Discover what WebSphere® Portlet Factory can do for your portal development team. Learn key Portlet Factory concepts, and how to perform primary tasks, create data services, develop portlet user interfaces, techniques for debugging, and best practices for publishing. Put it all together to expedite and automate much of the production of the components in your portal interface. The 7.0.0 release of this guide includes information on the new features of the 7.0.0 and 6.1.5 releases, such as using themes and user interface controls, REST service support, enhanced Rich UI, and the new graphical Design view.
WebSphere Portlet Factory is a powerful and flexible tool for rapidly building portlets on top of a service-oriented architecture. Developers are able to quickly and easily leverage their company's core assets, automatically assembling them into custom, high-value portlets. Portlets created with WebSphere Portlet Factory are dynamic, robust Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) applications that react automatically to change, and can be further modified by business users in real time, to meet changing business requirements without requiring any coding, duplicating or versioning of assets. By eliminating the need to code all of these implementations and their variations, WebSphere Portlet Factory simplifies the development, publishing, and change management process, saving companies time and money.
The primary features of WebSphere Portlet Factory are as follows:
- Supports rapid development of portlets by running them stand-alone in WebSphere Application Server CE. This development environment reduces the modify-test cycle from several minutes to seconds, enhancing developer productivity.
- Automates the creation of Multi-page custom portlets. The WebSphere Portlet Factory rapid application development (RAD) capabilities and ease of use enable developers of all skill sets to create multi-page, complex portlets. Developers build portlets by defining a sequence of highly adaptive software components called builders, which have an easy-to-use interface. Developers assemble builders into models, which then generate the application code. In this way, developers can capture and automate the process of building dynamic portlets, instead of explicitly coding each portlet. Many portlets and patterns may be built using the existing WPF builders with little to no coding necessary, while coding is still possible for those that wish to build WebSphere Portlet Factory wizard-like builders encapsulating custom business patterns and logic.
- Robust integration capabilities with enterprise applications and data. WebSphere Portlet Factory provides automatic integration with existing applications and data including SAP, Lotus Domino, PeopleSoft, Siebel, Web Services, relational databases, and Excel. Developers can quickly create composite, high-value portlets that leverage existing investment in your existing applications and data.
- Automatic integration with IBM® WebSphere Portal. With WebSphere Portlet Factory, you have direct integration with IBM WebSphere Portal features such as portlet wiring, Click-to-Action, business user configuration, people awareness, WebSphere Portal groups, and the credential vault. Portlets are published automatically to WebSphere Portal software.
- Support for SOA development. WebSphere Portlet Factory provides powerful technology for speeding the creation of service-oriented applications and portlets. It includes data services builders along with data integration builders that together automate the process of creating services from systems such as SAP and IBM Lotus® Domino®. This services approach provides a clean way to separate the back end services of an application from the presentation layer. It also automatically creates testing support for back end services, and it enables front end presentation development and testing without requiring a back end connection.
- Creates many portlet variations from a single code base. With the profiling capability of WebSphere Portlet Factory, developers can easily create multiple portlet variations from one code base, without requiring any additional code changes or republishing.
- Automates frequently occurring development tasks. By creating new builders, developers and architects can capture commonly used design patterns and company-specific business processes as reusable components for all developers, enforcing application architecture and development best practices.
- Automatic Integration with Lotus Mashups. With WebSphere Portlet Factory, you have direct integration with Lotus Mashups features such as Widget Customizer and Widget Events. Widgets are easily published to a Lotus Mashups Palette.
This section provides a technology overview of WebSphere Portlet Factory , starting with the architecture.
The first layer of the architecture stack are the data sources. Data can be sourced from a number of different systems, including databases, enterprise applications such as SAP, collaborative platforms like Domino, and historical or analytical data from products such as SAP Business Warehouse.
The next two layers – services and portlets – can both be developed with WebSphere Portlet Factory Designer. The Designer tool is an Eclipse plug-in and runs seamlessly in Eclipse-based products, such as Rational Application Developer.
The last layer is the WebSphere Portal server framework, which provides key services such as page navigation and creation tools, single-sign-on capabilities, user management, built-in process server, and collaboration features such as instant messaging.
Key concepts: builders, models, and profiles
With WebSphere Portlet Factory, developers build portlets by snapping together a sequence of components called builders. Each builder has a simple wizard-like user interface and does the work of automatically generating or modifying part of an application. A builder implements an application design pattern.
Builders are assembled in models, which are like application production lines. Each time a change is made to any of the builders in a model, the application code is regenerated, allowing the developer to iteratively develop a custom portlet application. Some builders create webapp artifacts such as a page or a table, while other builders modify the artifacts created by previous builders by rearranging, hiding or adding columns to a table. The builders generate all the application code, including JSPs, Java classes, and XML documents.
In addition, developers can create multiple variations of a portlet from one code base, without requiring additional code changes or republishing. This is done with the profiling feature of WebSphere Portlet Factory. Different profiles can be created for different user constituencies, based on any characteristics such as region, role, or group membership. The profiling technology is also used to support runtime configuration, so that business users can control application functionality through a simple browser interface. The net result is that WebSphere Portlet Factory allows companies to rapidly create adaptive applications that respond to change on demand – something traditional tools and technologies simply cannot provide.
Parent topic: Overview of IBM WebSphere Portlet Factory Designer