Welcome!

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

Related Topics: Weblogic

Weblogic: Article

Portal Tips and Tricks

Easy fixes to improve your portlets

WebLogic Portal 8.1 Service Pack 2 has been out for several months. By the time this article is published, Service Pack 3 may also be out. Having worked on a couple of WebLogic Portal projects with this version, I have come across several small and large issues.

This article will provide several tips and tricks to solve these problems, with appropriate code snippets to help Portal developers. Please note that several of these snippets can be found on the BEA newsgroup and/or as part of the BEA WebLogic Portal samples that come with the WebLogic Platform download. However, I have taken most of those snippets and modified them to suit the use cases that I will apply them to in this article. So let's jump right in...

Tip 1: Log in to Your Portal
The BEA samples kit provides several login examples. There are a few things to bear in mind when choosing the login type that you want: Do you want to support automatic login using cookies, login using a controller or a backing file, etc.? One thing to remember is that you always want the portal to refresh after login, so that entitlements can kick in. The two samples worth looking at are the AutoLoginBacking.java and the LoginBacking.java file under the tutorial portal directory. I like using a backing file for the login process so that I can perform an automatic login, and other login checks regardless of the exact page URL that the user bookmarks. Listing 1 shows AutoLoginBacking.java. I have taken the original AutoLoginBacking.java provided by BEA and merged it with the LoginBacking.java. I had some issues with deleting the cookies on logout. You will see a complete working implementation in this example (the code for this article is online at www.sys-con.com/weblogic/sourcec.cfm).

Tip 2: Working with Portlet Maximize and Minimize
You will often feel the need to control the maximizing and minimizing behavior of your portlets. I'll show you a single snippet of code that can be tweaked for almost all scenarios where you need to do this. Let's look at the code and then I will talk about when and where to use this.

The first thing you need to do is get a PortletBackingContext:

PortletBackingContext context =
PortletBackingContext.getPortletBackingContext(request);

On the context object you can do things like change the mode (View Mode or Edit Mode), or change the state (Normal, Minimized, or Maximized). You will need code such as

context.setupModeChangeEvent(WindowCapabilities.VIEW.getName());
context.setupStateChangeEvent(WindowCapabilities.MAXIMIZED.getName());

You can also hide the buttons programmatically. For example, to hide the maximize button, you can use the following code:

context.setCapabilityVisible(WindowCapabilities.MAXIMIZED, getName(), false);

The lines of code shown above are all you need to work with the state, mode, and visibility of your portlets. I have used them from backing files as well as controllers. For example, consider the following use cases.

  1. You have four pages, each with some portlets. Let's say the user is on Page 1, and they maximize a Portlet. Then they go to Page 2. When they come back to Page 1, by default the Portlet that was maximized will remain maximized. If you want it to be restored, you will need to use a backing file at the page or Portlet level.
  2. You have enabled the EDIT button on the Portlet title bar. If you want the edit page to always show in a maximized view, again you will need a backing file. In this case, you will need to check the mode and if the mode is EDIT, you will need to maximize the portlet. Similarly, if the mode is VIEW, you will need to restore the portlet to its original state.
  3. You don't want to show the maximize button to the user, but you still support use case 2 above. In this case, you cannot turn off the maximize capability, but you can hide the icon using the code above.
  4. You can also use this code in the beforeAction() and afterAction() methods of your controller to control the behavior of your portlets.
Tip 3: Refresh Action for Controllers
In Service Pack 2, a patch was released that forced the controller to re-execute each time the page was refreshed. Without this patch, a controller would not get executed on a refresh (patch number CR129301 from BEA). I recommend getting this patch, as you will almost surely need it. Hopefully this will be part of Service Pack 3.

Tip 4: IconUrl in JSR 168 Portlets
You cannot use the iconUrl property in WebLogic Workshop to set a graphic in the titlebar for a JSR 168 portlet. You need to do it by editing the weblogic-portlet.xml file. See the code snippet below.


        <portlet>
             <portlet-name>myPortlet</portlet-name>
            <supports>
                 <mime-type>text/html</mime-type>
                <titlebar-presentation>
                        <id>jsr-titlebar</id>
                       <icon-url>window-icon.gif</icon-url>
               </titlebar-presentation>
           </portlet>

Tip 5: DotPortal Versus Streaming Mode
The basic difference between these modes is whether you read the portal definitions from the XML files that are bundled in the EAR or whether you read them from the database. It is a good idea to deploy in streaming mode so that you can define entitlements for your portlets. Also, in streaming mode you have dynamic control of the layout of the portlets, look and feel, and other such user attributes.

From a development standpoint, the real tip here is to keep all your URLs relative. In streaming mode all the URLs will change so you need to watch out for that. Here is a code snippet you can use to check whether you are in the DotPortal or Streaming mode.


<%@ page import="com.bea.netuix.servlets.manager.AppContext"%>

        if (session.getAttribute("DOT_PORTAL") == null)
        {
            AppContext appContext = AppContext.getAppContext(request);
            if (appContext.isDotPortal())
            {
                session.setAttribute("DOT_PORTAL", new Boolean(true));
            }
            else
            {
                session.setAttribute("DOT_PORTAL", new Boolean(false));
            }
        }

Summary
This article provides some simple tips and tricks for common issues that I faced when building a portal application. Many of these are related to patches and bugs that should be a part of Service Pack 3. Others are just simple tweaks based on your specific use cases.

More Stories By Kunal Mittal

Kunal Mittal is a consultant for implementation and strategy for Web services and services-oriented architectures. He has co-authored and contributed to several books on Java, WebLogic and Web services.

Comments (4) View Comments

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.


Most Recent Comments
chirag sharma 03/24/06 02:20:34 AM EST

People,
I am working on developing a single sign on application where a link on an application running on Weblogic 8.1 application server should point to another application running on Oracle application server.
I need to authenticate the user b'fore pointing him to that application. The authentication data resides in a Microsoft Active Directory and is accessed through LDAP.
Please suggest some documents on achieving SSO in weblogic and if possible some sample code as well.

Carmen 04/29/05 05:44:07 PM EDT

The source code link for this article
http://www.sys-con.com/weblogic/sourcec.cfm
is not working. Is there any other way of accessing the source code?

Kunal mittal 12/07/04 02:35:01 PM EST

Thanks Raghu.

You should add the backing file for login at the top level book/page.

Kunal

Raghu 12/07/04 12:50:10 PM EST

Nice article. I have a question on login. Instead of specifying the autologinbacking for each page, can i put specify at the desktop level.

Thanks,
Raghu

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
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.
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, will discuss how from store operations...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they b...
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.