Upgrading to WCI 10gR4 – The Final Frontier

 

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Plumtree PortalRecently, I worked with a long-time WebCenter Interaction (WCI) customer that requested our assistance in upgrading their Extranet from WCI 10gR3, to WCI 10gR4. As you probably know, WCI has been “end-of-lifed” by Oracle, meaning that the 10gR4 version (aka v10.3.3.0.0) is the last and final version. For many of us that have used WCI since it was a Plumtree product (including this customer), it is the end of an era.

But I digress…

The 10gR4 upgrade should have been a quick, simple, and painless upgrade. According to the Release Notes, there really wasn’t too much that changed from 10gR3 – or so we thought. As we progressed through upgrading their TEST environment, we encountered a variety of things that had changed, weren’t documented, and caused problems that we had to resolve before upgrading their PROD environment.

New Parameter on Method Call

This customer had written a few customizations and extensions to the out-of-the-box WCI portal. These should have all continued to work with 10gR4, but when we were testing, we were seeing an error from their code, stating that a method (com.plumtree.portalpages.browsing.login.LoginModel.GetSubPortalRedirectAfterLogin) could not be found. My first thought was that the method had been removed – perhaps it was an ‘internal-use-only’ method that Oracle decided was no longer needed or something. We looked in the API documentation, and the method was still there. Hmm. Weird.

After a bit of head-scratching, we realized that while the method was still there, what was causing the error was that its signature had changed! With 10gR3 and prior versions, the method had no parameters. But, in 10gR4, there now was a required parameter (IPTSession) that must be passed to the method. This was causing their code to fail, since they weren’t passing this parameter. Adding the now-required parameter to the method call resolved this issue.

[ Side note: This customer uses the .NET version of WCI, but you may have noticed that the links I’m using are to the Javadocs, not the .NET docs. This is because the .NET docs don’t even have this class or package documented – they are just missing (along with quite a few others)! We’ve noticed that the .NET version of the API documentation is very incomplete for some reason. So, even if you are a .NET API user, it pays to take a look at the Java version of the API documentation, as it appears to be much more complete. The two APIs (.NET and Java) are essentially the same – the .NET version of WCI is actually translated from the Java version – so you can safely use the Java docs even if you are a .NET customer. We’ve filed bug 18436590 with Oracle on this issue. ]

The Release Notes for 10gR4 makes absolutely no mention of any API changes! I checked with Oracle Support, and they were unable to find any documentation on this, or any other, API changes from 10gR3 to 10gR4. I haven’t done an extensive comparison between the API method signatures in 10gR3 and 10gR4, so there may be others that could trip you up. So, keep this in mind if you get the “method not found” error – it may not be because the method isn’t there, but that the parameters have changed.

New Advanced Search Adaptive Page Layout

Something that is documented (OK, mentionedin the Release Notes, is that the Advanced Search page is now an adaptive page layout. This is great news, as it means you can customize it to meet your look-and-feel needs as you can with other pages. In this customer’s case, the new adaptive page layout for the advanced search results screen required some customizations to make it ‘fit’ (both physically and aesthetically) in their page.

<pt:kdpage.documentsdata> .url Property Returns JavaScript

The <pt:kdpage.documentsdata> tag is used on the knowledgedirectorylayout.html adaptive page layout. It returns a collection of documents (cards) from the Knowledge Directory that should be displayed on this page (taking into account the selected folder, pagination, etc.). For each document in the collection, there are a set of properties returned – name, id, URL, etc. Our customer had customized the out-of-the-box knowledgedirectorylayout.html file to change the look to match the rest of their site, and once we upgraded to 10gR4, the links to display a document stopped working. When someone clicked a link, the URL it took them to appeared to have JavaScript in it. What was going on?

We looked at the line in the custom knowledgedirectorylayout.html file (which was copied from the original Oracle-supplied .html file), and it was the following:

<pt:core.html pt:tag="a" href="$doc.url" title="$htmlEncodedName"><pt:logic.value pt:value="$doc.name"/></pt:core.html>

The above <pt:core.html> tag will output a normal <a> tag, with an href of the document’s url (from the $doc.url property). This looked fine (and hadn’t changed), so what was going on?

After quite a bit of digging, we figured out that the $doc.url property had changed in 10gR4! (And – surprise – no mention of this in the Release Notes either!) When we looked at the (new) out-of-the-box knowledgedirectorylayout.html file, that line had changed (and there was a new comment) as follows:

<!-- Bug-9380820: Adding the onclick attribute. That is having the url according to UserPrefrence. Document should open in the same window or new window. changing href attribute value from $doc.url to #. -->
<pt:core.html pt:tag="a" href="#" onclick="$doc.url" title="$htmlEncodedName"><pt:logic.value pt:value="$doc.name"/></pt:core.html>

Comparing the two, and reading the comment, it appears that there was a bug (#9380820) where clicking on a document in the KD list should either open the document in the current window, or in a new window, depending on a user preference. The bug in 10gR3 was that the document always opened in the current window (which, if you look at the <a href=”xxx”> tag that was being created, makes sense). So, the ‘fix’ was to change the doc.url property to return a block of JavaScript that when executed, would either open the document in the same window or a new window, depending on the user’s preference setting. And, in the updated <pt:core.html> tag, you can see that the return value from $doc.url is now being used in the “onclick” attribute of the <a> tag, and the href attribute is just “#”.

While this ‘fixed’ the bug (which isn’t visible in MetaLink, BTW), it broke any other use of the doc.url property, including our customers’. An easy option would have been to mimic what Oracle had done to the OOB knowledgedirectorylayout.html, and move the use of the doc.url from the HREF attribute to the ONCLICK attribute of the <a> tag. However, that caused other issues. Our customer uses a FireFox add-in that allows them to download all of the links on a page at once, which they would use to download a whole folder at a time from the KD. By changing the HREF attribute to “#” and opening the document with JavaScript (like Oracle had done), the tool would no longer work (since the links didn’t have an actual URL).

So, what we ended up doing was building the HREF attribute a slightly different way. We replaced the <pt:core.html> tag and instead used the <pt:standard.openerlink> to get the URL for each KD document as follows:

<pt:standard.openerlink pt:objectid="$doc.id" pt:classid="18" pt:mode="2" title="$htmlEncodedName"><pt:logic.value pt:value="$doc.name"/></pt:standard.openerlink>

The resulting <a> tag contained the document’s URL in the href attribute as it did in 10gR3, allowing their download tool  to continue functioning.

[ My 2 cents is that Oracle ‘fixed’ this bug entirely wrong. They should have left the doc.url property alone, and let it continue to return an URL (as its name and the documentation implies). They should have introduced a NEW property (e.g. “doc.openscript”) that could then be used to open it with JavaScript and also honored the “open in new window” user profile property. This way it would not break any existing code. But, that is just my opinion… 🙂 ]

ItemAsXPDateTime

This is a really weird one, and took quite a while to track down and resolve. The customer has a custom user property that tracks the date the user last changed their password. This property is defined as a ‘date’ type. When a user logs in, they have a custom PEI that checks the PasswordChanged property to see how long it has been since the user changed their password, and if it has been a while, prompts them to change it.

They do this by executing a query to get the set of properties for the user, then they were using the following code to return the value for the “PasswordChanged” property as an XPDateTime object (where ‘i’ is the index into profileProperties of the PasswordChanged property):

XPDateTime dateTimePropertyValue = profileProperties.ItemAsXPDateTime(i, PT_PROPIDS.PT_PROPID_PROP_VALUE);

Once we upgrade to 10gR4, we starting seeing seemingly random failures on this line of code, with the following stack dump:

com.plumtree.openfoundation.util.XPClassCastException: Error in function PTQueryResult.ItemAsXPDateTime (rowNum == 23, propID == 67108864): Unable to cast object of type 'System.String' to type 'com.plumtree.openfoundation.util.XPDateTime'. 
at com.plumtree.openfoundation.util.XPException.GetInstance(String strErrorMsg, Exception e) 
at com.plumtree.server.impl.core.PTQueryResult.ItemAsXPDateTime(Int32 rowNum, Int32 propID) in e:\build\root\Release\portalserver\10.3.3.x\portalobjects\build\x86\src\dotnet\com\plumtree\server\impl\core\PTQueryResult.cs:line 350 
at com.acme.portalpages.browsing.login.CustomControl.getDateTimeUserProperty(String propertyName, Int32 userID, IPTSession ptSession)

Now, all user properties are actually stored in the database as String values, so what appeared to be happening is something was preventing the (Oracle) code from converting the String value in the DB into an XPDateTime value. Since the code worked for some users and not for others, we thought there must be an invalid character or something in the data for the users that failed, so we started to look in the DB (in the PTPROPERTYDATA table) to compare ones that worked with ones that didn’t to see what was different. What we found was surprising – there were NO differences! We even took values that worked and copied them from one user to a user that failed, and that didn’t fix it! We tried editing the PasswordChanged value via the Admin Portal UI, and that didn’t work either.

Ultimately, we never were able to determine why the portal was unable to convert certain users’ PasswordChanged value to an XPDateTime. (We did create an Oracle Service Request on this, too.) So, in the interest of time, we ended up coding up a workaround ourselves that basically returned the value for the PasswordChanged property as a generic Object. Then, we tested the ‘type’ of this object to see if it was a String, and if so, we converted it to an XPDateTime value ourselves. So, for some users, the portal actually returns an XPDateTime object for this property, and for other users, it returns a String, which we then convert.

So, not a true ‘fix’ in that we never have figured out why the portal is working this way, but it let the customer move forward with their upgrade, which to them was more important.

Other Anomalies

Finally, there were a few other anomalies that we encountered in the process that I feel worth mentioning.

  1. The installer for the WCI 10gR3 wouldn’t run on a set of boxes that we needed to install the AD Identity Web Service on. It would fail with the error “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item.” We verified that the user we were logged in as had Administrator rights to the box, that the installer was located on a drive that we had permissions to, that the TEMP folder had space (and we had permissions), that the anti-virus package wasn’t blocking the install – all sorts of things. We never were able to determine why the installer wouldn’t work, unfortunately (although we suspect it was a Windows Policy of some sort causing the issue). We ended up installing the AD IWS on another box that didn’t have the problem.
  2. When we installed the Analytics Jobs (only) on a server, when we tried to run any of the jobs, we would get the following error:
    Exception in thread "Main Thread" com.plumtree.analytics.core.exception.BeanNotFoundException: Cannot find bean with name 'runJobs'
    at com.plumtree.analytics.core.SpringUtil.getBean(SpringUtil.java:74)
    at com.plumtree.analytics.job.RunJobs.main(RunJobs.java:204)

    After a lot of digging (and decompiling Oracle code), we discovered that the hibernate3.jar was missing. We were not able to reproduce this problem, but the best theory that we and Oracle were able to come up with was that you should copy the zip files for hibernate and cewolf to a local drive before installing Analytics. Apparently the installer has some known issues with installations from a network drive. We did this on subsequent installations, and did not experience the problem again.

Whew! So much for a ‘painless’ upgrade, huh? 😛

Overall, the upgrade went fairly well (preceding issues aside). Many of the issues we encountered could have been avoided had Oracle actually documented changes that they made to (public) APIs, instead of letting customers ‘trip upon’ the changes randomly. While we were able to resolve (or workaround) all of the changes, it has raised the question of “What else was changed that we weren’t told about?” and that we may not ‘trip upon’ for days, weeks, or months? I realize that as 10gR4 is the last release of WCI, there perhaps isn’t a lot of concern for the product, so some shortcuts were probably taken to just get it out the door.

I for one, will continue to mourn the loss of what was a great product, and look (hope?) to see Oracle incorporate some of WCI’s best qualities into the WebCenter Portal replacement.

RIP, WCI…

For more information about how TekStream can help you with Enterprise Portal upgrades, please visit our other Enterprise Portal Blogs, contact us at info@tekstream.com, or request to speak with an Oracle WebCenter Expert by filling out the form below.

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Application Module Pool Statistics Explained

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Optimizing ‘Application Module’ pools are second to none, when you tune ADF Business Components (ADF BC) application for performance bottlenecks or out of memory errors.   To analyze performance problems effectively, it is essential to have metrics.  

You can view Application Module pool metrics via Enterprise Manger:

  1. From Application Deployments, click the desired application
  2. From the Application Deployment menu, choose ADF > ADF Performance.
  3. Click the Application Module Pools tab

Alternatively, You can view Application Module pool metrics via DMS Spy:

  1. Navigate to the URL http://host:port/dms/Spy
  2. Authenticate yourself as administer on the login screen.
  3. On the left side ‘Metrics Tables’ click on ‘ampool’, after successful log on.

Dynamic Monitoring Service (DMS) enables us to measure application specific performance information, either through the Spy Servlet or through exposed MBeans.  The DMS metrics can make your job bit easier to set optimal AM Pool configuration.

Although the DMS metrics are always available, the interpretations of them are somewhat obscure.  Unless you know what type of sensor is used to collect the metrics, it is difficult to interpret the metrics. For example, It may be confusing to anyone, to see instancecount value is below instanceCheckedIn value or instanceCheckedOutFailed value;  Or like how to interpret maxActive value on appModuleCreationTime metrics.  In this blog, I try to provide possible interpretation  to each ‘ampool’ metrics with little bit of detail about each sensor.

DMS Sensors enable DMS to define and collect a set of metrics.  DMS has three different kinds of sensors:

DMS PhaseEvent Sensor

This sensor particularly helps to measure the time spent between block of code (shown with the metric name ‘time’).  Also, optionally it provides other/derived performance metrics like minimum time, maximum time, average time spent.

appModuleCreationTime metrics measures the time taken to create a new pool resource (AM).

time – The total number of milliseconds spent on creating pool resources.

completed – The number denotes the occurrence of pool resource creation event.

avg – Average number of time in milliseconds to create a new pool resource.

maxTime  – Records the longest time it took to create a pool resource, since the creation of the pool.

minTime – Records the shortest time it took to create a pool resource, since the creation of the pool.

active – Specifies the number of threads performing pool resource creation activity, at the time when the DMS statistics are gathered.

maxActive – specifies the maximum number of concurrent threads involved in the pool resource creation phase, since the pool started.

DMS State Sensor

Use this sensor, if you are interested in tracking the state of the system or in need of metrics which is not associated with an event.  For example, you could want to see how many number of active users involved in particular instance and so on.  This sensor optionally provides other/derived performance metrics like count, maxValue, minValue.

AMPoolPerformance-EM

availableInstanceCount – number of available AM instance

value  – Represents number of available AM instance, when the latest DMS statistics is gathered.

count – Specifies number of times the value got updated.

maxValue – Shows the maximum number of available AM instance since startup.

minValue – Shows the minimum number of available AM instance  since the pool start.

instanceConnected – Number of AM instance that are currently registered with the pool.

For the sake of brevity, I leave up to you to deduce meaning of each metrics values associated with this sensor and the next one, like the previous one.

instanceCount  – Number of connected AM instance.

Event Sensor

This acts as a counter and gets you the number of times the event occurred since the process started.  When you interpret below metric values related to AM pool, always aware that, the values are not for particular instance/time period, but since the pool lifetime/the pool started.AMPoolPerformance-DMS

instanceCheckedIn – Number of times Application modules checked in the pool

instanceCheckedOut – Number of times Application modules checked out of the pool

instanceCheckedOutFailed  – Count indicates the number of failures occurred while checking out the item

instanceConnectedCount  – Number of Application module instances referenced by the application, since the pool lifetime

instanceCreated – Number of AM module instance created since the lifetime of the pool

instanceDisconnectedCount – Number of Application module instances disconnected, since the pool lifetime

instanceRemoved – Number of AM module instance removed from the pool since the lifetime of the pool

instanceReused – Number of times AM module instance reused since the lifetime of the pool

refInstanceRecycled – Number of times reference instance recycled

stateActivated – Number of times activation has occurred

statePassivated – Number of times Passivation has occurred

unrefInstanceRecycled – Number of unreferenced Instance recycled

 

 

Still have questions? That’s what we’re here for. Send us your information and we’ll have a technical expert contact you to discuss your challenges and how to solve them.

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Oracle WebCenter Interaction to WebCenter Portal – Migration Path and Plan

Customers wishing to upgrade their existing Portal applications will benefit from years of successful implementations, best-practices, and a deployment methodology designed to minimize the impact to business operations while migrating functionality and content.

If you would like to have an expert contact you about your WCI upgrade, complete the form below and we will reach out to you within the next six business hours.

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QuickStream: The First Step to Successful Oracle WebCenter Implementations

Have you ever started a project to quickly realize that your original scope is inadequate? Do you fully understand the resources necessary to implement your WebCenter initiative? Are your legacy applications such as Stellent, BEA, Optika, UCM, or Plumtree, costing you more than a modern application? QuickStream is our all-inclusive four to six week service engagement aligning business stakeholders and IT organizations before a project begins; the insight provided helps organization avoid the negative business outcomes of IT project failures due to unmet quality, cost, and time expectations.

QuickStream DDP

 

QuickStream follows a three-step process designed to efficiently and objectively gather and analyze information and deliver actionable tools to prepare organizations for successful Oracle WebCenter product implementations:

  • Step 1: Discover – gathers business and IT requirements to ensure stakeholders’ needs are represented
  • Step 2: Define – presents objective analysis of requirements and a high-level solutions design including the required hardware, software, and resource investments; allowing stakeholders to collectively determine project priorities and set realistic expectations for implementation costs, length, and solution design and functionality.
  • Step 3: Plan – provides expert recommendations and deliverables enabling stakeholders to set mutually agreed-upon cost, resource, and time expectations and implement projects achieving rapid value and high ROI.

 

QuickStream DDP2

Actionable Deliverables:

QuickStream provides organizations with the tools and materials necessary for successful implementations, including:

  • Prioritized Requirements
  • High-level Technical Design, including Hardware/Software Architecture
  • Phase 1 Detailed Project Plan including Resource, Cost, and Time Estimate

TekStream Benefits:

QuickStream saves you the time and hassle of doing the work yourself, and gives your resources the room they need to focus on growing your business. Rest assured that TekStream offers committed and professional resources to see your project to completion and achieve excellent results. Typical results are:

  • Higher Project ROI
  • Quicker time to Production
  • Satisfied Stakeholders

The success of your project is time-sensitive. Allow TekStream to see if your project qualifies for a QuickStream analysis today by engaging in a free assessment. Complete the form below to start a no-hassle, no commitment evaluation of how TekStream is positioned to help your project succeed.

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TekStream Introduces CloudStream – Oracle WebCenter in the Cloud

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TekStream announces the release of CloudStream, providing customers with cloud-based and SaaS solutions for Oracle’s WebCenter Content, WebCenter Imaging, WebCenter Sites, and WebCenter Portal family of products. Based on a world-class custom hosting service, CloudStream is designed to provide customers with turnkey content and information solutions delivering performance, ease of use, ease of management, and a rapid return on investment. CloudStream offers a wide range of options to meet customers’ specific needs. Encapsulated in the solution are Migration Services, Managed Services, Implementation Services, and Hosting Services.

CloudStream Upgrade Services

Upgrade Services allow customers to upgrade from their existing Content Management, Imaging, and/or Portal applications to Oracle WebCenter Content, WebCenter Imaging, and/or WebCenter Portal from either on-premise in the customer’s own networks or 3rd-party clouds to TekStream’s CloudStream hosting facilities. Hosting services utilize Oracle Virtual Machines (OVM) to empower customers with the ability to partition hardware resources and help to reduce overall licensing costs.

CloudStream Managed Services

Managed Services are designed to provide customers with application support for Oracle’s WebCenter products, leveraging TekStream’s certified resources. Organization can take advantage of service level agreements to ensure up-time of the system, 24×7 support 365 days of the year, proactive system patching and monitoring, as well as access to TekStream’s subject matter experts with experience with over 200 WebCenter deployments. These capabilities provide an organization with a highly available system without having to employ/maintain costly and dedicated staff to manage the WebCenter investment. TekStream Solution’s CloudStream platform hosting services provides customers with world class hosting services on a Tier 1 backbone.

CloudStream Implementation Services

Implementation Services take advantage of TekStream’s Oracle Certified Implementation Specialists to assist our customers through every step in envisioning, designing, developing, and implementing WebCenter solutions. These may be deployed on solutions installed and managed on-premise within the customer’s own data center or as part of our CloudStream platform. Typical implementation services start with our QuickStream to provide customers with an analysis, design, and a detailed road map of their proposed solution.

Benefits Include:

  • Reduce Capital Expense
  • Reduce Licensing Fees Utilizing Oracle Virtual Machine
  • World-Class Tier-1 Hosting Facilities
  • Full WebCenter Implementation & Migration Services
  • Reduce Risk of Innovation Debt
  • Full Product Support Options

CloudTable

In our experience, we know it’s a good investment to team up with an Oracle partner specialized in your project’s technology. To ensure success, a detailed road map is necessary. If you have a project you would like to push past the goal line, contact us today to have an expert evaluate your needs and goals. We look forward to hearing from you.

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TekStream Announces WebCenter Content Connector

TekStream Solutions, a leading technology services company providing Fortune 500 and mid-sized clients with content management, enterprise portal, and resourcing services, today announces the company’s latest service offering, WebCenter Content Connector. Oracle customers seeking to deploy WebCenter Portal (WCP) and Spaces utilizing WebCenter Content (WCC) as the foundation for easily accessing content have been faced with the dilemma of using an older version of Contribution Folders, a.k.a. “Folders_g”.  Oracle has recently introduced FrameWork Folders (customers running WCC 11g) as an upgrade to Folders_g (customers typically running Oracle ECM/UCM 10g) to provide greater functionality, improved performance, and the ability to manage an unlimited number of objects per folder within WCC.  As of the current release of WCP/Spaces and WCC, there is no out-of-the-box support for WCP/Spaces to utilize the FrameWork Folders capabilities.  TekStream has created a connector application which now allows WCP/Spaces environments to maximize the potential of content integrations with WCC through the use of FrameWork Folders.

This week, TekStream will be explaining in detail how the WebCenter Content Connector benefits both business users and IT organizations deploying the latest innovations of WCP/Spaces and WCC in Booth #1241 at COLLABORATE13, the ONE event that delivers the full spectrum of Oracle technology and applications education needed to boost results and drive efficiency all year long. Additionally, Troy Allen , TekStream’s Director of Oracle WebCenter Solutions and industry veteran, will host an interactive and informative session on WCC Technical Tips – Customizations, Workflows, Security, and More.

TekStream’s new WebCenter Content Connector is the much needed missing link connecting the latest release of WebCenter Content 11g and the WebCenter Portal / Spaces offerings,”  stated Troy Allen  “By literally bridging the technical gap between WCC’s underlying new functionality of Framework Folders and the ease of exposing this content through WebCenter’s Content Presenter capabilities, TekStream has brought together a unique solution to allow customers to maximize the very latest functionality of both of these products – now, versus having to implement a solution that uses an older version of the content repository.”

Kevin Morton , Vice President of Delivery and Operations of TekStream, added ” As Oracle’s WebCenter customer base grows, there is an equally growing demand for our solutions.  These unique, repeatable integrations continue to make upgrades easier, decrease project timelines, and provide a lower cost of ownership for our customers.  I’m excited that TekStream is in the unique position to help customers immediately leverage their WebCenter investments.”

In addition to enabling the connection between WCP/Spaces and WCC, Oracle customers wishing to integrate WCC with Oracle’s Primavera application will be able to bridge the Folders_g requirement of the Primavera Agent.  Existing Stellent and Oracle ECM/UCM 10g customers upgrading their environments to Oracle WebCenter Content 11g with FrameWork Folders will be able to minimize their efforts by maintaining their existing customizations and/or applications utilizing the TekStream WebCenter Content Connector.

“TekStream continues to invest in solutions that benefit our customers and the WebCenter community as a whole. We feel this solution in particular provides tremendous value to customers in streamlining their deployments and maximizing the value of their WebCenter investment.  TekStream’s partnership with Oracle and collaboration on value-added solutions will remain a forefront of our strategy as we continue to roll out solutions such as WebCenter Content Connector, as well as our CloudStream WebCenter hosting platform….” – Robert Jansen , Chief Executive Officer of TekStream Solutions.

About TekStream

TekStream Solutions is an Atlanta-based technology solutions company that specializes in addressing the company-wide IT problems faced by enterprise businesses, such as consolidating and streamlining disparate content and application delivery systems and the market challenges to create “anytime, anywhere access” to data for employees, partners, and customers.  TekStream’s IT consulting solutions combined with its specialized IT recruiting expertise helps businesses increase efficiencies, streamline costs, and remain competitive in an extremely fast-changing market.  For more information, visithttps://www.tekstream.com

About COLLABORATE 13

COLLABORATE 13: Connect with a global network of more than 5,000 business applications and database software users, solutions providers, consultants, developers and representatives from Oracle Corporation to share real-world experiences, participate in top-quality training and gain insights to obtain greater value from your technology investments. For more information, visit http://www.attendcollaborate.com/.

For more information on TekStream Solutions, view the links below.

Company site: www.tekstream.com
Blog 
https://www.tekstream.com/newsroom/
Facebook 
www.facebook.com/TekStream
Twitter @TekStreaming
LinkedIn http://linkd.in/JpEXOF

Contact
Judd Robins
VP Sales & Marketing
sales@tekstream.com
1-855-TEKSTREAM

Taking Legacy From Zero to Hero with Oracle WebCenter!

HeroIt happens to all of us. There comes a time when we realize that our needs have moved too far beyond the capabilities of our current environment.  Then what?

There are a lot of approaches that can be used for software upgrades, but irrespective of approach, it is absolutely the perfect opportunity to take stock and consider:

 

 

  • Is this part of a wider platform upgrade?
  • Will the existing infrastructure support the new environment?
  • Like-for-like upgrade or introduce improvements and new features?
  • What feedback are your user groups providing?
  • If you started it all again what would you have done differently?

Within the Oracle WebCenter specialization, TekStream is working with an increasing base of clients who recognize the need to move from an older legacy environment (for example products from Stellent, Plumtree, BEA, or FatWire) up to the latest offerings from Oracle.  Often times these clients have invested some time back prior to Oracle’s acquisition of the vendor providing their software platform. The sum of the parts is a lot more than what  had been included with the prior products, so with a lot more available where do you start?

We recommend a structured small step upgrade to these projects.  This approach ensures the highest level of user continuity, and also allows the client team to learn the new product and form a vision for broader use of the new capabilities.  TekStream recommends the following typical process:

  • Conduct QuickStream discovery workshops to define existing environment and ensure comprehensive transition within the upgrade
  • Install and configure the new product version in the new infrastructure (if infrastructure is being updated as well)
  • Migrate from old to new, with the only changes being those needed to ensure the working parts continue to function seamlessly for the end user community
  • Conduct a follow-up QuickStream to explore opportunities for enhancement or expansion across your enterprise, delivering a roadmap that leverages your WebCenter investment
  • Phase the implementation approach with changes introduced over a defined period of time
  • Implement managed services to ensure platform stability and incremental upgrades, minimizing the risk of another major upgrade in the future.

Do you have an upgrade on your horizon? Peek at this datasheet and contact TekStream. We’ll assist with all the heavy lifting!

TekStream Upgrade Datasheet

Have a representative call you!

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Seamlessly Deploy Enterprise Content within an Engaging Portal

Intranets, Extranet, Websites, Transactional, Business applications, Content — That’s right, we’re talking portal.

Portal capability has been an all-encompassing platform for many years now. However, Oracle’s WebCenter product-set now leverages the enterprise content repository of WebCenter Content (WCC) underneath the WebCenter Portal (WCP) framework.

WCP brings all the richness of a leading portal platform where virtually anything is possible, but now you’re leveraging your enterprise content, not a content silo.

This means that all your site assets can be sourced, stored, secured, and managed consistently within the enterprise collection. WCC offers many rich features to the WCP platform.

For example WCC allows content workflows to be leveraged as the approval tool within WCP content change processes, while also applying such additional features as content release management and records retention dynamically to this same content.

Digital asset management allows image and video assets to be contributed, either directly into WCC or via WCP, and then with the automated creation of scaled renditions, these same assets can be deployed with appropriate aspect to WCP driven Intranet, mobile sites, and websites alike.

Content is enriched through in-context editing within WCP, with the content stored and managed within the WCC collection. In addition, content can be created and edited through common tools (e.g. Microsoft Word), checked in to WCC, and then deployed dynamically within the WCP site as HTML with a printable PDF.

It is this rich integration with WCC that sets WCP apart from the competition. Engage your audience with a site built on the market-leading WebCenter Portal platform, while leveraging all the power of enterprise content management with WebCenter Content under the hood.

Integrating WebCenter Services with WCI: Polls

One of the more useful additions to the WebCenter Interaction 10gR4 release is the tight integration with WebCenter Pagelet Producer (formerly known as Ensemble). Pagelet Producer integration allows for a number of new possibilities for leveraging WebCenter Services and ADF task flows into existing WCI portals. Over a series of occasional posts, we’ll explore some of the more interesting and useful combinations; in this first installment, we’ll look at a sometimes overlooked set of functionality that is often asked for and about in WCI portals – Polls and Poll Management.

The WebCenter Polls service and task flows provide the ability to create, manage, and deliver both simple and mid-level questionnaires and polling. As with many of the WebCenter Services, there are a few out-of-the-box task flows available for basic functionality, as well as the ability to develop more detailed implementations using ADF and the provided Data Controls as a back-end. Let’s take a quick look at some of the basic functionality that is available in WebCenter Polls that can be made available through WebCenter Interaction.

Poll Manager

The Poll Manager is the central administrative area for creating and managing individual polls or surveys. Polls can be created in different styles and broken up into multiple sections with varying types of question – single and multiple choice, matrix-style, and comment-box. Polls can be published immediately or on a schedule, and can be closed manually, automatically at a particular day and time, or when a specific number of responses are received. Taking the poll can also forward the user on to a Custom URL or ADF task flow, if desired – this can be useful in a variety of ways, particularly within the portal framework, if the standard Rich Text-style closing message doesn’t give enough leeway for design.

In a typical setup, the Poll Manager would be made available to users with some level of business or technical administrative roles, in addition to taking up a reasonable amount of space on a page; as such, this is typically a portlet that would be secured on a separate administrative page rather than being added as “hidden” administration functionality.

Poll View

The Poll View Task Flow is the typical delivery system for publishing a poll to the target audience. The Task Flow itself is reasonably simple: a single poll is displayed for the user, and the configured post-submission message/results are shown when complete. This will meet the requirements in many systems, but with the ability of Pagelet Producer to pass HTTP, URL, or REST parameters through to the back-end, there is the potential to leverage this in a more dynamic fashion. The Poll View flow takes the ID of the poll as a parameter to display, and by either placing some additional ADF logic on a page or page fragment, or building preference or rotation logic into a community/portlet preference, a single Poll View portlet can display multiple polls on a rotating, scheduled, or personalized basis.

Quick Poll

The Quick Poll Task Flow is something of a merging of the two primary flows. This is aimed for a quick poll design and delivery, and allows the more Content-like ability for administrators to modify/create a poll quickly and in the flow of the page. To a standard user, the Quick Poll is essentially identical to the Poll View (without the unseen back-end features of poll rotation, etc.); however, when placed in ‘Edit Mode’, the Quick Poll allows the single poll attached to it to enter design mode, although with distinctly limited functionality as compared to the Poll Manager. The Quick Poll allows for a single question (although it can be multiple choice, matrix-based, etc.), without the custom publish/close functionality; however, the created poll is then available in the Poll Manager, and can be both modified within the Poll Manager and displayed in the Poll View.

The Edit functionality is defined via an ADF variable within the task flow; so that in a similar fashion as we discussed in Poll View, it can be determined or set at the page/page fragment level—as well as via variable passthrough from WCI—to allow for access to Design based on page or delegated administration as the need requires.

Custom Development – Data Controls and Customization

A discussion of what is available through the Poll Service would not be complete without briefly mentioning the custom development options as they apply to the Polling subsystem. Data Controls are essentially specific APIs made available to ADF applications to expose the back-end storage – in this case, wrapping communication to the Polls database in a wide range of easily-consumed calls. The Polls services expose both a Polls Manager Data Control and a Take Poll Data Control – these allow custom ADF task flows (which can be consumed in the same fashion as the out-of-the-box ones listed above) to be built to specific requirements and deployed. In addition to the data controls, the task flows listed above each support the standard ADF/MDS customization approach for user interface modification if necessary.

The WebCenter Poll / Survey services are certainly a useful, if often overlooked component within the WebCenter Portal infrastructure; but it also fills a rather glaring need in WebCenter Interaction portals. If you have an interest in learning more about integrating this or other WebCenter Services into your existing WCI implementation, please contact TekStream Solutions to set up a discussion. This is what we do.