Plumtree Software this week will announce a software suite that bundles upgraded versions of its portal, search, collaboration and content-management offerings with a new module designed to let customers build composite portal applications from Web services.SAN FRANCISCO -\u00a0Plumtree Software\u00a0this week will announce a software suite that bundles upgraded versions of its portal, search, collaboration and content-management offerings with a new module designed to let customers build composite portal applications from\u00a0Web services.Plumtree's Enterprise Web Suite is the vendor's first attempt to package its software products as an integrated application platform suite - a trend analysts say is catching on with users."By 2004, most enterprises won't buy a portal product; instead, they will buy a set of functionality that includes the portal, and which will likely be bundled into a suite," Gartner predicts.The suite includes one new product, Enterprise Web Development Kit (EDK), which consists of a tool set for assembling portal applications from Web services components running on different platforms.With EDK, Plumtree aims to mask the complexity of making Web services built in Java and Microsoft's .Net work together, says Glenn Kelman, vice president of marketing and product management at Plumtree. The two development platforms employ different encoding schemes and different ways to serialize data. EDK offers tools to resolve those differences behind the scenes, he says.Plumtree doesn't purport to replace the development platform customers use to build Web services - whether it's BEA Systems' WebLogic platform, IBM's WebSphere platform or any other system - but it wants to be the environment for assembling those Web services into applications, Kelman says. "We've got these terrifyingly huge competitors. Ultimately, the one thing we can do that they can't is stitch it all together," he says.EDK's development tools include profile services, to import user data from back-end systems; authentication services that synchronize with existing user directories so developers can add customer, partner, supplier and employee users to a portal; and crawler services that seek out and index new content from external repositories.To promote component reuse, the Enterprise Web Suite contains a revamped knowledge directory that organizes all the resources used to build applications.Plumtree also devised a new template to speed application building. With the templates, users can pull in services from Plumtree's content management and collaboration modules, and build customized user interfaces or reuse existing models. New security provisioning tools let companies designate separate sets of controls for each application; one user might have administrator privileges in one application, but not another, for example. In earlier versions, one user's role was fixed across applications, Kelman says.Also new to the Enterprise Web Suite is a universal user profile system that lets organizations import user data from back-end systems - such as Lightweight Development Access Protocol repositories, human resources systems or customer databases - and combine it with portal services to create more personalized applications.Enterprise Web Suite includes upgraded versions of Plumtree's major products: Plumtree Corporate Portal 5.0, Plumtree Search, Plumtree Collaboration Server 3.0 and Plumtree Content Server 5.0.Plumtree says the new editions will be available by midyear, and a new version of Plumtree Studio Server, for building database-driven forms and services, will be available in the summer.