Monday Aug 06, 2007

Portal Server Administration Overview

A number of portal server components affect Portal Administration. Checkout this Overview of Portal Administration document put together by the portal administration team which describes various portal server components and their role in portal administration.

Thursday Jul 19, 2007

Command-Line Utilities to Administer Communities

Portal Server community administration can be done from either the Portal Server Management Console or through command-line interface (CLI). 

For the Portal Server 7.1u1 release, the command-line utilities for community administration was consolidated into a technical note.

 Each entry has the command (long and short formats), description, syntax, and options.

Instructions to administer communities from the Portal Server Management Console is available in the online help.

Tech Article on Web Services for Remote Portlets




A technical article is now available in BigAdmin on administering Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) for Sun Java System Portal Server 7.1 written by Sunil Bhaskaran. You can also find this information in a WSRP chapter in the Sun Java System Portal Server Administration Guide.

Another technical article by Rajesh Thiagarajan and Marina Sum, in a four part series titled Open-Source Portal Initiative, "describes the WSRP Project's system and deployment architectures, its build and deployment processes, and the procedure for creating remote portlet windows."

Wednesday Jul 18, 2007

The Design Story: Yesterday, Today...

 [Click image to see enlarged view]

The past two iterations of work on the Portal Server Admin console have been an interesting journey in design work.

We started by teasing the Portal Server Console out of the Identity Console. Endless meetings with white boards filled with diagrams of everything that needed to be presented to the user in the console, and how they should be grouped. Denim was my friend those days. At the end of all this we had a spanking new console with a navigation scheme that had a good amount of "scent". What is scent you say? It is a concept that Jared Spool uses, and that I happen to like. The idea is that a well designed website should let users know that they are on the right track. The 7.0 console had the ability to lead you to the area that you wanted to go, and to find your way back there with ease the next time you wanted to.

The next iteration of work was adding the Visual Display Design Tool. A Direct Manipulation Interface that lets the Administrator interact directly with what they are working on - a portal page. This advances the UI further along the continuum of task awareness (note: I did not say task based, task centric etc.. I should blog sometime about my reasons for avoiding those terms...). One of the unique tools in this round of work was comics to tell stories. It was a lot of fun to do, and was a lot more effective in ensuring a shared understanding of the work. Plus it was a lot of fun to put together!

Cross Posted from :

Wednesday Jul 11, 2007

Secure Remote Access (SRA) in 7.1

InformationVisit my blog entry for information on what all traffic and components are involved in executing psadmin commands on the gateway alone node. There have been several queries from folks asking for this information so I have added the same today on my blog. Hope it helps folks.

Thursday Jun 21, 2007

Tasks and CLI go together in the documentation

Portal Server administration task-related commands (CLI) are easy to find now.

In the Portal Server Administration Guide, you will find a link for the equivalent command (CLI) below the task (wherever available) that will directly take you to the Command Line Reference.

Friday Jun 01, 2007

Portal Delegated Administration Screencast

Delegated Administration is another one of the new features in the upcoming Sun Java System Portal Server 7.2 release.

delegated adminThe Delegated Administration feature allows ordinary users other than the super administrator to administer/manage Portal Server resources.

I have recorded a screencast to give a preview of this new feature. It shows how a super administrator can assign delegation of existing portal resources to other portal delegated administrators.

Check out the screencast here -- Portal Delegated Administration Screencast

Thursday May 31, 2007

Portal Desktop Design Tool Screencast

design As indicated in an earlier posting, one of the main features of the future Portal Server 7.2 release will be the Desktop Design Tool. 

The Desktop Design Tool will be an easy to use tool for portal administrators to design and customize a portal page's layout and theme.

To give a preview of this upcoming feature, I have recorded a screencast that shows how this tool can be used for adding new content, changing the layout of the page by rearranging  tabs and channels, and finally, changing the theme of the page.

Check out the screencast here -- Portal Desktop Design Tool Screencast

Wednesday Dec 06, 2006

WSRP milestone 1 preview available

milestone1 Aligned with the announcement on WSRP milestone build 1, the milestone 1 "preview" is available. This preview delivers a installable WSRP components that allows users to try out the planned features of milestone 1. As the project stabilizes we plan to tag the codebase as milestone 1 build by end of December. The milestone 1 build tries to deliver a implementation that consists of
  1. WSRP Producer    -  Allows creation of multiple producers.
  2. WSRP Consumer   - Deliver a Container API implementation  that can be used by any aggregators
  3. WSRP Test Driver  - Use the above WSRP Consumer Container API and deliver a test driver based on portlet container test driver
  4. WSRP Admin Portlets - Provide an user interface for the WSRP Mbeans.
  5. WSRP Mbeans with sample admin server - Export WSRP administrative interface as Mbeans and provide a sample Mbean server.

The WSRP functionality is built over the  Portlet Container Open Source Project.

You can get the Install and User guide for this preview build which is available at the project site.  If you have questions on how to use the WSRP Project and other comments/suggestions/requests, we urge you to join the Project mailing alias.

Screencast and other materials would be available soon.


Wednesday Nov 08, 2006

Managing Portal with Scripts

A new article is available on Sun Developer Network which details how to leverage scripts for managing Sun Portal Server 7.  While the administration console is intuitive and powerful, scripts allow individuals a great number of advantages for performing repetitive or even a series of commands.

