IBM Rational Application Development (RAD) Portal Toolkit is an extension of Rational’s leading development platform, RAD. It is IBM’s leading Java enterprise Integrated Development Environment (IDE) backed by a strong developer community. For Java developers, development of exceptional web experiences is much easier and intuitive with RAD. It has a host of out of the box wizards, tools, and samples for assembling your exceptional web experiences complete with latest Web 2.0 applications. RAD also aids in development of multi-channel sites and applications that dynamically adapt to the form-factor of desktop browser, smart phone or tablet.
- Developer productivity: Features like wizard driven programming with a number of out of the box wizards for portlet generation etc, and code automation ensure that RAD Portal Toolkit is easy to learn and has improved time to market. In fact some functionalities like integrating portlets (eg C2A), developing a database CRUD application requires no coding at all.
- Enterprise standards: Seamless integration with enterprise assets like EJB, JPA, ReST, web services makes it extremely convenient to integrate with existing enterprise applications. RAD also honors all JEE specifications and has validators to ensure the same.
- Quality: Powerful software analysis and reporting features of RAD extend its capabilities across architecture, data flow, software metrics and code analysis.
Multi-channel development features
RAD provides a variety of features for multi-channel development, including rich page editor, mobile browse simulator, dojo mobile widgets, and smart phone and tablet support.
Rich page editor
This browser-based editor helps you preview a Facelet or JavaServer Page (JSP), as they would appear in a web browser. The rich page editor provides WYSIWYG (preview) designing capabilities and supports HTML5 and CSS3 editing. It also offers instant preview and content assist. It shows different representations of your portlet page, with Source, Split, and Design view options. The editor uses embedded browsers to produce a visual representation of a page in the design view. Not only does it allow re-sizing of the editor window according to the form factor of the device of your choice, it also supports a change of orientation in terms of portrait and landscape modes. The following two screen shots show some of these features of rich page editor.
Mobile browser simulator
RAD provides a fast and easy way to test multi-channel portlet applications by using a mobile browser simulator. You can test the output view of the portlet on it without having to install any separate device simulator. Using this, you can view how your view would appear on various mobile devices.
It offers other features, such as switching orientation of the device, adding multiple devices simultaneously, mapping devices to their actual physical sizes.
The mobile browser simulator displays mobile web pages in a variety of mobile browser sizes and shapes.
Mobile browser simulator can simultaneously provide preview for multiple devices.
Dojo mobile widgets
Smart phone and tablet support
The built-in smartphone and tablet support enables you to work on separate views for smartphones and tablets.
You can also choose support for either or both tablets and smartphones for your portlets. When you select either of those options while creating a portlet project, Rational Application Developer automatically provides support for selecting the devices as well. This opens further new options while developing portlets for these devices. As such, a single code base of your multi-channel application once developed, is able to render it self seamlessly on any device of your choice.
Installing RAD Portal Toolkit
For comprehensive installation details, refer to “Installing Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software
” in RAD Info center. In the procedure section, step #14 is where you will need to act to install RAD Potal Toolkit feature as additional packages. Consult the following screen shot.
As you can see above, portal toolkit is available as two different packages, namely WebSphere Portal Server 8.0 and WebSphere Portal Server 7.0. Depending on the specific portal version you are targeting, you may choose the package of your choice.
Best practice tips
- Although it is not mandatory to select only one package but it is a best practice to choose only the one corresponding to the portal server version you will be likely to use. Else it may lead to a larger memory footprint of your RAD installation.
- Each portal server package further has two sub-options.
- Development tools: Enables application development for WebSphere Portal installed locally on you machine.
- Remote server stub: Enables application development for WebSphere Portal installed remotely.
- It is advisable, to choose the sub-option corresponding to your particular development environment. For example, if you are likely to deploy to a portal server installed remotely at a central location, choose only Remote server stub option. Doing so will result in a lean installation with only required memory footprint.
- Of course you may modify these packages any time later as well according to the instructions given in the above page at RAD Info center.
Setting up RAD for development
For detailed instructions and configurations for setting up RAD for an optimal development environment, refer to the WebSphere Portal Application Development Best Practices using Rational Application Developer
document. Specifically the following two sections carry the configuration settings:
- RAD Best Practices
- Deployment Best Practices
Articles and resources
There are various articles, whitepapers, and resources to help you get started with RAD. These also include detailed step by step tutorials for creating various multi-channel applications using a variety of features of your choice. The following is where you can find them: