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Developing a Service Information Portal on the WebLogic Platform

Moving to Java Portlets on WebLogic Portal

# create the user "sipadmin"
invoke -mbean Security:Name=myrealmDefaultAuthenticator -method
  createUser sipadmin sipadmin "SIP Admin"
# create the group "SIPAdministrator"
invoke -mbean Security:Name=myrealmDefaultAuthenticator -method
  createGroup SIPAdministrator "SIP Administrator"
# create the role "SIPAdministrator", any users in the group
  "SIPAdministrator"
invoke -mbean Security:Name=myrealmDefaultRoleMapper -method createRole ""
SIPAdministrator "{Grp(SIPAdministrator)}" ""
# add the user "sipadmin" to the group "SIPAdministrator"
invoke -mbean Security:Name=myrealmDefaultAuthenticator -method
  addMemberToGroup SIPAdministrator sipadmin

In summary, the concepts described above highlight the translation of SIP 3 into SIP 4, a Java Portlet application on BEA's portal server. The task of creating users, groups, and roles moved easily into BEA's default security implementation, but still provides many other authentication and authorization options. Designing portal layout and navigation is much more flexible and powerful with BEA portal books and pages. Data filtering, tied to the active role in SIP 3, is now set according to portlet preferences in SIP 4. Finally, the hundreds to thousands of module configurations have been reduced to a handful of portlet configurations with the addition of user-specific portlet preferences.

Conclusion
The SIP team moved from proprietary modules to Java Portlets, and found a roughly equivalent, if not much improved, alternative in the BEA WebLogic portal server. While moving to Java Portlets provided some challenges, there were just as many unanticipated benefits from switching to WebLogic portal. WebLogic portal can be a very compelling platform for a JSR 168 application, using vendor-neutral technologies for implementation and rich tools for portal development and deployment. One of the better moves we made during our project was to work with other portal servers such as Liferay. Working with other portal servers really highlights what JSR 168 provides and doesn't provide, and how portal servers can implement compliance in their own way. If you believe your portlets will be used in a portal server other than BEA, working with other portal servers early is key. Our team also found the use of Eclipse as the IDE and remote debugging of BEA was a big time saver. Using Eclipse was also a benefit in that we can develop in a single environment and test portlets in more than one portal server easily.

References

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/

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