 Readers will like this article for its breadth and technical overview of the portal CLI.

Tuesday Jul 11, 2006

What a Portal Provides

Why use a portal when building a new service for your community rather than a web page, or a web site, or a web application or a rich application or other presentation layer method?

Below are a few items which initially seem like a set of criteria for determining if a project should be constructed with a portal or not, however, they may be even more insightful when thinking about the evolution of presentation services and the combination of user interface and web site design methods.
  1. Portal Services - a portal platform comes with several items, a portlet design tool, a page layout tool, a portlet container and support for WSRP and Interportlet communication, a desktop personalization system (individual can select / arrange content), a content management system, a human workflow application development system, an integrated search engine, an identity / policy management system or integration, a system for end user service creation and group collaboration.
  2. Presentation Service Aggregation - A portal provides a desktop to assemble multiple portlets into portal pages with associated navigation.  As an example, a set of portlets could be grouped into a portal page (aka, a tab) and added to an existing portal desktop.  A different set of portlets can be grouped into another page and added as a tor as as a subtab to an existing tab, etc.  Aggregation allows new services to be either added/deleted/modified to the default presentation layer or "made available" to users allowing them to add/delete/modify their displayed content.
  3. Identity Based Content Delivery - A portal fully integrated with an identity management system allows the content to be deployed to the portal depending on a users role.  A specific portal page or portlet can then be made available to individuals based on their identity realms, orgs, roles, etc.  IBCD provides one of the most significant developments in portals, and provides a powerful method for both determining an organization's productivity as well as ensuring security  / policy compliance for all services in an enterprise.
  4. Atomized Presentation Services -  A web application can be built in a portlet as either, a full application inside a single portlet with full page flow, a set of portlets, with interportlet communication and individual page flow, or as an atomized function of a full web application.  As an example for this last method, an inventory control system could be built as a full web application.  Additionally, a portlet can be developed which allows managers (if given access to the portlet using IBCD), to see when widgets cross below a specific threshold.  The portlet could have additional functionality which allows the manager to set thresholds per widget.  The portlet could further allow the manager to click widgets displayed, which would open a new browser window, passing the widgets attributes to a web application allowing the manager to order new widgets.  A portal page could contain multiple atomized services which is then deployed to specific users, groups, orgs depending on identity policy.  Additional atomized services can then be easily added to the enterprise (or modified, or deleted, or replaced) without affecting the existing enterprise site design.
  5. User Preferences and User Personalization - As stated in Presentation Service Aggregation, a great number of portlets can be available to users which they individually can add/delete/modify from their default display.  Utilizing the new AJAX desktop from Sun, users can drag/drop/preview/add portlets to their pages, creating a customized view/desktop which suites their needs best.  Leveraging the concept of atomized services, the enterprise could more services which users leverage or not depending on the services usefulness to them "individually".
  6. Centralized Navigation -  A portal can become an enterprise's central navigation unifying web applications, web sites and portals, regardless if the top level is aimed at "all customers", "all employees", "public", or "managers", etc.  Using the concept of centralized navigation, administrators can design the navigation within an enterprise combining web applications, web sites and portals.  The portal home page becomes the entry point for all navigation, and leverages or becomes the basis for the look/feel for all other content.  This last aspect also helps to centralize the "look/feel" repository for a company, allowing a single change to proliferate across all web sites, web pages, web applications and portal pages.  Integrated search additionally provides a central method to add extended navigation to an enterprise wide site.  As navigation becomes deeper, users can search for services or save searches for their own customized navigation.
  7. End User Service Creation - The newest technology to be made available to portals is allowing end users to build web pages, web sites, and web presentation services utilizing communities, wiki's and atomized presentation services (portlets).  Users can define their community, their participants, can create web pages on the fly utilizing html, text, and even portlet services.  The last item is very significant to the community, as it means that the collaboration capabilities are based on open standard portlet services.  Infinitely expandable, true non-proprietary, true open expansion and long term life cycle. 
  8. Enterprise Productivity Design - Last, a portal can improve productivity for users interacting with systems.  Web site design and  human interface design only account for a single application, service or site - a portal is concerned with the interaction on a personal level.  Additionally, this design methodology focuses on three areas:
    1. Individual Productivity - Because users can select from multiple available services, and can customize their desktop, and provides Single Sign On, and other personalized aspects., an individual can improve their productivity because they can design their environment to suit their needs, conditions and their desires.
    2. Team Productivity - Because users can create communities, can self publish, can leverage a selectable set of portlet services specific to their community, team productivity within a portal can be dramatically improved.   While IBCD helps the formal organizational structure, End User Service Creation helps the ad-hoc informal organizational structure.  Example, a user may be responsible for ProjectX - they create their community, add their applications, and content, and determine their users.  This becomes their site, and is added to their portal pages.
    3. Organizational Productivity - Using IBCD, an organization can determine what services are available to which individuals, which are default, which are locked in place and which are modifiable.  An enterprise can determine how all services, all navigation is made available to all users depending on their identity, e.g., a new help desk service is create which provides a list of all customer cases which have escalated in the last 5 days - this portlet could be default added to the home page of all product delivery managers (rather than as a separate URL which they may or may not leverage).  Services then become "targeted" and their usage climbs according to enterprise policy.  This allows the "default" content to be specific to an individual - and thus increase the productivity of all individuals from an organizational level.

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