20 January 2003 Database software giant Oracle will today unveil enhancements to its portal software that, it claims, will make it easier for non-technical users to customise the way they access data.
The portal tools, part of the Oracle9i Application Server product, will enable users to integrate information from multiple data sources including web services and spreadsheets, as well as intranets and web sites, claim company executives.
The new release represents a further attempt by Oracle to bolster sales of its 9i Application Server (9iAS) and strengthen its position in the portal market. In this market, Oracle competes against portal software specialists Plumtree and Epicentric, recently acquired by Vignette, as well as other major suppliers including IBM, Microsoft and Sybase.
Oracle will unveil the new tools, dubbed OmniPortlet and Web Clipping, at its AppsWorld conference in San Diego, California this week. OmniPortlet helps users to build their own ‘portlets’ – windows within desktop portals – so that they can view the most recent data on the company’s clients, for example.
A developer would typically carry out this task, especially for applications involving web services, but OmniPortlet enables a non-technical user, such as a sales manager, to integrate data from applications, claims Oracle.
A small, but growing, number of organisations are already accessing business information in this way via web services interfaces. But according to analysts, other suppliers, such as Plumtree, already offer these types of data integration capabilities.
Oracle claims its new Web Clipping software enables users to gather content from intranets and present it within their own customised portal page, or share it with their colleagues.
The company will build the tools into the next version of 9iAS, which it will release in the first-half of 2003. From today, existing users can download OmniPortlet and Web Clipping free of charge from the Oracle Technology Network web site.