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Entries in Portal (4)


IBM Web Experience Factory 7.0.1

IBM has announced the release of the IBM Web Experience Factory 7.0.1 (Formally know as IBM WebSphere Portlet Factory):

IBM® Web Experience Factory 7.0.1, formerly IBM WebSphere® Portlet Factory, delivers the fastest and easiest way to develop multichannel exceptional web experiences across desktop, mobile, and tablet platforms.


  • New builders
    • Builders for mobile, multichannel solution development including desktop browsers, smartphones, and tablets
    • Builders to incorporate analytics into applications to ensure the feedback loop is closed, allowing business owners to track and adjust success based on application usage
    • Builders for IBM Web Content Manager allows easy integration of content and authoring capabilities in custom portlets
  • Increased developer productivity, with many new features and improvements to make it easier and faster for developers to build exceptional web experiences
  • New production code and samples with full source code providing a robust library of both learning and production examples


My take on this:

  • The trend of dropping the brand names from products is now becoming consistent across more than just Lotus.
  • The enhancements reflect the move to support more than just Portlets. The IBM Web Experience Factory can be used (and has for a while) to build widgets and web applications that go broader than just Portlets. In particular is the support now for Mobile Application Builders that can use the same code base  across a range of devices.
  • This move to more Mobile capabilities is in addition to the upcoming WebSphere Portal Mobile Theme that is in beta (I will post about this soon I promise)
  • Also new builders for analytics applications. Business Analytics is a very fast growing space (hence why ISW has invested so much becoming an IBM Business Analytics/Cognos partner this last year) and IBM is smart to enable this capability in the Web Experience Factory.
  • I am glad they didn't call it the IBM Exceptional Web Experience Factory;)

More information here


Form Based Authentication for WebSphere Portal

I have been meaning to post about this for a few weeks now but have been flat out on some great wins for ISW. A cou[ple of great Portal wins and a couple of new Connections sites. (I might post about these shortly).

One of the methods of authentication with WebSphere Portal is Form Based Authentication. This is effectively where the client/user connects to the Portal login page and automatically enters the user name and password into the appropriate fields and then "POSTS" the form. This triggers the authentication and logs the user on.

The reason why we were looking at this is we were trying to get SearchBlox working for a client that was interested in using it to index and search their WebSphere Portal. SearchBlox is quite similar to the Google Mini search appliance in that it only support Basic HTTP Authentication and Form Based Authentication (Google Search Appliance offers a number of other means of authenticating over and above these).

So to test Form Based Authentication out with Websphere Portal I initially thought I would create a simple Widgit in my Notes client sidebar. To configure the widgit you simply create a web page widgit and choose the Form Option (HTTP Post). The widgit wizard then loads the page and you choose the logon form and enter the appropriate field values for the username and password. This works a treat and delivers a simple Widgit that will take you to the portal and log you on via Form Based Authentication. Nice!

So having done that and showing that WebSpere Portal does support Form Based Authentication I figured it should be simple to get it going with Searchblox. And it should have been! When you configure Searchblox you point it to the logon page, specify which fields to use, and provide the username and password for the fields. Simple really! But this is where I went slightly wrong.


I made the mistake of pointing the Form URL to the Portal login page. I ran the indexer and all I would get was about 4-5 pages indexed. These were the pages off course that were unauthenticated pages. Searchblox wasn't getting authenticated. After messing around for a few hrs I just couldn't figure out what was going on. Then it came to me! Off course I was pointing to the Portal Login Page which was wrong. I should have been pointing to the Login Form in the Login Portlet!

Using Firebug you can drill into the source of the Portal Login Page and find the Form URL that you need to use. As you can see in this source code the Form URL is available. Once I realised this I updated the Searchblox settings to use this URL for the Form Based Authentication URL and ran the indexer again. Off it went, logged into the site, and indexed the entire site successfully!


Customising a WebSphere Portal Theme - Remove Signup and Edit My Profile Link

I have recently had the requirement to customise a Portal Theme a couple of times and every time I do it I fall for the same gotcha's so I thought I would document the process so I can remember next time. I recently modified a Theme to remove the Signup and Edit My Profile Links. Dave Hay shows us one way of doing this using XMLAccess however sometimes modifying the theme is required for other reasons as well.

The main reference on how to do this is the Info Center ( however there are a couple of steps that arn't terribly clear so I have recorded what I did below here.

The easiest way to build a theme is to take an exiting one and modify it.

First copy an existing Theme
Copy the following directories and files contained within -

Then copy all of the tld files from the WEB-INF/tld directory in wps.war into the theme WAR's WEB-INF/tld directory in order to get support for all the custom tags used for themes and skins.

I found the description of the above a little confusing so maybe this screen shot helps to explain what the directory structure of your new theme should be.

Image:Brownies Blog - Customising a WebSphere Portal Theme - Remove Signup and Edit My Profile Link

Now to modify the Theme (to remove the Self Care links)
Now you can modify the theme quite dramatically but here I just want to remove the selfcare and signup links.

Find banner_toolbar.jspf in the html/MyThemeName directory and edit it. Now basically what we need to do is comment out the appropriate bits. Don't be mislead by the comments in the document as they arn't exactly worded well. Basically you just need to comment out the sections that refer to the selfcare and signup
Image:Brownies Blog - Customising a WebSphere Portal Theme - Remove Signup and Edit My Profile Link

Now a key step/gotcha in the process is to Edit and Save Default.jsp as well. This updates the timestamp so that Default.jsp will be recompiled with the updated jspf elements. It seems that if you don't do this then it just doesn't work.

Package & Deploy the Theme
This part wasn't so bad. Just follow the doco -

Importing a Theme
and again this part isn't too bad.

So once all that is done all you do is apply the Theme to your Portal pages. You might need to flush your cache and if you use a Proxy that cache's as well you might need to refresh that.


WebSphere Portal Express 6.0

A Lotusphere announcement that I missed (thanks Dave) was WebSphere Portal Express 6.0. We have looked at previous versions of Websphere Portal for a number of our clients in Australia in the past however as most of the Australian market is SMB it really was too big. We looked at Workplace Services Express however it didn't quite have the flexibility of the full Portal. So with the announcement of WebSphere Portal Express 6.0 it is great to see IBM continual commitment to the SMB space.

We have already been using IBM Lotus Component Designer (Previously Workplace Designer I think) and it really is a great tool for us Domino developers to move into the Portal space. Maybe a good project for me would be to integrate Workplace Forms with WebSphere Portal Express 6.0!!