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Maximize on the power of WebSphere Portal to build and deploy portals
If you use, develop, manage, or administer WebSphere applications, you are probably already building or managing Web portals-or well on your way to doing so. With this comprehensive book, you'll discover how these portals bring together important functions such as integration, presentation, organization, and customizations-functions needed in every complex application environment. The unparalleled author team ...
Maximize on the power of WebSphere Portal to build and deploy portals
If you use, develop, manage, or administer WebSphere applications, you are probably already building or managing Web portals-or well on your way to doing so. With this comprehensive book, you'll discover how these portals bring together important functions such as integration, presentation, organization, and customizations-functions needed in every complex application environment. The unparalleled author team of experts offers you in-depth insight on mastering the complex aspects of WebSphere Portal, walking you through every facet from installing to deployment.
Mastering IBM WebSphere Portal focuses on not only the portal as a server, but also how it interacts with components such as LDAP servers, enterprise applications, mobile devices, and even other portals. The authors begin with an introduction to the WebSphere product family and then explore such topics as:
* Installing and customizing the portal, as well as migrating existing environments to version 5
* Defining portlets, pages, and user interface properties
* Applying personalization, collaboration, search, and document and content management within WebSphere Portal v. 5
* Using high availability, security and single sign-on, identity management, Web services, and enterprise applications
* Setting up a portal in a high-availability environment and integrating external applications into WebSphere Portal The companion Web site, www.wiley.com/compbooks/ben-natan, presents all the code in the book as well as links to vendors and sources of information pertaining to WebSphere Portal.
About the Authors.
Part I: WebSphere Portal Primer.
Chapter 1: Introducing WebSphere Portal.
Chapter 2: Installing WebSphere Portal on Windows 2000 Server.
Chapter 3: Installing WebSphere Portal on Linux.
Chapter 4: Customizing WebSphere Portal.
Chapter 5: Installing WebSphere Portal Tools and Problem Analysis.
Chapter 6: Migrating to WebSphere Portal Version 5.0.
Part II: Building and Administering Portals with WPS.
Chapter 7: Defining Portals and Pages.
Chapter 8: Tailoring the Portal Web Design.
Chapter 9: WebSphere Portal Personalization.
Chapter 10: Portal Administration.
Chapter 11: Document and Content Management within WebSphere Portal.
Chapter 12: Adding Collaboration and Search Components to Your Portals.
Part III: Portlet Development in WebSphere Portal.
Chapter 13: Extending Portal Functionality: Portlets.
Chapter 14: Portlet Programming Model and API.
Chapter 15: WebSphere Portlet Development Environment.
Chapter 16: Portlet Development.
Chapter 17: Portlet Interactive Debug and JSR 168 Example.
Chapter 18: Struts Portlet Framework.
Part IV: WebSphere Portal within the Enterprise Environment.
Chapter 19: Implementing Authentication for Large Enterprises.
Chapter 20: Integrating Security and Identity Management Tools with WebSphere Portal.
Chapter 21: Designing High Availability into Your Portal Server.
Chapter 22: WebSphere Portal Support for Web Services and Remote Portlets.
Chapter 23: Integrating External Applications with WebSphere Portal.
Chapter 24: Supporting Mobile Users.
What is a portal and why do I need it? What does WebSphere Portal offer that I can't do with custom code? In this chapter, we will answer these questions and introduce you to the WebSphere brand and more specifically to WebSphere Portal. We will show you how WebSphere Portal can help you rapidly develop and deploy applications that will impact your bottom line by introducing you to its features and architecture. At the end of this chapter you will understand why you need a portal and how WebSphere Portal meets your portal requirements.
What Is a Portal and Why Do We Need Them?
When the Internet was first introduced, applications were simple and text based. Graphics were soon introduced, and programmers found out that much of the development effort was shifting to look and feel rather than implementing business function. Then developers felt it would be cool to integrate various other sites into their own; however, this generated a smorgasbord look and feel. Security soon became an issue and each site then required authentication. If the developer had integrated multiple sites into his or her own site, the user would endure the frustrating experience of having to do multiple logins on a single site, each with adifferent name and password. By the 1990s the Internet was experiencing a massive boom when numerous software companies and IT departments were developing software; however, most of it provided the same functionality. Many groups were designing search engines and collaboration software and IT managers were questioning why they were constantly redesigning the wheel and why productivity and quality were so low. Then, if there weren't enough headaches, Internet applications were required to be accessible on many different devices with very different attributes such as desktops, mobile phones, and palm pilots. Some devices can handle sophisticated graphics and have lots of visual room while others have limited input and output capabilities (e.g., a mobile phone).
