The SharePoint Team has just announced a new WSRP Toolkit for SharePoint. This is a great step in the right direction for portal interoperability. WSRP is a web services protocol for aggregating content and interactive web applications from remote sources which you can read more about here. In the following, I’ll use the generic term ‘portlet’ for what Microsoft call a ‘web part’ and SAP call an ‘iView.’
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) enterprise edition has all along included two web parts for bringing portlets from other portal technologies into SharePoint, the WSRP Consumer Web Part and the IView Web Part. The first one can be used for consuming any WSRP conformant portlet from any portal technology and the second one is specifically for consuming SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Portal (EP) iViews. So even though not all iViews in EP conform to WSRP standards, you can bring almost anything across from EP to MOSS because we have the IView Web Part. It’s pulling portlets in the other direction that’s been the problem up until now and the only approach has been custom development.
It’s important to emphasise that what’s been released now is a toolkit and not an upgrade to the product, meaning that producing WSRP conformant data in SharePoint still requires development. But this development has just become a whole lot easier using this toolkit. It’s still not as straight forward as it could be, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction and it shows that Microsoft continues to invest in open standards for interoperability.