Monday, August 12, 2013

Integrating WebSphere Portal 8 With IBM Connections Using Web App Integrator - Part 2

This article is the second part of the article which explains details of integrating IBM WebSphere Portal with connections using web app integrator portlet and connections portlets. In the first part we saw an introduction of web app integrator portlet and installed a web app integrator portlet in the portal server and tested successfully. This part explains the steps needed to connect the installed web app integrator portlet with IBM Connections.

From portal side we need to do two steps as we did in the first part for testing the WAI portlet.

  • Create a URL page in the portal using the New URL button, with unique name and set the URL value in the page property, in advanced section->HTML, set URL of the connections server.
  • Enter the unique name in the web app integrator portlet to generate the script.

We need to add the generated script in the header.jsp in connections server.If you search for header.jsp in connections you will see multiple header.jsp files in source directories and all are identical. 

We need to create a header.jsp in the customization directory. Customization directory is mentioned during installation. On Microsoft Windows, if you accepted the defaults during installation, the customization path is C:\Program Files\IBM\LotusConnections\data\shared\customization. This can be found in Websphere admin console of connections server. Customization directory is stored as the value of the websphere environment variable, CONNECTIONS_CUSTOMIZATION_PATH.
  1. Create a directory called "templates" at <customizationDir>\common\nav\.
  2. Copy the header.jsp file from any of the application source directory to the new templates directory. For example, copy the header file from <WAS_home>\Activities.ear\oawebui.war.\nav\templates.
  3. Copy the script generated from the WAI portlet in the header.jsp
  4. Restart the connections server.
Another websphere environment variable, CONNECTIONS_CUSTOMIZATION_DEBUG can be found in the admin console as well. Set the value of this variable to true and then we should not need to restart connections server for jsp changes.

If you have properly configured till this point, then you can go back to portal. Navigate to the URL page you created, here Connections Integration page, you should see the connections inside the portal. 

We have completed the integration of WebSphere Portal and Connections. I used Portal 8 and IBM Connections 3.01 for this article.You should be able to use it for other versions as well with minimal or no changes.

This article explains the basic integration techniques between portal and connections.For an excellent user experience and to make a seamless transition from application page to application page you should work with a theme developer to place additional theme modules.This will enhance the smooth transition between product pages and produce the desired user experience.

In the next part, Part 3, we will see how to integrate IBM WebSphere Portal and Connections using the Connections portlets.

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.