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Lotus Connections is Web 2.0-based social collaboration software especially designed for business needs, empowering employees to use social collaboration techniques to quickly connect to fellow employees, customers and new business opportunities.
It enables business professionals to work more on the innovation side, reducing the lag in discussing ideas and leveraging creative thoughts among communities of fellow colleagues, customers, and business partners.
Lotus Connections offers social collaboration capabilities through an integrated set of components:
Communities. You can create new communities to bring people together, find and join existing communities, thus thereby collaborate with community members, customize the community and view statistics for the community on discussion forums and increase focus on important topics by pinning the same on the community.
Files. A secure personal file-sharing service wherein one can share files with others, tag them to be easily located, add comments to it, thereby reducing load on Inbox due to large files.
Wikis. A service to collaboratively maintain content by an individual or a team. It allows one to create wiki pages for oneself or a team, one can subscribe to the pages to be notified of changes done, also one can compare wiki page versions to see what was changed and one can add comments as well.
Profiles. A service to maintain the profile of individuals so that one can quickly reach an individual with required expertise.
Blogs. A service to enable people to showcase their ideas and get comments from community members and other people in network.
Bookmarks. A service to save, organize, and share bookmarks using social networking. It enables to export and import bookmarks to and from a browser.
Activities. A service to create activities for use by community members to accomplish a business objective.
Homepage. A service to keep one informed of any updates across all Lotus Connections components.
Therefore, Lotus Connections empowers the business and professionals with a new tool to accomplish business objectives in an organized and faster way.
To experience the Lotus Connections inter-operability and to leverage social collaboration services for business or enterprises on a single platform, you can install Lotus connections portlet in WebSphere Portal, which is already being used by professionals, helping business to avoid conducting learning sessions for employees and for people to quickly adapt to collaboration techniques.
Using Lotus Connections with WebSphere Portal
To extend the functionality of Connections to be used in Portal, a war file is made available by Connections which can be installed as a web module in Portal. After the web module installation Connections is available as a Portlet which can be placed on a page in Portal application. Below are the simple steps to achieve it.
Once you are done with the prerequisites:
- Go to the IBM Lotus and WebSphere Portal Business Solutions Catalog and search for IBM Lotus Connections 2.5 Portlets for IBM WebSphere Portal, or you can follow the link here to download it.
- Click the Get Download button at the top right-hand corner of the page; you'll need your Lotus Greenhouse ID and password.
- Once authentication is successful, it directs you to the Lotus Business Solutions IBM Download site; click “Download Now”, to save the 1WP1002A6.zip file.
- Extract the contents of the .zip file; you'll see the snor.pf.portlets.war file.
Next, we need to install this WAR file as a Web module in WebSphere Portal:
1. Go to the WebSphere Portal homepage, using http:///wps/portal,
and log in using an administrator user ID and password (see figure 1).
Figure 1. WebSphere Portal homepage
2. Browse to the Administration page, click Web modules and click the Install button, to install the WAR file (see figure 2).
Figure 2. Install Web modules
3. On the next window, browse to the location of the snor.portlet.war file and click Next (see figure 3).
Figure 3. snor.portlet.war file
4. Click Finish, to complete the installation, as shown in figure 4.
Figure 4. Complete the install
Now create a new page in WebSphere Portal and include the installed portlet in the page:
1. On the Portal Home page, click on the icon on the top right-hand corner of figure 5, to switch to Edit mode, and then click the New Page button.
Figure 5. Portal Home page
2. The Create Page pop-up window appears (see figure 6); enter the name and friendly URL for the page and click the Create Page button.
Figure 6. Create Page pop-up
3. A new page is created (see figure 7); select the page, click the Customize button, select “Add Content” and under it select “Portlets”. Click the ‘+’ sign next to Activities, Activities Summary, Blogs, Blogs Summary, to add the portlets to the page, and click Save.
Figure 7. New Portal page named Connections
4. At first, the page may display as shown in figure 8; click the Edit icon for the portlet and select Configure.
Figure 8. Connections page with customize options
5. In the Configure window, enter the respective URLs for for each portlet in the Profiles URL and Service URL fields (see figure 9). Here we have used IBM’s Connections installations that have the following URLs:
Figure 9. Configure window
Also, in your Portal installation, at [portalInstallRoot]\wp_profile\installedApps\[cell]\LCP.ear\snor.pf.portlets.war\WEB-INF\lcaccelerator\properties
, update the lcaccelerator.properties with the Communities URL.
6. After entering the URLs, again go into edit mode for each portlet and click Personalize. Enter the user name and password for the Connections server (see figure 10). For IBM users, your Intranet ID and password can be used.
Figure 10. Enter user name and password
7. Finally, the portlets will fetch content from the server and display the same in WebSphere Portal, as shown in figures 11 and 12.
Figure 11. Connections page with Blogs Summary and Activities portlets
Figure 12. Connections page with Activities Summary and Blogs portlets
It may be necessary to import SSL keys into the Portal server and get the Lotus Connections certificate for your browser.
To import SSL keys, follow Step 12 in the InfoCenter topic, “Installing the Connections 2.5 Portlets for IBM WebSphere Portal
For certificates, refer to the topic, “Importing the Lotus Connections certificate for your browser
This article has demonstrated, step by step, how developers and users of Lotus Connections and WebSphere Portal server can integrate the two product offerings and reap the benefits of both.
About the author
l completed his Master of Computer Application (M.C.A.) degree from Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT), Allahabad, before joining IBM as a Software Developer. He has worked on the Java Content Repository (JCR team for the past three years, focusing on the dbutils and migration components of JCR.