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Oracle Open World 2012 wrap-up

My second open world has come to an end and I can look back with a good feeling. It was a great conference.

Open World is not all about getting your brain washed by Oracle PM's and sales reps. It's also about networking and catch up with partners or customers. I have to say, I had a great time doing both. My brain is now fully washed and I caught up with some lovely chaps.

Read more to find an overview of all the events and presentations I attended. Comments are more than welcome.

Adding parameters to taskflows in the resource catalog

Everybody who works with WebCenter knows about the Resource Catalog. It allows you to provide the users with a catalog of components so they can customize the page by adding these components.

The resource catalog can take taskflows, portlets, folders, documents and much more. Most of us will know how to manage the resource catalog by adding these components and arranging them in folders.

There is one nice feature that is not that well know but can provide powerful functionality. It often happens that a taskflow or portlet has to be reused in different pages with the exact same set of input parameters. Most of the time people put these taskflows on the page and provide the parameters for each instance.

The resource catalog provides us with functionality to preset certain parameters of the taskflow or portlet. These are called URL Parameters and are provided in the bottom section of the component.

Configuring WebCenter Content for WebCenter Spaces PS5

WebCenter PS5 has been released for a while now and people who have done some extensive testing probably know that there are some issues with content integration.

When Oracle releases a patch set, it releases it for all of the products within a stack. This means that at the same time of the WebCenter Portal PS5, WebCenter Content got his patch set as well. That patch set replaced the folders_g component with the FrameworkFolders component which has more benefits over the folders_g. Especially when it comes to performance.

There is just one slight problem with this change and that is that WebCenter Portal/Spaces is not yet ready for this change. it still uses services that are only available in the folders_g component and not in the FrameworkFolders component.

Best practices for using ADF Business Components in WebCenter

ADF Fusion web Applications and WebCenter Portal applications are two different types of applications. Although WebCenter Portal is based upon ADF it works a little different than a regular fusion web application.

For instance it is a good practice to separate the development of your portal and your taskflows. The reason for this is that you can reuse the taskflows in other portals or you can easily plug them into WebCenter Spaces.

When you are building a portal, you probably have to write some transactional taskflows that will connect to a custom database. A portal is not just about collaborative services or integrating external applications. Most of the time you have to build some functionality and include it into the portal.

Because WebCenter is using ADF, it is a wise decision to build those functionalities with ADF Business Components as your data layer.

When building Business Components for a portal there are a few best practices that I would like to recommend. They help to minimize the integration effort and maximize the reusability of your components which is one of the key features of a proper designed portal.

WebCenter 11g PS5 has been released

It's update time again... This time Oracle has released the second patch set for the new WebCenter Portal suite. It is PS5 but we all know that PS3 was a very big update and introduced completely new concepts in WebCenter. So, PS5 is the second patch set after this major update.

In this post you can find a small overview of the changes since PS4. I haven't seen or tested everything yet so I will add more when I encounter more valuable items.

Oracle Fusion Middleware Partner Community Forum Malaga Summary

The OFM Partner forum in Malaga has just finished and it left some very good memories! This forum was even better than the one in Utrecht last year. A lot of the credits go to Juergen Kress and Hans Blaas who organized this event. They really did a very good job!

The venue of this event was in the NH Hotel at Malaga. A nice hotel with lots of room for all the people. My wife and I checked in on Monday and visited the city together with my colleagues from InfoMENTUM. Malaga is really a nice city with vibrant colours and people.

On Tuesday the event started at noon with registration and a lunch. This was the first opportunity to network and network is what I did. It's nice to see familiar faces from previous events. Some of them I met at the partner forum in Utrecht last year so it was a nice opportunity to catch up on the past year.

WebCenter EMG can blow out his first candle!

As from today the WebCenter EMG is one year old. It has not been a very busy year for the EMG but we are growing. WebCenter gains on popularity and Oracle is putting a lot effort into making it a very good product. This reflects on to the number of customers who are using WebCenter which also reflects to the members we can welcome to the EMG.

As of today we have over 150 members, 30 topics and almost 200 messages. I know every start is difficult but I'm glad to see the commitment.

Here's an overview of some of the most popular topics during the last year:

Authorization on WSRP2.0 Portlets
Portlets versus Taskflows
UCM Taskflows versus Open WCM
Friendly URL approach for custom WebCenter implementations
WebCenter Search
Spaces versus Portal Application

As you might see from these responses, some guys from Oracle are also involved to help us out. Thanks to them! They are partially responsible for the success of such an EMG. Without their input we could never have such a high standard of responses. I surely hope they will be able to give their thoughts as well in the future.

WebCenter Portal vs WebCenter Spaces

There have been a lot of questions about when to use WebCenter Portal and when to use WebCenter Spaces. There are specific use cases for each and you can ask yourself a few simple questions that can help you decide what to use. In general WebCenter Spaces is intended for intranet collaboration portals. In previous versions, Spaces has been used because there was no easy way of building a portal with the WebCenter framework. Spaces was just easy because it was there and that's why it has been misused a lot! Since PS3, all good feature are out of the box available in a WebCenter Portal application so you should really look at the correct reason to use Spaces or Portal. In this post you can find a few questions that you can use to help your client or company make the correct decision

Reusing taskflows from an ADF application into WebCenter Spaces

When you are building a portal with WebCenter Spaces, you often want to extend WebCenter Spaces with your own functionality. This can be done by deploying portlets or by adding taskflows to WebCenter Spaces. There are distinct differences on when to go for portlets and when to go for taskflows. In short, when scalability is important you should go for portlets. When personalization is very important you also should go for portlets. If design is very important or integration with the security context then taskflows should be used. For more information on the differences I can point you to another blog post that discusses this topic in more dept.

This post will focus on how to add your own custom taskflows to WebCenter Spaces. Oracle has provided some documentation that explains how to do this. When I was following this documentation I faced some issues that weren't addressed so I will try to explain them here.

Enable Site Studio features in WebCenter Portal

One of the cool features of WebCenter Portal and WebCenter Content is that it integrates quite well into each other. WebCenter Content has a very powerful feature that allows us to create structured information based upon a definition of the data. The data will be stored in XML and we can create several templates to display the content.

These features can be made available in WebCenter Spaces by configuring the OHS properly. With a few tweaks here and there, we can also enable the same features in a custom WebCenter Portal application.

I already made a large tutorial section on how to enable Site Studio in WebCenter and how to work with these region definitions and data files.

The intention of this post is to show how to configure your application so all of the features like inline editing will also work from within WebCenter Portal.

WebCenter video tutorial: Using group spaces and sub spaces

After my previous video tutorials i thought it was a good idea to make some more tutorials. The plan is to release more video's on a weekly base. You can subscribe to my youtube channel This time I will talkabout the use of group spaces and how subspaces can be used to extend the functionality

Oracle Open World Wrap up

While I am waiting for my plane back home I couldn't find a better way to spend my time then to write an overview of how I experienced Oracle Open World.

It's my very first Oracle Open World and I must say, really like it. I met lots of new people, saw some very interesting presentations and got a few ideas to write blog post about.

Using WebCenter to its full potential

I have to admit, I'm a technical guy so these kinds of post are scares for me. I just felt like writing this because sometimes I have the feeling that people are not using WebCenter to its full potential. Let me elaborate about that. In the past I have done both projects for Oracle Portal and WebCenter. I most cases, the portal software was used as a framework to build applications. In just a few cases they were building composite applications. The only additional features used from the portal were features like creating pages at runtime, security. When WebCenter 11g was released I thought this would be better. Oracle puts quite some effort into explaining the added value of the Enterprise 2.0 services and how to use them properly in your business. It's a shame to see that a product of WebCenter not being used as it should be. It's not always a business problem but we, who know the product should tell the business what WebCenter can do and how it can help their business. In this post i share some more thought about how you can convince the business to use real features of WebCenter.

