Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Joining eXo Platform

I am very excited to say that this week is my first week as an employee of eXo Platorm. Excited for many reasons.... I'll pass on the excitement of a new job, we are all excited about that... So what are the others reasons:

  • working for open source
  • be part of a visionary team/product.

Working for open source

Some of you know that I have been working for Oracle from 1999 to 2007, and lately for Sogeti (Cap Gemini Group) that is one of the biggest IBM's partner... So moving to eXo Platform an open source company is definitively a big shift for me. Anyway, I was looking for more “agile” working environment....

I am pleased to work for a product where users can follow on a daily basis what is the exact status of the different features, not from marketing slides but directly from the source trunk... But also where any user can influence the product either by providing direct feedback to the developers using mailing lists, tracking tools and wikis; even more if they want to participate to the development itself.

So being open source, will avoid some kind of lock-in, but this is not the only point: standards is another important point. eXo Platform, since its first release in 2003, has been great about defining, supporting and implementing standards. So eXo Portal is a great implementation of a JSR-168 portlet container, and it is today also one of the first portal and portlet container supporting the new JSR-286 Java Portlet API. In addition to the Java Portlet API support, it is also possible to consume remote portlet using WSRP 1&2. As you can see eXo Portal is a great solution to implement and integrate an enterprise portal based on standards. In addition to portal standard, eXo is also providing a powerful ECM that is based on a Java Content Repostory (JCR/JSR-170) implementation.

Based on the fact that eXo is open source and support industry standard it is a great tool to use; and it has been chosen by some other projects for example:

  • NovaForge: an innovative Forge platform that aggregates and glue several Open Source tools used for Software Developments such as SVN repositories, Bug trackers, Continuous build… It used eXo WebOS and ECM to provide a single access points to all the resources as you can see in the following screenshot.
Novaforge & eXo WeboS
  • Bonita: is an open source workflow and BPM that is using eXo WebOS to expose its console, as you can see in the following screenshot

You also have other softwares that are using various part of the product from te JCR to the Portlet Container... it depends a lot of your needs...

Working with visionary team and product

eXo Platform is a lot more than en enterprise portal. The core architecture of eXo is based on an internal SOA built at the top of an IoC container (Pico Container). This architecture  has been leveraged in many point to expose new services and assemble all the components of the eXo Platform suite.

Let's take a quick look to the components of eXo Platform:

  • eXo Portal 2.0: create and publish your  portal using a simple and powerful Ajax based user interface
  • eXo ECM 2.0: manage all your digital assets that are stored in the JCR, and expose them using many protocols (WebDac, FTP, CIFS, ...)
  • eXo CS 1.0: collaborate inside and outside your enterprise using shared calendars, WebMail, Forums and Contact Management
  • eXo WebOS 1.0: virtualize your desktop in this revolutionary user interface, where you can expose portlets and widgets and run any Web applications.
exo WebOS and Collaboration Suite Portlets

In addition to these component that are available today in the eXo Ultimate distribution or as stand alone solution, you can see in the source trunk:

  • LiveRoom: a Web based real time collaborative tools allowing shared whiteboard, visioconference/VoIP using once again your browser, (in fact we have been implementing  it using Flash/Flex)
  •  WCM: Web CMS System that is extending the ECM to facilitate Web site publishing.
  • and many other features...

One last example of the vision of the eXo Platform is the fact that all services could be exposed either as REST Services using the JSR-311 (JAX-RS) or  as SOAP Services using the JSR-181 (Annotations based services).

One of the feature that I am currently watching closely is the implementation and support of Open Social standard, that allows easy integration of "social-applications" with other very hot subjects for the “Enterprise 2.0” such as social networks, mashups and so on...

Stay tune, and take the time to download and install eXo Platform...

As a closure, I just invite you to take a look to eXo and contact me if you have any question about the product or if you have

Monday, June 2, 2008

The good side of expensive oil price...

We are all badly impacted with the price of oil. Yeah it really expensive, now people is the US have a gas that is as expensive as France's prices, shocking! ;). Anyway, I do not want to talk about cars and gas, but really on the good effect of the expensive oil. I do believe that expensive oil has good impacts, not for my bank account but for the "planet", and may be indirectly for software industry.

Change in transportation

First of all, we are all forced to try to save gaz/enegy to save money. So people are thinking more about alternative to "individual car driving": carpooling, public transportations are more often used these days. I addition, people are using public bikes that you can find more and more in cities now. Nantes, where I live has launched its new program "Bicloo". So not only people are changing but I am sure industrials will also adapt to this offering greener alternative to oil for transportation. Personally, I would like to buy a cheap electric car to be able to go in the city, at least to reach the various Park&Ride points. I have to say that I really like the Google RecharcheIT initiative, that is used to charge plug-in hybrid cars... This is enough for the "transportation" and cars....

Change in way we do work

I believe also that expensive oil will have an impact on the way we do work: we must try to avoid traveling all the time. Some work could be done just using the Internet and good collaborative tools. When most of a work is about: reading mail, phone talks, and meetings all these activities could be done using "IT" isn't?
I used to work from home a lot when I was working for Oracle HQ from France: the working kit is quite simple and not that expensive: laptop, fast Internet connection, VoIP phone, VPN and a Collaborative Suite (webmail, shared calendar, web conference tools, social networks, ...). Using this simple set of tools I was as productive as any employee but without traveling that much. I do not say that we should all work from home or smal local office, but we should try to do it. And limit our endless travels, that burns so much energy for CO2.... Yes all the IT is also consuming energy, but I do believe that it is probably easy to make IT industry "greener" than car industry... (I might be wrong...), but still at the office we will use computers/IT anyway..

So many of the software vendor are offering tools to make us more productive using the "network as the computer" -we all remember this-. One example of tools that in fact is "greener" is eXo Platform. eXo provides all the tools for collaborative work: personalized portal, webmail, chat, shared calendar, ... and soon LiveRoom that is the Web conference/VoIP solution integrated to your navigator (Flex based application). In addition to this, users can also virtualized their desktop using eXo WebOS, and access his work environment from everywhere... I know that other solutions are available on the market, from various vendors such as Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, I have chosen eXo first of all it is an open source project where any user can participate at least by asking from requirements proposing ideas, but also and mainly because its offering is based on industry standards that will help integration to any existing IT systems. (... and also because I am currently working closely with the eXo team...)

IT for a greener world

In conlusion, we, IT folks can I have some impact on the environment by helping people to be more effective when doing remote work, avoiding useless commute... Clearly, the technologies are avaiable today to help us, to work efficiently from home or "virtual offices" the main constraints are coming from enterprise/management culture.