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The GridSphere project is building on experience in the Java-based Astrophysics Simulation Collaboratory and GPDK portal toolkits. It now has a reasonable uptake in Europe and to some extent Canada.

GridSphere provides a "white-box" framework (you edit the code) in which users can override base classes and "hook" in their own methods. It therefore requires users to become familiar with core framework interfaces which are however based on the community standard API JSR-168. Heavy use is made of design patterns which provide template solutions to commonly recurring software design problems. They also provides a common language that makes the code easier to read and understand. The Model View Control (MVC) pardigm is used to separate logic from presentation as in other portlet frameworks.

Features of GridSphere include:

$\bullet$ Portlet API implementation nearly fully compatible with IBM's WebSphere 4.2;
$\bullet$ Support for the easy development and integration of "third-party portlets";
$\bullet$ Higher-level model for building complex portlets using visual beans and the GridSphere User Interface (UI) tag library;
$\bullet$ Flexible XML based portal presentation description can be easily modified to create customized portal layouts;.
$\bullet$ Built-in support for Role Based Access Control (RBAC). Enables managing of access for guests, users, admins and super users;
$\bullet$ Sophisticated portlet service model that allows for creation of "user services", where service methods can be limited according to user rights;
$\bullet$ Persistence of data provided using Castor JDO from ExoLab for RDMS database support, SQL and OQL;
$\bullet$ Integrated Junit and Cactus unit tests for complete server side testing of portlet services including the generation of test reports;
$\bullet$ Documentation uses DocBook for HTML and PDF output of guides and tutorials;
$\bullet$ GridSphere core portlets offer base functionality including login, logout, user and access control management;
$\bullet$ Localisation support in the Portlet API implementation and GridSphere core portlets support English, American, German, Czech, Polish, Hungarian and Greek;
$\bullet$ Open-source and 100% free!

Both the portlet definitions and the portal layout are coded in XML e.g. in Portlet.xml and Layout.xml and validated against schema. A portlet also has associated class files and JSP pages. Authorised users can deploy portlets dynamically providing Tomcat v$>$4.1.18 is used.

The core and basic services provided in GridSphere are:

A number of core portlets are provided by which these services can be accessed. Future plans included the provision of a complete general JSR-168 compliant framework (achieved in February 2004), integration of the GridLab GAT toolkit and OGSA Grid services, an IDE, inclusion of Flash presentations and some forms of collaboration tools.

The following table shows some existing projects using GridSphere:

Project Location Status
in the UK
LCGrid Portsmouth LCGrid portal
RealityGrid edinburgh developing portal
GeneGrid Belfast developing portal
P-GRADE westminster portal for GEMLCA workflow
MyGrid Manchester developing portal from workbench tools
in Europe and Canada
GridLab Berlin developers of GridSphere

next up previous contents
Next: CHEF Up: Sakai Evaluation including CHEF, Previous: Sakai Evaluation including CHEF,   Contents
Rob Allan 2005-05-09