Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Weblogic

Weblogic: Article

Developing a Service Information Portal on the WebLogic Platform

Moving to Java Portlets on WebLogic Portal

Portals can serve many purposes, including the delivery of information used for IT management purposes. A team of engineers within Hewlett-Packard has developed a portal-based J2EE-application, Service Information Portal (SIP), which brings together various management products from HP OpenView, HP's IT management software, and provides a single portal view to many groups of users.

Originally developed before the Java Portlet standard (JSR-168) was released, this product delivers its own portal server and framework. While the team successfully integrated data from the various management systems, the portal lacked the ability to have more flexible layout and navigation. The portal was also limited when it attempted to integrate data from outside sources.

With the Java community's adoption of JSR 168 the SIP team saw the clear benefits of exiting the portal server market. The SIP product provides the content customers want in a single access point, rather than the underlying proprietary portal framework. Many customers of SIP have also built their own enterprise information portals. A big part of portals' value is in the ability to consolidate many pieces of data from various places into one place, so having both an EIP and SIP was a problem for customers.

This growth in the portal server market provided the SIP team with many options for a reference portal server. The team had additional requirements that were atypical of many portal projects. They must deliver functionality in a new portal server that is equivalent to what was available in previous versions. Such functionality that was previously available includes authorization, portal layout and view design, and configuration and application of data filtering. The product had survived for several years and was on version 3.2; developing a migration path was critical as well.

This article describes SIP as it exists in version 3.2, and the changes needed to move to a JSR-168 application using BEA WebLogic Portal Server. It also discusses the benefits of moving to WebLogic Portal Server, compared to using SIP 3.2.

Overview of SIP 3 Portal Architecture
SIP's modules are conceptually very similar to Java Portlets. The modules' implementations are based on Servlet technology, but the configurations of SIP modules and Java Portlets are very different. Within SIP 3, a single module (servlet instance) can be used with many different configurations, and no concept of user-specific settings (portlet preferences) is available. SIP contains a large number of module configurations, instead of a great number of user-specific preferences, as Java Portlets provide. For some installations, a few thousand module configurations would not be unusual. Listing 1 shows a section of what a SIP 3 view file might look like, just to display two columns with a module in each.

SIP 3 contains portal view files for portal layout and overall view and navigation configuration. These portal views are similar to BEA portal template files; they contain the sheets within the view (BEA pages) and module (portlet) placement. However, all of the module configuration information is stored within the SIP view files. Within Java Portlets, portlet configuration is kept in the portlet.xml file. The view file might have five sheets (think BEA pages) and 20 modules (think portlets). The lack of significant overhead encountered when many module definitions are present is a key difference between module configurations stored in view files versus portlet definitions stored within a portlet.xml file. The modules' implementation is a single servlet instance receiving multiple requests with varying configuration information. In a portal server, each unique configuration for a portlet might mean a new portlet instance.

Data filtering is a key piece of SIP functionality. Sometimes a specific audience should only have access to certain management data. An IT service provider may want to provide unique views of management data to different audiences - HR may need to have one view of IT services, and accounting should have their own individualized view. This concept is even more critical when applied to an outsourcing situation, where isolating a customer's access to their own pertinent data can have serious business and legal implications.

Basic SIP authentication requires user validation. The traditional concepts of users and roles are defined within SIP 3, even if this already exits within the authentication system. SIP requires knowledge of roles and users to perform authorization for various portal activities, including who can view or edit which items. Additionally, SIP supports alternative authentication mechanisms such as LDAP, the underlying Web server authentication, or an API to create custom authentication.

The SIP 3 portal framework contains several facets of the term "role" that are critically important. The SIP role delineates which data filter to use and which view a user will see. This, in turn, defines all of the module configurations (see Figure 2). In addition, an SIP user only actively uses one role at a time, whereas, in most Web application servers, a user can be in more than one role simultaneously. If an SIP 3 user has more than one role available, he or she is presented with a drop down box, which allows the user to switch from one portal role to another (see Figure 1).

Portal Server Analysis
The team had to evaluate and choose a portal server that would suit their emerging needs. Two key themes played into portal server selection: the team needed to deliver the same functionality as had been previously available, and they wanted to develop within a robust portal platform that would allow many other integration possibilities. There are some strong open source portal platforms, but these platforms are typically geared toward a more technical community; they may not be JSR 168 compliant, and they may not have sufficient easy-to-use, robust integration possibilities available.

The team chose BEA WebLogic portal server 8.1 for their next release. The portal solutions catalog (http://dev.bea.com/products/wlportal/psc/index.jsp) provided many integration possibilities, and the portal administration application provided a user-friendly administration tool with much of the same functionality available within the previous versions of SIP.

More Stories By Eric Peterson

Eric Peterson works within HP?s OpenView organization as a software engineer on the Service Information Portal product. He has worked on J2EE Web applications and Web site development for the past eight years, for companies that range from small local ISPs to international enterprises. www.managementsoftware.hp.com/products/sip/

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...