With last months release of BEA Commerce Server 3.1 and Personalization Server 3.1, BEA has been focusing on personalization and content management. What is interesting about these servers is that they are themselves J2EE applications, built on top of Weblogic.
Read "BEA Ramps Up for E-Commerce" on SDTimes.com
It is good to see those companies use j2ee as a foundation for their products. SilverStream released XCommerce server a few months back which also was built as a EJB container that can run in SilverStream j2ee application server and other vendors' j2ee server.
We eval'd these two products. While they are a good start, we didn't find them robust enough to build a business around. The personalization gave you some ability to create profiles and the like, but it didn't give you much ability to tailor the complexity of those profiles.
As well, the embedded rules engine from ILOG (JRules) was so hidden that you couldn't use it for other purposes.
Most disconcerting for us, the Content Management hooks were only for Interwoven and Documentum. BEA would only give us access to the API if we hired their consultants. We have our own CM system, so this was not acceptable. The new version has free versions of the two CM systems, which is a good step, but we prefer an open API.
The portal management tools were not as sophisticated as Oracle WebPortal product, or IPlanet's Portal server. I would choose either of these over the BEA tools at the moment.
I like BEA's software a lot. I think WebLogic is a rock, and we've been eval'ing their Process Integrator. While it only allows boolean decision making (instead of cases) it has a low of promise. BEA is always at the top of my list, right next to Oracle for commercial products with momentum, strength and long-term reliability. I would just like to see their personalization, and content management offerings a bit more robust.
In regards to conent integration I would have to go one step further and say that the integration with interwoven is not very well thought out and extremely inflexible. I have to question whether the kit has even been seriously tested. I ended up coming up with my own solution.
In reply to Mark Lilly's post, I'd like to let Mark and everyone else know that we have recently released a document which describes the SPI (Service Provider Interface) for content management systems. It's currently available upon request and will be made part of the product documentation in an upcoming release. If anyone is interested in this document, please email me and I will send it to you. Please note that this document is intended for developers who are familiar with the WebLogic Personalization Server and the CM system to be integrated. There are five integration strategies, three of which are recommended by BEA and two others which may be a better fit for some products.
skip dot sauls at bea dot com
BEA ECA Product Manager
Any idea about integrating weblogic personilazation server with own content-management-system using DocumentProvider interface.
Thanks in advance.