Oracle WebCenter: Adminstration

We've talked in previous weeks about the key goals of the new release of WebCenter are to provide a Modern User Experience, unparalleled Application Integration, converging all the best of the existing portal platforms into WebCenter and deliver a Common User Experience Architecture.  We've also provided an overview of Oracle WebCenter and discussed some of the other key goals in previous weeks. This week, we'll focus on Administration in Oracle WebCenter.

We recently spoke with Igor Polyakov, Senior Principal Product Manager at Oracle around this topic and here is what Igor had to say. Traditionally Oracle offers a wealth of system administrative tools for managing WebCenter - Enterprise Manager Fusion Middleware (FMW) Control, WebLogic Console and Scripting Tool (WLST). The FMW Control is the primary management tool that allows system administrator to configure and monitor all applications and services that are running on the WebCenter domain - all from your web browser:

For general information about the FMW Control, see Getting Started Using Oracle Enterprise Manager Fusion Middleware Control in Oracle Fusion Middleware Administrator's Guide.

As an example of using FMW Control I'll take you through registering Analytics Collector connection for your WebCenter application. Before we start, let me remind you that Analytics allows WebCenter administrator or a business user to track and analyze portal usage through various metrics, such as visits to a specific portal page, duration of these visits, access to a specific portlet or a document published on your portal. To make these metrics available you should first register Analytics Collector for your WebCenter application. In the FMW Control navigate to the home page of the portal application.

Note the Application Deployment menu that is circled on the above picture - this is a starting point for pretty much all operations that you may need to perform to configure WebCenter portal. Open this menu and choose WebCenter -> Service Configuration, then from the list of services select Analytics and Activity Graph entry.

Click Add to register a new Collector. In the displayed configuration wizard enter unique name for this connection. Make sure that you selected Active Connection and Enable WebCenter Event Collection for it.  For a simple domain where all WebCenter applications and services are deployed on the same machine, you can use default values for all settings. Click OK to save new connection.

For a detailed description of other WebCenter administrative tasks that you can complete via FMW Control, see Administrator's Guide for Oracle WebCenter.

WebLogic Console is also a browser-based tool that allows system administrator to execute tasks that are specific to configuring and managing a WebLogic domain where your WebCenter applications and libraries are deployed. There are many situations when configuration of your WebCenter applications and / or WebLogic domain should be performed from a command line, for example, this is a typical scenario for automating creation of new WebCenter domains, extending existing domains, deploying new applications or configuring application connections is a consistent way. To address these system administrative needs we provide WebLogic Scripting Tool (WLST), which is a command-line scripting environment that contains a large library of scripting functions that are specific for managing WebLogic Server and WebCenter.

For more information about using WebLogic Server Console, see Getting Started Using Oracle WebLogic Server Administration Console; about using WLST - Getting Started Using Command-Line Tools.

In addition to system administrative tasks a lifecycle of a typical portal requires completing various tasks at runtime, such as managing portal users and assigning them to application roles depending on user responsibilities on the portal, defining new roles, creating new pages and navigations, managing content and etc. Being able to administer your portal at runtime is the core capability of all portal products, including WebLogic Portal, or WebCenter Interaction. Starting with Patch Set 3 release, WebCenter has a formal administration console as well, that empowers portal administrators with tools for managing your portal resources, configuring security, or managing portlet producers or external applications.

 When you create a new application based on the WebCenter Portal Application template, the Administration Console is included into your custom portal by default. To access Console, you have to login as a user that has an Administrator role and then either click on the Administration link or use direct URL: http://server:port/portal_context_root/admin . Mind you that initially Administrator role is assigned to 'weblogic' user only (default password:  weblogic1).

 The screen shot below gives you a quick view of all the resources that portal administrators can manage at runtime, including pages, page templates, navigation models, resource catalogs, skins, page styles, content presenter templates, and many more. In the screen shot you can see two pages - Home and Products. Notice that Products page has sub-pages which is indicated by the icon linking to its sub-pages in the second column. Also, the security settings for the Products page have been overwritten (this is indicated by the little lock in the Access column). For each page on the list you can access the Actions menu that allows you to perform various actions on the selected page, such as Edit Page, Copy or Move Page and etc.  For example, selecting Edit Page will open this page in the Composer where you will be able to add new content to the page or set preferences for portlets on this page.
Next screen shot shows the editing experience for resource catalogues that are available on your portal. You may remember that in previous WebCenter releases it was impossible to edit resource catalogues at runtime - you could only edit catalogues in the JDeveloper on the XML source level.

On the Services tab you can manage content, external applications, portlet producers and polls. On the screen shot below you can see how documents can be access and managed through the primary content server connection that is registered for your portal. You can add, edit and update content from here, manage document version history and etc.

Under the Portlet Producer section of the Services tab you can register a new producer and thus make new portlets available in the resource catalogue on your portal at runtime (you no longer need to go to the FMW Control on your Enterprise Manager for runtime portlet producer registration). All the users with appropriate edit page privileges can immediately start adding these portlets to the pages that they manage. In the WebCenter PS3 release three types of producers are supported - WSRP Producer, JPDK Producer and Pagelet Producer (new!).
The WSRP portlet producer registration UI is shown on the screen shot below.

For detailed description of how to configure WSRP Producer Security or Key Store for the new connection, see Managing Portlet Producers.

The Security tab (see screen shot below) allows you as the portal administrator to configure portal's security. For example, by default WebCenter portal has only three roles defined - Administrator, AppConnectionManager and AppConnectionViewer. This is certainly not enough for allowing end users to access the portal and perform actions based on their business functions. Portal administrator should consider creating custom roles with privileges that are specific to the business case that your portal is addressing. WebCenter administration console allows you to do that at runtime.

To create a new role you need to click the Add icon above the Role Name pane. Enter a role name and description (optional) in the displayed dialogue and then click Create Role. After creating a new role you should set appropriate permissions for this role. The screen shot below shows UI for setting permissions that is displayed after you clicked Edit icon for the selected role:

After you created a set of roles for your portal you can manage privileges of portal users (or user groups) by assigning them to an appropriate application role. Keep in mind that if necessary, privileges that were initially granted to a role can always be modified at a later time. The screen shot below  shows the menu that allows you to add Users or User Groups to the selected role:

This completes a brief overview of using the new Administration Console for managing your WebCenter portal at runtime. For more detail, see Using WebCenter Portal Administration Console chapter in the Administrator's Guide for WebCenter.

Be sure to keep checking back later as we'll provide more assets and discussions around Administration in Oracle WebCenter.


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