Phoenix, AZ–January 10, 2007 — Unicon, Inc., the leading independent provider of enterprise portals, applications, and professional services for the online campus in academic institutions, today announced that uPortal 3, the next generation open source enterprise portal, is now available for higher ed institutions to download from http://uportal.org/release/allReleases.h”l. Institutions can immediately begin working with and testing the portal’s latest frameworks and enhancements for their future planned rollouts and implementations. Unicon served as the chief architectural organization responsible for developing most of uPortal 3’s technology framework enhancements and for delivering it to the uPortal open source community in its current state.
Work on the uPortal 3 project was initially made possible by a $250,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation, the Sakai Foundation, and the University of Delaware. Unicon worked on the project “at cost” during the grant-funded period and has since contributed an additional $250,000 worth of pro bono time to the project to get it to its current release state. Once uPortal 3 is fully tested, meets quality assurance standards, and reaches general availability status, it will then be supported under Unicon’s new uPortal Cooperative Support Program. For higher ed institutions wanting to begin working with the latest uPortal 3.0 enhancements, Unicon offers unmatched technical expertise based on direct in-depth working knowledge of the portal.
“Unicon has been a supporter and close partner of the JA-SIG community for the past six years,” said Jonathan Markow, Chairman of the JA-SIG Board of Directors. “Unicon’s recent work establishes a solid baseline for the growth of our next generation portal, uPortal 3. We value Unicon’s strength in software engineering as well as their commitment to open source in higher education.”
“Educational institutions wanting to begin utilizing the latest uPortal 3 enhancements can look to Unicon with complete confidence as a close partner in helping them define and implement their portal technology roadmap,” said John C. Blakley, CEO of Unicon, Inc. “We’ve been closely involved with uPortal from its beginning as a partner in JA-SIG and as technology contributor. uPortal 3 is a direct result of Unicon’s contribution of technology vision and development resources and our commi”ent to delivering this next generation enterprise portal to the open source community.”
uPortal 3 Enhancements Contributed by Unicon
Direct Support for Portlet Standards
The JSR-168 Portlet 1.0 specification is now the primary architectural model. This provides a richer, more natural implementation of this standard and offers better support for the Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) 1.0 specification and for the upcoming JSR-286 Portlet 2.0 and WSRP 2.0 specifications.
Layout and Rendering Flexibility
uPortal 3 has an entirely new layout structure that enables many of the visual customizations such as multi-level tabs and content that lives completely outside of tabs. This improved layout structure, along with support for multiple independently-configurable rendering pipelines and adoption of JSP as a typical markup language, makes implementing complex user interface requirements much easier in uPortal 3.
Modularity & Declarative Configuration
By using the Spring Framework and its inherent Inversion of Control (IoC) patterns as the basis of its architecture, uPortal 3 is a highly modular application that can easily be configured and customized in a totally declarative fashion. It does not require the custom framework code changes that were common in many uPortal 2 deployments.
Persistence Abstraction Layer
uPortal 3 has adopted the widely used Hibernate framework to provide its persistence layer. This allows it to support a wide variety of relational database systems without significant development and testing required for each platform. Database creation, initialization, and maintenance are now much more straight-forward than in uPortal 2.
Effective Use of External Libraries
uPortal 3 has instead leveraged a number of widely-adopted external libraries to provide many of the infrastructure services that an enterprise application requires including Spring and Hibernate libraries, as well as others like Acegi and Apache Commons. This keeps the uPortal 3 code base leaner and more directly focused on the needs of an enterprise portal platform.
JA-SIG, Inc., is a non-profit (501(c)3), international consortium of educational institutions and commercial affiliates supporting open source software development and promoting open computing architectures for higher education. JA-SIG has been in operation for over six years, holding bi-annual conferences and sponsoring open source software applications like uPortal, the enterprise-grade portal solution; CAS, a flexible Central Authentication Service deployed for single sign-on; and HyperContent, lightweight but powerful web content management. For more information, visit the JA-SIG website at www.ja-sig.org.
From the Java Architectures Special Interest Group (JA-SIG), uPortal is an open source enterprise portal collaboratively developed by higher-education, for higher-education. Utilizing Java, Extensible Markup Language (XML), JavaServer Pages Technology (JSP) and Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (J2EE) technologies, the uPortal framework enables easy, standards-based integration with authentication and security applications, single sign on secure access, and end user customization.
Unicon, Inc. is the leading independent provider of open-source frameworks, applications and professional services for the online campus. Unicon delivers enterprise portal, collaboration, learning and integration technology for higher education institutions worldwide, is the leading commercial supporter of the uPortal open source Web portal initiative, and is a Sakai Commercial Affiliate for the community source Collaboration and Learning Environment. The company’s signature Academus® brand encompasses an Enterprise Portal, Web Content Management system, Collaboration Tools and Learning Environments. Unicon strives to base its solutions on open-source technology for increased productivity and reduced costs. Unicon also provides a full complement of professional consulting, training and support services.
More information about Unicon, Inc. and Academus Open Campus is available at www.unicon.net & www.academusopencampus.com.