Wednesday Oct 09, 2013

NEW ORACLE WEBCENTER CONTENT USER INTERFACE ON VERSION 11.1.1.8
By Roberto Nogueras

Oracle purchased Stellent in November 2006. Soon the Stellent Content Server product became the Oracle Content Server, then Oracle UCM and finally it became the Oracle WebCenter Content. As you see, the product name has changed 3 times in the past 7 years. However, the user interface hasn’t changed that much. Oracle rebranded it in 10gR3 version and has given the software only minor updates ever since. The interface is functional, but perhaps too complex for some end users and lacks the look and feel of modern web applications.

In Spring 2013, it became known that Release 11.1.1.8 was going to feature a new user interface. Some time in September, I decided to download and install it. I connected to the home page URL, logged in and the good old UI came up:

I know, I know, I should read the documentation before installing. After doing so, I found out a few interesting things:

  • The new UI is not a replacement for the old one. It just contains the features more useful for end users.
  • The new UI is an ADF application that you have to install in a separate WLS domain, and there’s no problem in running it in a separate machine.
  • The new UI communicates with the content server by using the RIDC protocol (There’s a dedicated port open for that protocol on the content server side)

The setup is fully explained in the documentation, so we’re not going to get into the details. I’d rather perform a functionality analysis of the new UI. As mentioned before, it’s end user-oriented.

First of all, let’s login. After logging in, this is the main screen:

It’s quite obvious that it has just a few options and the main screen displays, by default, a blank search result. Let’s click the “Upload Button” to check in new content:

Nice. A pop-up window opens and we can either browse the file system or drag-and-drop some content from a file explorer window. When we add a file, the “Metadata” section expands automatically and we can enter data:

We’re redirected to the main screen, and after waiting a few seconds for the search index to be updated, we can click the “refresh” button and then the new document appears in the search:

If we click it, a new tab/window opens displaying this preview screen:

This one is a beautiful design, in my opinion. On the left side we see the document content and more importantly, the tabs to navigate between revisions. On the left side, we can see metadata values , the menu to check out the content, and some other options as “Favorite”, “Follow”, and “File Document” which will be discussed a bit later. By now, let’s check out some content and create a new revision. Please note that a new tab is created:

You can “Follow” pieces of content , which is similar to the old “Subscribe” option, that is, the user wants to be notified every time a new revision is generated for that content item. You can also can mark content as Favorite, which is something new, and finally, you can arrange content into “Libraries”, that are just an evolution of folders. That’s the use of the “File Document” option: to put content into libraries:

There’s little else to say about the interface, as we’ve discussed all of its functionality. Now I hope you have the information to make the decision of using it or not. The benefits for end users are obvious and the cost is also obvious: an extra WLS domain and more memory consumption on the server side.


About the Author:


Roberto Nogueras is based in Madrid, Spain and has been an Oracle University instructor since 1995. He specializes in the Oracle database, application server and middleware technologies. Roberto has been working with Oracle WebCenter Content since the Stellent acquisition.

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