Portals, specifically WebSphere Portal, help today's businesses address the Internet challenges. It helps programmers focus on developing the business functionality by letting the portal manage the look and feel, personalization, content management, and security. It allows users to integrate different applications from disparate locations and enables them to seamlessly exchange information. Each user can create a personalized device-independent "desktop" with a consistent look and feel by using drag and drop components. Much of the functionality that is required for Web experience does not have to be programmed but can be found in the portal library, a collection of "shrink wrap packaged" portlets or portal applications.
The WebSphere Family
WebSphere is a software platform that enables you to develop, deploy, and integrate all types of enterprise-scale e-business applications: from business to business, customer to business, employer to employee, on demand, and even legacy.
WebSphere is made up of three components (Figure 1-1): foundation and tools, reach and user experience or business portals, and business integration.
Foundation and Tools
The "engine" and the "frame" of the WebSphere constitute the WebSphere Application Server (WAS). It is the environment in which you run and manage your Java applications. WAS is a complete, open standard Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.4 application server that enables you to perform the following tasks:
1. Integrate easily to other e-business and legacy applications through its support of J2EE Connector Architecture. This gives a consistent way of connecting and communicating to other applications without complex programming.
2. Communicate to other distributed systems using guaranteed and reliable persistent high-performance messaging based on the Java Messaging Service (JMS) and/or Web Services.
3. Deploy and administer applications with ease on a single server. With the optional WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment, you can manage and administer a large number of servers and reduce your administration costs with its automated server management. Installation and administration capabilities are further enhanced through the support of Java Management Extensions, which enables integration with third-party system management products such as Tivoli, Candle, and CA.
4. WAS provides you with performance optimization and reliability by allowing you to control and isolate each application run-time environment. With the WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment option, you get high availability and high transaction support through clustering and caching. Using clustering, it supports load balancing and automatic failover capability. Load balancing can be done at the routers, Web servers, or the application servers. It also provides content-based routing and edge-based caching.
5. Sophisticated and complete security support through
a. Secure system resources with the Java 2 security model
b. Standardize authentication with Java Authentication and Authorization Services (JAAS)
c. Secure communication channels (TLS/SSL) using Java Secure Socket Extension
d. Security encryption and message authentication using Java Cryptographic Extension
e. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) integration based on Java Cryptographic Architecture. PKI manages the issuing, distribution, and authentication of private and public digital keys. Digital keys are used to authenticate an individual or a resource.
f. Secure interoperability between application servers
g. Support for registries based on Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
h. Single sign-on support using Trust Association Interceptor or Lightweight Third Party Authentication (LTPA)
6. Deploy applications independent of hardware and software environments. WAS can be deployed on Intel, Sun, HP, and IBM hardware platforms running AIX, Linux, zOS, OS/400, Solaris, HP-UX, and Windows 2000/2003.
To enable rapid deployment of applications on WAS, IBM provides WebSphere Studio: a suite of integrated application development tools based on the ECLIPSE open standard framework. From a single user to a large team environment, developers can rapidly develop, debug, and test their WebSphere Applications and then seamlessly deploy into a WAS environment. The WebSphere Studio integrates with the Rational product line including modeling to code generation, testing, and version control.
The foundation and tools component also includes WebSphere Host Integration family, which enables you to integrate your legacy assets with your e-business.
WebSphere Business Integration is a suite of 24 products that provides end-to-end integration by performing the following tasks:
1. Using modeling to design, simulate, and plan business processes
2. Providing products that facilitate linking people, processes, applications, system, and data
3. Enabling you to connect to your customers and partners
4. Allowing you to control and track business processes
5. Enabling you to review, analyze, and improve processes and performance
Items 1, 4, and 5 are supported by the WebSphere Business Integration. Item 2 is supported through message brokering and formatting using WebSphere Business Integration Message Broker. IBM WebSphere Business Integration Message Broker transforms and enhances real-time information between applications that use different message structures and formats. Item 3 is supported by WebSphere MQ. WebSphere MQ allows you to integrate applications using messaging.
WebSphere Business Portals
WebSphere Business Portal suite focuses on the e-business user experience. It consists of WebSphere Commerce, WebSphere Everyplace, WebSphere Voice, and WebSphere Portal.
WebSphere Commerce enables a user to create selling, buying, and channel management solutions for anything from a simple on-line sales channel to a multitier integrated demand chain.
WebSphere Everyplace provides a suite of tools that facilitate the delivery of Web pages and e-business applications to a broad range of mobile devices.
WebSphere Voice supports development and deployment of conversational and voice recognition e-business solutions. It also provides translation services and unified messaging that includes voice mail, e-mail, and faxes.
