eXo Platform “the first and only User Experience Platform for Java.”

eXo Platform 3.0 Interview

Jessica Thornsby

JAXenter speaks with Chief Executive Officer of eXo Platform, Benjamin Mestrallet on the recently-announced eXo Platform 3.0.

At JavaOne yesterday, eXo launched eXo Platform 3.0. In this
interview, JAXenter speaks to Chief Executive Officer of the eXo
Platform, Benjamin Mestrallet on how re-architecting the eXo
Platform on GateIn has affected the product, and creating a new
‘social intranet’ with eXo Platform…..

JAXenter: What are the most important new
features in eXo Platform 3.0?

Benjamin Mestrallet: To understand what these
new features mean, it’s important to understand the breadth of eXo
Platform 3.0. We’ve had applications for content, collaboration and
knowledge for a number of years now, and this spring introduced

one for social

All have been updated for GateIn, the open source portal
framework we co-develop with Red Hat. And we’ve also updated our
enterprise content management tools, making significant
improvements to UI for web content management, and adding support
for CMIS.

In eXo Platform 3.0, all of these features are now available as
extended, reusable services that take advantage of the enterprise
portal foundation that GateIn provides.

We’ve added development tools, including a new web-based IDE,
for building gadgets, mashups and applications. But what really
sets eXo Platform 3.0 apart is its REST architecture. Any portal
can present third-party application data as portlets, but eXo
offers advanced integration using web services to actually
communicate and interact with applications.

You can integrate third-party apps, whether they’re written in
Java, .NET, PHP or any other language, with eXo Platform’s native
APIs. But more importantly, you can create custom REST API’s on the
fly, and deploy them directly from the platform. eXo Platform
provides a standard way to develop these JAX-RS REST services, with
development, testing and deployment all done online in a web-based

What these new features ultimately amount to is a very powerful
development platform that can easily integrate content,
collaboration, knowledge and social capabilities into your new or
existing apps. You no longer need to turn to Rails or PHP to build
rich web apps; Java can now stand as a first-class language for
so-called web 2.0 applications.

We have a couple of videos, a short one that highlights the most
interesting new features of eXo Platform, and a
longer one that goes through a more in-depth look at its capabilities.

JAXenter: How has re-architecting the eXo
Platform on GateIn affected the product?

Benjamin Mestrallet: This is our first major
release in a couple of years, and refactoring the pieces of the
platform for GateIn took time. In putting the platform together,
one of the really cool things we created was a mechanism, which we
call GateIn extensions, that allowed us to augment GateIn features
without having to actually map those modifications back into GateIn
itself. We just plugged our extensions into GateIn; even when
there’s a new version, updating to it will be quite simple.

Developers will benefit hugely from these GateIn extensions as
well, which make our platform modular and easier to develop with.
In addition, GateIn provides significant improvements for eXo
Platform in terms of enterprise-readiness – specifically better
LDAP connectivity, and SSO and JMX support.

JAXenter: How does the eXo Platform 3.0 aim to
leverage the new social capabilities of the web?

Benjamin Mestrallet: eXo Platform 3.0 includes
enterprise social capabilities, which supports OpenSocial for
gadgets and Social APIs for People and Activity. So, eXo Platform
can almost instantly create an enterprise social network from an
LDAP directory, auto-populating directory settings for roles,
permissions and teams. This becomes the new ‘social intranet,’
complete with activity streams, work spaces for teams and
user-specified profiles. Using the advanced web services
integration I mentioned earlier, you can even pull data from
enterprise applications such as a BI or CRM app and stream updates
as they happen to the right people and teams. For example, when BI
reports are generated (a video demo is available) or new leads enter the
CRM system, activities can be created and published in a team’s
collaboration space.

JAXenter: Why did you decide to stick to a
portal framework for eXo Platform 3.0?

Benjamin Mestrallet: Let’s be clear. eXo
Platform 3.0 goes well beyond an enterprise portal – it’s the first
and only User Experience Platform for Java. We really see it as the
application development platform that Java’s long needed and wanted
for it to stay relevant against the dynamic languages that dominate
the web.

Portals are a proven standard for building intranets and
websites with simple application functionality exposed as portlets,
while features like access control and single sign-on provide
security. Fundamentally, portal capabilities are still critical for
enterprise integration — it’s just that the business needs have
outgrown what a traditional portal framework alone can offer.

Our roots are in portal technologies, and we’re extremely proud
of the development work we’ve done with JBoss on the GateIn
project. It’s rock-solid technology. And now we’re building on that
to give Java developers a familiar, intuitive way to build on all
these rich features that users want.

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