WebCenter 11g PS3 Administration Cookbook has been released

After months of hard work I am pleased to announce that my WebCenter 11g PS3 Administration Cookbook has been released. It contains 14 chapters with over 90 recipes that can help you manage your WebCenter Portal in a professional way. It is currently the only up to date book about WebCenter that explains the new features of the latest version of WebCenter Oracle WebCenter 11g PS3 Administration Cookbook starts by creating an enterprise portal with WebCenter, enhancing it with the new features from the latest 11g version. It not only teaches readers how to build complex navigation models and page hierarchies in detail but also dives into building wikis and integrating content with document services. This cookbook also covers highly essential administrative concepts of WebCenter Spaces, security, and managing WebCenter applications.

Movable box in WebCenter Spaces does not move

When you edit a page in WebCenter Spaces or WebCenter Portal, you can add a movable box to your page. By adding this box, you define a region that can be dragged and dropped to other regions on the page. Now it seems that some page styles in WebCenter Spaces set the Allow Action property to a default so you can only move components in edit mode, even if you have personalization rights to that page. Those components are static once you go back to view mode and nobody can move them. In this post I will show you how you reset this setting so people can rearrange the components if they wish.

Summer of technology: Jumpstart your WebCenter Development

This summer, Contribute is presenting the Summer of technology. Every week we have a one day crash course for a specific technology. From PL/SQL to Coherence and WebCenter.

Thuesday 23 August is my turn to present a hands on session about WebCenter. In this one day course you will learn how to build rich Enterprise 2.0 portals with the latest version of WebCenter.

I will teach you the inns and outs about navigation models, resource catalogs and content integration.
If you are interested in following this session, please register now. It's free and the spots are limited!

Location of the course is in Kontich, near Antwerp in Belgium. This is not a virtual course!

Video tutorial: Overview of WebCenter Spaces

After starting writing a tutorial for a WebCenter Portal project, I thought it would be a good idea to do the same for WebCenter Spaces. Because WebCenter Spaces is a runtime environment, I had the idea of creating some video tutorials. It's the first time I create video tutorials so be gentle with the comments :) In these first video's, I give a small overview of WebCenter Spaces and the administration section. Following topics are addresses in the video:
  • Part 1:
    • Using the Home Space
    • Creating a group space
    • Enabling pages on the group space
    • Managing the group space
  • Part 2:
    • Managing the group spaces of the environment
    • Creating a group space template
    • Adding users and groups to WebCenter Spaces
    • Changing the login behavior
    • Configuring basic settings

Coming soon: WebCenter 11g PS3 tutorial

Now that my book is finally finished I have some time for a new project. I came up with this idea while i was working on my book and i thought it would be a great project for when i had some time... Being now! My book is all about administration recipes. It is not developer centric so it lacks a lot of information when it comes to developing your custom portal. We all know that most of the time we will be writing code instead of configuring the portal. That's why I came up with this idea. The idea is thati write a step by step guide to develop a complete portal. In every post I will talk about a specific part of the portal. In the beginning we will create a basic portal with basic functionality but later on, some advanced topics will be covered. I am currently preparing the tutorial and making a small table of contents. I also want your input so I can adapt the content of the tutorial so it fits all your needs. If you want some specific topics covered in the tutorial, please leave a comment explaining what you want and i might include it in the guide.

WebCenter PS4 has been released

Just a few months after the big update for WebCenter, Oracle has released another patchset. This will bring your WebCenter up to version
This update does not seem to be that significant compared to patchset 3. The release notes do not offer a lot of new features but here are some changes in this patchset:

  • Overall performance and stress tolerance improvements
  • Activity Stream performance enhancements
  • Document approval work flow fixes
  • JSF Portlet Bridge bug fixes
  • Accessibility bug fixes

As you can see, most of the effort went into fixing bugs and performance issues. A good thing because performance is always very important for a product like WebCenter.

WebCenter 11g PS3 Administration Cookbook is available

I am proud to announce that Packt Publishing has just released the WebCenter 11g PS3 Administration Cookbook. It has been released under the Read As we Write (RAW) format. This format allows the publisher to publish the book before it has been completed. Currently only the first three chapters are available but every month, now chapters will be available. The final release of the book is planned for September. If you buy it know, you get a nice discount on the hard copy as well.


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