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Angelo Santagata's Blog

  • May 10, 2007

Portal Portal and Portal!

Angelo Santagata
Architect

Wow, been an interesting month for me. I've just finished helping a partner of ours detail a large portal for a large customer of theirs, of particular interest was the topic of

  • Integration with Stellent
  • Accessibility

Integration with Content Management Systems


Here the customer already uses a content management system and doesn't want to use the built in Oracle Portal CM. This is fine!, although Oracle portal already has a CM built in , its not in the same vein as a product like Stellent which they use. Using content management systems with oracle portal is quite easy mainly due to standards in how one develops portlets (See JSR 168 & WSRP) and there is a white paper on otn describing Portals and CMS (See here)

In the past if you wanted to integrate with a 3rd party CM you would have to use the Oracle Portal proprietary Java Portlet Development Kit (JPDK), since then standards like JSR 168 & WSRP have appeared and if possible I'd use them instead. However it doesn't mean JPDK is dead, I recently heard that JSR168 doesn't support AJAX  style portlets (i.e. with call backs), and our's has. 

Now an easy way around this is to make the call backs go directly the provider not via the portal engine.. (see here)

back to Stellent and Oracle Portal...

Stellent does support JSR168/WSRP however currently these portlets are not supported/certified on Oracle Portal. Now in practice they'll probably work however since we've acquired Stellent we've been working on certifiying these portlets and enhancing them.  From my internal contacts at Oracle I've been told that the Stellent Portlets (JSR168 compliant) will be certified against Oracle Portal

10.1.4 soon.....

The plan is to release and support them with the 10GR3 release of

Oracle UCM , although the portlets would probably work against Stellent 7.5 but they aren't supported (beware!)

Accessability


Accessibility is all about allowing access to your website via products like JAWS,Dragon etc (These things read the website to you etc).. To validate your website you need to make sure you code the html in a clean and descriptive way. e.g. whenever you have images make sure there is an "alt" text to allow JAWS to read something out..

During my hunt for an accessible website I find , perfection is hard to find. There are tools out there like (http://webxact.watchfire.com/) which check your websites for "accessibility compliance with WACG standards etc, but the results can be misleading..

For example look at http://sacs.kennesaw.edu , its a really good example of an accessible website however even it brings out a couple of warnings/errors. If you read carefully however you'll realise that most of the errors aren't issues..

For example, Oracle Portal uses a hidden frame to do its partial page rendering, this can upset some "accessibility" testers, however if the frame is hidden, the user cant see it, doesn't know its there and JAWS simply ignores it..

Another example is when you use "blank - images" to space your website out nicely, many accessibility checkers flag them too, simply because they don't have "names"...

Anyway, I'm by no means an expert on this but it has been an interesting ride..


Finally check these videos out, they show examples of how to access portal websites using accessible means


Enjoy

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