Sakai is a useful software framework for developing customised portals. Once you are familiar with the components of the TPP, mainly Spring and JSF you can create and deploy portlet tools in a couple of hours. Development follows the standard web application pattern very closely; in fact every tool is a web application that the Sakai dispatcher is made aware of via a registration XML file. Adrian Fish has written tools to make Grid MDS queries via a web service at Daresbury and to query metadata repositories, again via a web service at Lancaster. The main problem with tool deployment at the moment is that only a user with global admin status on Sakai can add the tool to the worksite, as opposed to each worksite's nominated administrators. If we disregard the inflexibility of the worksite admin model, Sakai fulfils the requirements for a useful software framework and deployment platform.