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Understanding the Java Portlet Specification

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Understanding the Java Portlet Specification

In recent years, many organizations have implemented an enterprise portal to host internal and external applications. There are numerous J2EE portal vendоrs offering products in this lucrative market. In the past, each of these portal offerings defined their own proprietary APIs for building portlets, application components that run inside portals. Unfortunately, coding to these various APIs translated into vendor lock-in for portlet developers. The Java Portlet Specification (JSR 168) changes this.

This specification, developed by a committee of J2EE portal vendors, aims to achieve interoperability between portals and portlets. Vendors prove compliancy by passing a series of tests defined in Sun Microsystems' Technology Compatibility Kit, or TCK. This standardization will help to simplify portlet development and enable developers to create pluggable components that run on any compliant, J2EE portal server.

This article begins with high-level definitions of portals, portlets, and portlet containers. Following that, we will highlight the most important aspects of the Java Portlet Specification. Later this month, a follow-up article will demonstrate how to develop a portlet from scratch, reinforcing the concepts described below.

Portals, Portlets, and Portlet Containers

There are three logical components to consider when developing to the Java Portlet Specification.

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