eXoweb Portal and ECM 2.0 Moving towards WebOS
The eXo Platform recently announced new versions of their Portal and ECM products at JavaPolis. InfoQ sat down with Benjamin Mestrallet of eXo Platform to talk about the new products. eXo is targetting the products to simulate a web operating system that fits enterprise needs.
First we asked Mestrallet to recap the new functionality in the 2.0 versions, which are currently in alpha release:
The new versions are 100% AJAX based and come with a new set of skins and layouts including a desktop-like UI as you can see on those Flickr screenshots. That desktop-like UI is very similar with what users are used to when they work on windows or Mac OS X which makes it much easier for them to use. On the application side, we have ported all the existing functionalities of eXo Portal (dynamic layout, communities, fine grained security) and eXo ECM (Taxonomies, Folksonomies, Locking, Versioning, Records Management, Notifications, Validation Workflows and Web Content Management). Of course usual web site layouts are still supported, especially for front offices and corporate web sites.
Mestrallet then discussed how they have leveraged AJAX in the new releases:
If you look at the Portal early ages, existing applications like MyYahoo were already trying to reproduce OS behavior thanks to portlets window states (minimized or maximized). In fact that was probably more to tell the user that the content is an application to interact with. Current personal pages like NetVibes are also in that trend and introduce more interaction with the user but that is just a transition phase to a full OS environment inside the browser. Thanks to AJAX and a strong server side platform, we can now achieve that move that started almost a decade ago. Our new portal configuration menus and wizards are much more responsive even when using poor internet connections. We can provide a new type of virtualization a kind of light Citrix application.
The conversation then moved to their focus on making the environment as close to a desktop UI as possible.
Mestrallet on their File Explorer for ECM:
Finally we talked about the release plan and how stable the alpha release is:
Our alphas were very close to betas (that we will release in february) so most of the features were already there apart the WCM and Workflow ones in ECM 2.0 (we introduce them in the beta). Of course there were bugs but we spent the end of december and january to fix them and the current SVN is stable. We will start to introduce new features in 2.1 versions only and will provide new products such as eXo Groupware and BI working on the desktop-like UI as soon as possible.
InfoQ covered the 1.0 release of ECM in July