Intes.net, an internet solutions provider based in Washington DC, has released the foundation of its OpenInteract Portal environment to the open source community. OpenInteract is an application framework built to speed and enhance development of Internet applications and online environments.
Developed as a pure-perl application, OpenInteract uses many modules from CPAN along with Apache and mod_perl to provide better and more scalable performance. OpenInteract's data abstraction layer can store all of your data in one (or more!) of a number of SQL databases. Generally, if the database is supported by Perl's rock-solid database interface (DBI), it will be supported by OpenInteract. To date it has been tested with Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise and MySQL, and adaptations for Sybase Adaptive Server Anywhere, PostgreSQL, Oracle, DB2, LDAP and XML are on the way.
OpenInteract provides three primary advantages for developers:
First, a productive environment for web development. OpenInteract provides features needed by all web applications such as authentication, user and group management, session handling, task security, themeable pages and more. The environment also provides a rich templating scheme so you and your content providers can become productive quickly using only their web browser.
"Like other popular managed content servers, Zope and Manilla, OpenInteract makes maintaining a website's content less of a time-consuming chore," says Nathaniel Haas, Community Coordinator for OpenInteract. "Whether you're correcting a typo or adding to a listing, you edit the page you're looking at with one click. You make your changes right there and your updates are made instantly."
Second, a data abstraction layer. This layer (called SPOPS, for Simple Perl Object Persistence with Security) allows you to use any supported data store to fetch, create, update and remove objects. Current data stores include DBI (which supports most SQL databases), GDBM and configuration files. However, SPOPS can be easily extended to support CORBA objects, LDAP directories or even simple text files.
One of the primary benefits of SPOPS is that in most cases, you don't even need to write any code to implement an object class! Only a simple configuration file is required to not only define objects and their properties, but also the relationships between objects and different behaviors that can be applied to an object.
SPOPS also makes it simple to apply consistent logic and grouping schemes that cut across different types of objects: for example, a full-text search which not only includes web documents, news items and events, but also electronic manuals, uploaded documents or more.
And because SPOPS is object-oriented, it's simple to provide functionality that doesn't currently exist.
Both OpenInteract and SPOPS (which can be used separately from OpenInteract) have been released under the artistic GPL. Both can be found at http://www.openinteract.org/, along with extensive documentation, frequently asked questions, and more. Intes.net provides support, custom tool development and upgrades in a per installation fee structure."