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 =

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


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.


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));
                session.setAttribute("DOT_PORTAL", new Boolean(false));

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

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
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.


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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
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 ...
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 settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
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.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
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.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...