In presenting the results of our evaluation it is important to distinguish and explain the relationship between the several separate but converging open source portal products which have recently attracted a lot of attention and a rapidly growing user base.
Charles Severance, chief architect of the CHEF and Sakai projects, was invited by JISC to participate as a plenary speaker at the two Awareness Raising Workshops on e-Collaborative Environments . We were thus able to have early discussions with him about our proposed work. Previous discussions with others involved in portal developments, in particular Dennis Gannon and Geoffrey Fox of Indiana University, had taken place at the NeSC workshop in July 2003 . Although Charles Severance was unable to attend this workshop, the developers of GridSphere, Jason Novotny, Mike Russel and Oliver Wehrens, did attend and gave a comprehensive tutorial of their software on the final day.
Sakai was not available to us at the beginning of our evaluation and required the UK to participate in the SEPP (Sakai Educational Partners Programme). We were however already using CHEF in the JISC/ ESRC funded ReDReSS project http://e-science.lancs.ac.uk/redress and Sakai is based on a re-factoring of this system. We were able to gain access to the Sakai developers' CVS to obtain the source code in mid June 2004. SEPP membership also permitted us to represent JISC at the Sakai Developers' Workshop, Denver, USA, 23-27th June.
Evaluation of these related portal frameworks has involved deployment as follows:
|Sakai 1.5 RC9||https://e-science.lancs.ac.uk:8080/portal|
We have included comments on the Sakai installation procedure in Appendix B. These implementations are available for ongoing development, evaluation and demonstrations to interested parties. The following descriptions were taken mostly from the relevant Web sites during the installation work.