David R. Heffelfinger
OpenPortal First Impressions
I recently got involved in a project that may need some portlet development. The project is a completely new application to be built from the ground up.
The customer has been using GlassFish as their application server and they are very pleased with it, therefore it just makes sense to continue using it.
Once installed, I also installed the NetBeans Portal Pack plugin from NetBeans 6.5 RC2, that can be installed directly from the NetBeans Plugin Manager.
The plugin makes deploying portlets to OpenPortal a breeze, as can be seen in this flash demo.
My main complaint? The default look and feel of the portlet is, let's just say, not the best looking.
As far as I can tell the only way to change the default look is to hack the CSS and JSPs by hand. I noticed the icons to minimize a portlet, maximize it, edit it, etc had transparent backgrounds, therefore it gave me some hope that they should be able to be used when simply changing the background color of the portlet bar. I made a simple modification to the CSS to test this, unfortulately it seems like some of the pink background creeped into the icons.
Also, as far as I can tell, modifying the available tabs to match our application requirements will involve some customizations of the JSPs included with OpenPortal, there is no tool to create or modify tabs as necessary.
Even with these disadvantages, I'm leaning towards using OpenPortal if we in fact turn out to need portlets for this project. The tight integration with GlassFish and NetBeans is a great advantage and I can live with having to do some CSS and JSP hacking to make it look the way we need it to look.