Webcentre Suite simplifies application interface

Webcentre Suite simplifies application interface

Oracle plans to release Webcentre Suite before the end of the month, a product for building application interfaces that incorporate content from a variety of sources as well "Web 2.0" as tools such as blogs and wikis.

The software allows staff to access a variety of content and services from one screen, so they don't have to flip between different applications. Other vendors including IBM and Microsoft are working on similar functionality.

Oracle announced Webcentre Suite at its Openworld conference in October. It will be sold as an add-on to Oracle Application Server Enterprise Edition for US$50,000 per CPU.

At the heart of the product is Webcentre Framework, a technology based on Java Server Faces that lets developers embed Asynchronous JavaScript and XML components, portlets and other content into a user interface. The suite also includes Webcentre Services, for embedding services such as Oracle Enterprise Search, VoIP calling and wiki-building tools into the interface.

Andreas Chatziantoniou, a software consultant with Accenture Technology Services in the Netherlands, says Webcentre's appeal lies partly in its close ties with Oracle's database and application server, meaning Oracle customers can use those existing infrastructure products to deploy the blogs and wikis.

Oracle's applications customers should also pay attention to Webcentre Suite. As well as being offered as a stand-alone product, it will eventually serve as the default interface for Oracle's Fusion applications, a merger of its Oracle, Siebel and Peoplesoft applications due in 2008.

Other "Web 2.0" software being developed for the enterprise includes Microsoft's SharePoint 2007, SAP's Project Muse interface, and products from small companies like Serendipity Technologies, says Mark Levitt, vice president for collaborative computing and the enterprise with IDC. IBM also entered the game this week, announcing plans to bring "Web 2.0" capabilities to its Lotus Notes collaboration software.

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