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1/26/2011
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Oracle Rolls Web 2.0 Features Into WebCenter Suite

In integrating the best communication features of different portals, Oracle gives project teams a common means of information sharing across its product set.

Oracle has combined its own and former Sun Microsystems' and BEA Systems' portal products into a suite that shares personalization and communications features across its product set.

Oracle first released WebCenter Suite 11g, part of its Fusion Middleware stack, in September 2008, including BEA's WebLogic Portal and user-collaboration oriented AquaLogic Portal, as well as several Oracle portal products, noted Andy MacMillan, VP of product management for enterprise Web 2.0, in an interview Tuesday.

It has now standardized the portal communications features across each element of the suite, so project teams needing a portal get the same content management, wikis, community forums, blogs, voice, and instant messaging systems, regardless of product invoked.

"The WebLogic Portal was known for having the leading portlet container for transactions," noted MacMillan. The other portals in the suite now share its transaction hosting capabilities. The suite also gets "analytics from the Plumtree portal heritage," he added.

The suite is meant to give product and software application building teams and other collaborative projects a common means of setting up communications and information sharing. Software development can be aided by a shared library of re-useable components; geographically distributed teams may meet via Web conference, MacMillan said.

Personalization features include the ability to signal your presence online to fellow team members, use voice or instant messaging to communicate, and tag content so other interested teams may find and review it. Potential team collaborators may be found through an expertise discovery mechanism.

"Instead of bolting a group of products together, we wanted to present the best features of each portal throughout the suite," MacMillan said.

The suite is more easily integrated with Oracle applications. It also includes a discovery mechanism for finding a subject in context of either a document or a business process. The suite also includes a WebCenter Spaces ability to connect iPhone users to a project portal via an iPhone app. The pricing on WebCenter Suite remains the same, MacMillan said.

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