I took some time this last week to review Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals, published back in September of 2010. As one who has specialized in portal technologies over the last 10 years, I look forward to Gartner’s take on the portal market, as well as watching the trends in this space.
One product I have been watching (as well as personally reviewing) is Liferay, an “open-source” portal, and definitely a welcome player in this space. Liferay, like Plumtree (now Oracle Web Center Interaction) was 10 years ago, is a smaller, innovative company, with a single focus of delivering a world-class portal product. Making Gartner happy is the fact that they are an “open-source” player. You can download their product, test it, modify it, and deploy it without bumping up to the purchased (and supported) Enterprise Edition. For companies who are adverse to risk, like all similar products, you’ll have to pay for it.
So this is a SharePoint blog… Why are you talking about Liferay?
Well, getting back to the Gartner report, I couldn’t help but notice their blatant obsession with “open-source” and their upfront predictions of this glorious trend. On the flip-side, they seem to cast a dark, evil cloud on other technologies, and in particular… Well, I’ll let you read for yourself, from the “Cautions” section under Microsoft SharePoint 2010:
“Although SharePoint 2010 is more ‘open’ than previous versions, using SharePoint as a portal framework constitutes a long-term commitment to Microsoft's agenda. The openness occurs at many levels, including authentication and authorization, the Web parts model, business connectivity services, and universal browser support. Still, organizations employing SharePoint will be compelled to invest in the .NET platform and the skills needed to support it, and they will likely be locked in to Microsoft Office for the near future.”
A long-term commitment to Microsoft’s agenda? Compelled to invest in the .Net platform and the skills needed to support it? Locked in to Microsoft Office? What horrors and madness could come from this!
In the next few weeks, I’d like to explore the “open-source” mythology, and shed some light on why Microsoft’s “agenda” (with regards to SharePoint) excites me (and obviously a large majority of other portal users). I will also be touching on my real world experiences of .Net vs. Java, and lastly, some of the amazing benefits of being locked into Microsoft Office.