If you are a developer on a company who has a strong development process in-place, you are normally asked to deploy the shared jar files on the PortalServer/shared or PortalServer/config directory. You may have wondered, if you can actually deploy your jar files and property files in a separate folder(s) instead of those above given directory. The answer is YES. Though, this is not documented anywhere I believe.
While on the course of the portal migration project, I encountered all custom portlets to have 3 shared libraries configured on each of them. The funny thing is that all of the shared libraries configured are the same for all of the portlets. This is actually a headache for me during migration as there are more than 100 portlets deployed and I don't expect myself to configure them one by one. So, what I did was to configure 3 new shared libraries BUT configure my Portal Server to see this Shared Libraries, rather than deploying my libraries under PortalServer/shared or PortalServer/Config. I didn't deploy the shared library on the PortalServer/shared or PortalServer/config folder as what IBM manuals normally says.
But instead, this JAR files are stored on a different directory, but whenever Portal loads, it knows that this jar files are to be loaded as shared library that is to be shared by all portlets. How ? Follow the below instructions. Note that this instruction is for WAS 6.1, but the same can be found on 5.1 and 6.0 though in a different way of doing it.
1. Logon to the Websphere Application Server console.
2. Go to Environment -> Shared Libraries
3. Create your own Shared Library. Add the classpath pointing to your JAR files.
4. Apply and save this configuration.
5. Now, this is the fun part. Go to Servers -> Application Servers -> Websphere_Portal -> Java and Process Management -> ClassLoader.
6. Class loader may vary but it should only contain one link. Click on that class loader.
7. Click on the Shared Library References
8. You will notice all the shared libraries that are used by Websphere Portal. Click on Add.
9. Add your shared library.
10. Save and restart Websphere Portal.