After blogging about my OpenPortal First Impressions, I was contacted by Eduardo Pelegrí-Llopart, he suggested I take a look at Project WebSynergy, a joint venture between Sun Microsystems and Liferay. Project WebSynergy includes code from Liferay and OpenPortal.
I downloaded it and took it for a spin, here is what I found:
Out of the box, it is much more aesthetically pleasing than OpenPortal
Tabs can be created directly from the user interface.
Similarly, hovering over a tab results in a little red icon showing up, clicking on it allows the user to delete a tab:
Of course a confirmation dialog asks the user to confirm the deletion of the tab.
Project WebSynergy certainly seems to include a lot of built in functionality that may have to be manually coded when using OpenPortal. The advantages I found for OpenPortal was the tight integration it provided with GlassFish and NetBeans.
Although Project WebSynergy is not available from the GlassFish Update center, it can be downloaded bundled with GlassFish. That is what I did to try it out, I'm not sure how easy it would be to deploy it on an existing GlassFish installation.
As of NetBeans, the portlet plugins available in the NetBeans Plugin Manager do not integrate with Project WebSynergy, however, the NetBeans PortalPack 3.0 (milestone 2 is the latest available at the time of writing) does. Simply downloading the plugins from the NetBeans Portal Pack page and installing them on NetBeans (I tried on NB 6.5 RC2) provides the same integration that is provided with OpenPortal by the portlet plugins in the NetBeans Plugin Manager.
All in all my overall impression of Project WebSynergy is favorable, my one concern is that neither the NetBeans plugins nor Project WebSynergy itself are officially released, therefore they cannot be considered stable yet. In my admittedly simple tests they worked fine, but I can't be sure there aren't any issues waiting to be discovered if/when we start using it for real work.