Friday, June 18, 2021

Red Hat Delves into Applications

Red Hat charted a course beyond the operating system
Monday, revealing its new Red Hat Enterprise Applications family, starting
with the Red Hat Enterprise Content Management System (CMS) and the Red Hat
Enterprise Portal Server.

The new applications give Red Hat a foothold higher up in the stack, adding a revenue stream while making its core offering — the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating environment — a more attractive package.

Both solutions are built on Red Hat’s Web Application Framework, a
platform for writing database-backed Web applications in Java. By
leveraging the framework’s APIs , applications can enable the
authoring of persistent structured data and retrieve and display the data
as content.

The framework also integrates services like search, versioning
and permissions into its basic objects.

Red Hat promised that its CMS solution could get a company up to speed with
content management in as little as two months. The J2EE-compliant software
will be delivered with source code included, and provides a workflow-based
engine for managing content on the intranet, extranet and Internet
settings.

Unsurprisingly, the company is making ‘open source’ its selling point for
the product, noting that “To be truly flexible, a system must offer
extensibility and control beyond the ‘customization’ offered by a
closed-source or an out-of-the-box system.

The company continued: “An organization must be able to
extend and adapt a content management system to its specific needs,
otherwise it will find its production environment adapting to the
constraints of the content management system, which is neither efficient
nor productive. An organization must also be able to make future changes
and adaptations without requiring the involvement of external professional
service teams. In short, a content management system must allow an
organization complete control of functionality.”

To ensure that sort of flexibility, Red Hat said different “instances” of
its CMS can be mounted under the different “managed content” sections of an
overall site, with each instance configured differently to handle a
particular production process. However, all the instances would interface
with a single content repository.

On the department level, configurable aspects include:

  • The primary content types to be produced
  • The workflow required for production
  • Deployment rules
  • Staffing.

Red Hat said organizations can configure “projects” or “departments”
through a “Control Center” that is mounted as an application under the Site
Map, with administrative authority limited to the same branch of the site
where the Control Center instance is mounted.

Meanwhile, the company offered up its Portal Server as a framework for
personalized and group-oriented aggregation and delivery of information.
Portal Server uses a configurable framework that supports multiple
languages in its user interface and pervasive devices with support for WAP,
XHTML and VoiceXML in its rendering pipeline.

Red Hat listed numerous use cases for the Portal Server, including:
creating portals from scratch or defined portal templates; administering
user and group membership and privileges; aggregating local and remote
content within a personalized framework; developing and integrating
customized portlets for existing applications, data sources and work
processes; syndicating or subscribing content using RSS feeds; and viewing
globalized user interfaces in all user and administrator contexts.

Red Hat said Portal Server integrates directly with its portlets, including
Discussion Forum, Document Manager, Resource Scheduler, Tasks, Calendar,
Urgent Request Notification, Bookmarking and Chat.

Red Hat has already used the two new offerings to capture business from
donut juggernaut Dunkin’ Donuts. The Dunkin’ Donuts Northeast Distribution
Center — the central point in a supply chain for more than 1,500 Dunkin’
Donuts franchisees — implemented the applications to build a franchisee
portal that provides operational, marketing and training information to the
franchisees. The Web-based portal also allows franchisees to place product
orders, inquire on the status of orders and view order histories. The order
management information comes from an existing back-office system, with the
portal using standard XML to enable the information exchange.

“Our aggressive growth plans demanded a new approach to serving our
franchisees,” said Bryan Hartnett, general manager of the Northeast
Distribution Center. “We knew that we had to deliver more than great
products. Our franchisees need timely access to our central business
systems, our expertise and the latest information about our products.”

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