A strong component keeps everything together

Most of the times you implement a WebCenter Content based system, you require some sort of customization. Sometimes these customizations need a Java class or two, or libraries (for example, the JavaMail API), or Database Objects (like new tables, views, indexes, etc).

I have seen that libraries and Database Objects are usually put in place using manual steps. This means that the library jar files are copied to one of the common classes directory (set in the Content CLASSPATH variable) and/or the database scripts are executed manually. I have also seen people place the custom Java classes in the common classes directory.

While this may seem like an easy solution, think about a scenario where you need to disable or uninstall the component or if you have to upgrade or migrate the system. You have to keep these manual steps documented and execute them every time you encounter the above scenarios. It is very common that some of these manual steps are missed when you have multiple teams and people working on the system.

Here are a few points to ponder upon:

  • Place all your custom Java classes within your component. Create a new directory, say ${COMPONENT_DIR}/classes, and place your code there. You can choose to bundle all your classes into a jar or you can place the entire class directory structure. Add a path entry to the Build Settings so that it is bundled with the component when you build it. You also need to update the Custom Class Path and the Custom Class Path Load Order under the Advanced Build Settings. This will ensure that the system CLASSPATH is updated to add this new directory.
  • Create a new component for any new library that you want to add. Add the appropriate path entries to the Build Settings so that it is bundled with the component when you build it. You also need to update the Custom Class Path, Custom Class Path Load Order and/or the Custom Library Path under the Advanced Build Settings. Enter a comma separated list of features that this component will provide. When you create other components that will use the features exposed by this component, make sure that you specify a dependency to this library component by specifying the comma separated list of features in the Advanced Build Settings.
  • The component wizard allows you to create custom install/uninstall Java code. The wizard will create a install filter class when you check the “Has Install” checkbox on the “Install/Uninstall Settings” tab. Consider using this filter class to create database objects when you install the component and drop the objects when you uninstall the component. If you do a lot of custom component development, consider creating a install/uninstall Java class, which can execute queries defined within the component.

To sum up, whenever you write a new custom component, make sure that you bundle everything within the component.

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