle stack, if that’s the way you might be rolling.  Stay tuned!

Cool Tools 9: Atlassian Confluence

Monday, August 16th, 2010

I started the Cool Tools feature 3 years ago at Function1, and I’m sorry to say, I’ve listed everything you could possibly ever need now or in the future of WebCenter consulting, portal development, or portlet hacking.

HA! Truth is, while I’ve already done one lap around the “software utility” track, there are LOTs of Cool Tools out there – some directly related to portal development, debugging, or maintenance, and some more broadly defined.

In fact, I wouldn’t really consider today’s “Cool Tool” a “tool” at all – it’s a full-fledged application, and it’s likely to give the WebCenter stack a run for its money in the long term.

Allow me to introduce Atlassian’s Confluence – one of the web’s best Wiki platforms out there. We’ve been working with this application a lot lately, and have been very impressed with it. It’s a powerful wiki platform, has a robust third-party support and development network, is dramatically less expensive than Oracle products, and provides many of the features some clients bought the Plumtree portal for. (Does it surprise you to know that a bunch of the old Plumtree team ended up there?)

When ALUI Publisher was released, BEA occasionally said it would be the blog and wiki platform that customers had been waiting for (it wasn’t). Then, we started hearing that the ill-fated product called Pages was the REAL blog and wiki platform (it wasn’t). 2009 brought us some more “WCI Sample Portlets available for the Wiki/Blog/Discussions functionality” (meh, didn’t really work). This year the message clients have been hearing “it’s all about WebCenter Spaces”. Honestly, while we may or may not see the fabled 11g version of WebCenter Interaction, Spaces does look very intriguing. In my opinion, though, it’s still not as rich as the much more mature – some would say over-the-hill – WCI portal is now. And it certainly is not the right application for all WCI customers.

So, friends, until I see Oracle deliver the great, mythical, elusive Enterprise Wiki we’ve been hearing about for years, consider me firmly in the Atlassian camp on this one – the stability, ease of use, price-point, and sizable third-party ecosystem are first-rate! Don’t take my word for it – try it out yourself for ten bucks.

Stay tuned for many more tips and follow-up posts on Confluence and other third-party products that can work alongside your existing portal implementations – and some posts on where Confluence falls short of a “full Portal Replacement”. Until then, feast your eyes on… THIS:

OK I’m not going to lie to you, unlike most Cool Tools, it’s not easy to find a screen shot that embodies all of what a great wiki product Confluence is.  At least it’s not as hard as taking a picture of the wind