In this section, we describe how to add robust, dynamic, and personalized social components via IBM Connections alongside your existing websites. We recommend a method for styling so that users do not have a disconnected experience when working in the combined environment. We cover how to unify the navigation structures and ensure a consistent login and logout experience through the use of branding techniques and sharing Portal’s theme with IBM Connections through the use of WebSphere Application Integrator (WAI). Taking the example even one small step further, we show how the two products can be merged into one URL structure to elevate the contiguous experience to making the otherwise independent products functionally one exceptional social digital experience.
Why use side by side
When faced with deploying a social platform to the enterprise, there are many considerations. Much like any software package, these choices include ease of maintenance, manageability, interoperability with other systems already in the enterprise, and scalability to name a few. IBM Connections provides these capabilities through its mature underlying architecture of WebSphere Application Server and flexible customization model.
An organization is likely to deploy IBM Connections alongside other systems when they are looking to maximize their manageability through the ability to quickly adopt updates and new features without disruption or significant development costs after the purchase. Leveraging the product mostly out of the box means time and efforts are able to be spent on infrastructure, adoption, governance, and steady state support as opposed to software development tasks. Your organization may find this to be a desirable state based on available in-house skills or resource availability considerations.
How IBM Connections helps
Even though IBM's Portal products remove the technical complexities of achieving an exceptional digital experience, IBM Connections implements a flexible interface through the use of a centralized customization model and a CSS based interface framework, called OneUI. This enables system integrators and developers to make changes to the color scheme and replace the IBM branding elements with their own more easily. This approach protects your customization during updates and allows your organization to rapidly adopt fixes or features as they are released without the need to duplicate tailoring or branding efforts in many cases.
The IBM Connections documentation includes some best practices when customizing the user interface that can be found here
To implement the side-by-side deployment, you need to perform the following steps: