Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Integrating IBM WebSphere Portal 8 With IBM Connections Using Web App Integrator – Part 1

IBM Connections is a leading enterprise social software which provides social networking tools for businesses. Existing IBM WebSphere portal users are exploring ways to seamlessly integrate Connections into Portal. This article explains details of integrating WebSphere Portal with IBM connections using Web App Integrator portlet and Connection portlets.

In the first part of this blog series, I will give an introduction of Web App Integrator portlet and the necessary steps to install it in WebSphere Portal Server. In the second part, I will provide details of the configuration of Web App Integrator and IBM connections. The third and final part of this blog series will include details needed to install and configure Connections portlets.

Web Application Integrator for IBM WebSphere Portal is a solution which allows external web applications to be integrated with WebSphere Portal. Generally there are two approaches used to access external web applications in portal. The first approach is to display the external application in a portlet in portal page by developing a custom portlet. The second approach is to include the entire external application inside a Portal page. WAI uses the second approach with more flexibility than the existing web clipping methods. There are no viewing area constraints (no scroll bars) in WAI and all Java scripts and links within the integrated Web App continue to function as expected. The user experience suggests that the user is still within the Portal environment even though they are, in reality, natively accessing Connections.

Web Application Integrator portlet is available as catalogue version from the IBM Lotus green house. WAI can be downloaded from the following location. Users need to register with the site before downloading.


Once unzipping the downloaded file, webappintegrator.zip, users can see folders for the various portal versions. It has WAI portlets for portal 6 version to current version. In earlier versions WAI was packaged as a web archive (war) file but for recent versions it’s packaged as portal application archive (paa) file. To install paa files we need portal solutions installer (si) but portal 8 has an inbuilt solutions installer so this is not needed for version 8.

To install deploy and configure the WAI we need to follow the below steps:
1. Determine the correct version of the WebAppIntegrator portlet that should be used (8 or and extract the files in that folder.
2. Copy WAIPortlet.paa to a temporary directory on your portal server.
3. Make sure WebSphere Portal Server is running.
4. Open a command prompt window and cd to <wp_profile>\ConfigEngine

Execute the following config tasks for Windows:

Here temp dir name is the location of paa file (<wp_profile>\paa), was pwd and wps pwd are the was admin password and the portal admin password respectively. For UNIX its ./ConfigEngine.sh instead of ConfigEngine.bat. Restart the portal server.

Before integrating with the connections, we can do a quick test to see WAI is installed as expected. Login to portal as administrator and then navigate through the administration-> Manage Pages, you can see the WAI portlet as below, with a button to generate the HTML script tag.

To test we need the following steps:
1. Create a test.html with following contents and place in the wps.war(located at <wp_profile>\installedApps\<cell name>\wps.ear\wps.war)
2. Create a URL page in the portal using the New URL button and set the URL value in the page property, in advanced section->HTML, set value as http://<servername>:<port no>/wps/test.html.
3. Create a unique name, as shown in the WAI test Page above.
4. Generate script through WAI portlet using the unique name.
5. Place the generated script in the test.html immediately after the beginning <body> tag.

Now you can test by navigating to the WAI test Page. You will see the page appear as below.

This concludes the first part of this blog series. In Part 2, we will see how to integrate the installed WAI with IBM Connections.

To learn more about Prolifics, visit www.prolifics.com.

Sanju Varghese, a Senior Consultant for Prolifics, is an experienced Portal and JEE Architect. He was with IBM Global services for six years delivering WebSphere Portal based solutions to its major customers and is certified in Java,IBM WebSphere Portal and BPM . He has performed different IT roles ranging from being an Architect, Consultant, Technical lead and Software developer for several large projects .Currently his main focus area is integrating Portal with Collaboration software. Besides specializing in IBM technologies he likes reading, traveling, watching and playing cricket. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Engineering from Pune University, India.