The last product, but the most important from this book's perspective, is WebSphere Portal, which, according to IBM's Web site (ibm.com), provides "a single point of personalized interaction with applications, content, processes, and people." Now we explore this statement and elaborate what it means.
What Is WebSphere Portal?
Previously in this chapter, we discussed what a portal is. WebSphere Portal provides all these capabilities plus the availability and scalability required for large enterprise applications. But to really understand what WebSphere Portal is, you need to look at from the users', programmers', and administrators' perspectives.
The User Experience
WebSphere Portal allows users to create their own virtual desktops that are machine independent. Each user can create his or her own portal pages and customize the content and look and feel of these pages. They can add functionality to their pages through portlets, which are portal applications. Portlets are custom made by your sites' programmers, downloaded from the IBM portal catalog, or are available from software vendors. Each portlet has settings that allow users to customize the functionality for their environment. An extensive set of portlets is available from IBM and its partners through the Portal Catalog at ibm.com/software/genservers/ portal/portlet/catalog.
At last count IBM had 531 portlets in its catalog. Figure 1-2 shows some financial portlets available from the catalog. Portlets can be easily added to a page by clicking on the Edit Layout link at the top page you want to customize.
Users can have as many personalized pages as they want. They are arranged in a hierarchical manner with any level of depth starting from their home page. Based on their permissions, users can choose for each page or set of pages their own themes, skins, and layout. Themes define the fonts, colors, spacing, and other look-and-feel components of the page. They are a combination of cascading style sheets, JSP files, and images. Skins comprise title bars, borders, shadows, etc. that surround the portlets. Each page and the pages associated with its tree can have their own theme and skins, thus creating a virtual portal. Each department that enters into the portal will have its own look and feel.
WP Page Navigation supports complex navigation trees and labels that logically group a set of navigation elements.
WebSphere Portal allows users to view content on multiple devices and in multiple languages, including double byte and bidirectional. It also generates markup that complies with the American Disability Act Section 508 Web Accessibility Standards and the guidelines of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative. If the portal needs automatic translation, users can incorporate WebSphere Translation Server.
WP provides the user the ability to syndicate content or to get up-to-date personalized and filtered content and services from multiple subscriber sources such as Financial Times, Hoovers, Factiva, and others. These subscribers support the Rich Site Summary (RSS) format, so their news and entertainment content can be displayed, managed, and edited with WP's built-in RSS portlet.
WebSphere Portal also enables the user to manage the creation, approval, and publishing of Web content through the support of Web Content Management products. Integration kits are provided on how to publish RSS content from Web Content Management vendors such as Documentum and Vignette. WebSphere Portal also provides its own sophisticated Web Content Management system called IBM Lotus Workplace Web Content Management (ILWWCM).
ILWWCM(formally known as Aptrix) is an enhanced Web Content Management System that replaced WebSphere Content Publishing. ILWWCM is a separately installed component that you need to get from your IBM representative. In the next version, it should be totally integrated into WebSphere Portal.
ILWWCM is designed for organizations with users that publish content to a Web site, whether it is marketing updating product information or human resources updating information on benefits. Content can be published through templates or forms and consists of images, Word documents, Excel, HTML, and so forth.
Through the ILWWCM administrator, users can contribute content, have it categorized, and deployed in a controlled manner using a workflow model. ILWWCM manages the task list of each user and through the establishment of role security enables what content can be changed, created, or deleted by a user. With the use of the workflow model, it coordinates the review and publishing process.
To address more sophisticated content manager requirements, use IBM Content Manager.
WebSphere Portal Document Manager (PDM) provides users the ability to view, add, edit, and delete documents within a common folder hierarchy that can be user-defined. Documents can be made available immediately or to go through an approval process using a defined workflow model. PDM uses WP's access controls, so users can define who can create, read, update, and/or delete a document based on their roles. Authorizations can be set by folder, which will be inherited to the subfolders. PDM provides a subscription capability that enables users to see in their Update folder, for a specified period, a document when it is changed.
PDM supports multiple different types of documents and provides productivity components that enable users to create and edit rich text, spreadsheets, and presentation documents within their browser.
WebSphere Portal provides the user with a vast range of search capabilities. It is built on a sophisticated search engine that supports free-text queries with query assistance and query word completion. Queries can be performed in any language and can use wildcard, advance query operators, synonyms, stop word lists, and fielded search options.
Excerpted from Mastering IBM WebSphere Portal by Ron Ben-Natan Richard Gornitsky Tim Hanis Ori Sasson Excerpted by permission.
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