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  • [Portlet vs OSGI] Web Modularity Concept

    Hi folks,

    I'm planning to refactor an open source application (, agile tool).
    I have in mind to make it extensible by providing a modular architecture. Since some weeks I'm reading here and here about how can I do that. I think the community will gain in effectivness if a simple SDK allows to make a module without entering the whole source.

    Finally I have keeped two concrete approachs : Portlets 2.0 and OSGI. Here some specs :
    • I want to keep Spring as the core container since I'm fond of this framework
    • On OSGI I will use Spring Security, on Portlets I will use Portal Security
    • If i use OSGI, I will take Spring DM but I will embed Equinox in the WAR package (thought a listener which will launch it at WAR start) in order to keep it server-independant.
    • Principal frontend implementation is lightweight client (JSF-AJAX). Then webservices will open API.
    • If I use Portlets, i will certainly take Liferay as a base and do a special packaging like Social Office.
    • Hot deploy
    • My webapp is "desktop oriented" (single page, more or less free UI, full AJAX).
    • Extension points : deployable new widgets, services (not prioritary), hook

    I would want to know what sort of key points each one have. I'm a bit more sure about portlets since I have ever worked with them but I have some interrogations about OSGI restrictions. Would can I do a Hibernate-Spring-JSF Facelets AJAX enabled (with Icefaces or Richfaces) modular webapp and webservices on OSGI without too much integration pain ?

    Open discussion here >

    Best regards

  • #2
    up up I think it's an actually and interesting debate. Please share your thoughts


    • #3
      It bewilders me that you are trying to make a choice between portlets and OSGI. It's like saying "I want to build a house but I don't know if I need a car or a plasma screen". In other words, the subject of this thread is a bit weird

      OSGi and Portlets handle completely different problems. OSGi provides modularity at a software construction level. It will help you manage your components, such as repository and business service implementations, provides things like versioning and visibility of those components.

      A portal engine, such as Liferay, is a container that gives your applications some real-world context. It handles the administration of users and pages for you, it helps you exposing your functionality to end-users, allows you to define a general look and feel for each application. OSGi obviously has no purpose in that field.

      So I think you should take a step back...


      • #4
        Thanks for the reply. I'm completly aware of that don't worry, But it seems that conceptually you can obtain something similar. I have worked with the both technologies and something is similar from a functionnal point of view (not technical).

        I want to have bricks to deploy that add functionnalities for a web app that's all

        Starting from here, we can debate the pros and cons of each technical solution.


        • #5
          Relevant links

          After reading this article I googled for "OSGI vs portlets" and arrived here. To me the OP's idea makes perfect sense. See also
          this blog.

          I'm afraid I don't have a lot of insight to add to this myself, since I don't have any experience yet with OSGI or portlets.

          In any case, happy holidays!


          • #6
            Hi, you may want to take a look at this this open-source project.

            Note that obviously it is not an alternative to OSGI or Portlets, but if your only interest is modularity, it can be a simpler solution.


            • #7
              Why not take a look at Impala - - a modularity framework based on Spring which would suit these requirements very well.