Collaborate 2015: WebCenter Discussions and Networking in Sunny Las Vegas

In less than a week, Fishbowl’s WebCenter experts will be heading to sunny Las Vegas for Collaborate 2015! We have a wide range of activities planned, and are looking forward to meeting and learning from other WebCenter users. If you’d like to view a full list of what Fishbowl will be participating in at Collaborate, download our Focus on Fishbowl guide. IOUG also has detailed information about Collaborate on their website.

Collaborate Image 1  Collaborate Image 2

Exhibit Information | Booth #948

Stop by Fishbowl’s booth for demos and discussions of Google Search for WebCenter, next-generation portals and intranets, image-enabled accounts payable solutions, and our newest product, ControlCenter, which provides an intuitive user interface along with workflow and review automation for controlled document management. We’ll be holding a special giveaway related to ControlCenter; stop by the booth for more details and to also register for an iPad drawing!

Presentation Information | Room Banyan F

Fishbowl will be holding three presentations at Collaborate, all in room Banyan F at Mandalay Bay. Be sure to attend to hear firsthand how our WebCenter team is working with customers to solve business problems.

Tuesday, April 14, 3:15-4:15 PM: Engaging Employees Through an Enterprise Portal: HealthPartners Case Study
Presented by Neamul Haque of HealthPartners and Tim Gruidl and Jerry Aber of Fishbowl Solutions

  • Issues HealthPartners had with previous portal sites
  • Benefits of deploying a content-centric, portal-focused framework
  • Improvement in end-user experience HealthPartners has seen with the new portal

Wednesday, April 15, 2:45-3:45 PM: The Doctors Company Creates Mobile-Ready Website Using Responsive and Adaptive Design
Presented by Paul Manno of The Doctors Company and Jimmy Haugen of Fishbowl Solutions

  • Importance of The Doctors’ website for educating customers and prospects
  • How responsive and adaptive design transformed user experience
  • Technologies leveraged to create a mobile-optimized site

Thursday, April 16, 8:30-9:30 AM: Using Oracle WebCenter Content for Document Compliancy in Food and Manufacturing
Presented by Kim Negaard and George Sokol of Fishbowl Solutions

  • Techniques for using revision control and automatic conversion
  • How to provide additional security and auditability around document approvals
  • How to increase efficiency and control over changes in documents

If you’d like to schedule a meeting with anyone on the Fishbowl team during Collaborate, feel free to contact us at cmsales@fishbowlsolutions.com. See you in Las Vegas!

WebCenter Portal & SPA (Single Page Application) – Enhancing ADF UI Design and UX Functionality

First of all, you may be wondering: what is SPA and how can it improve Oracle WebCenter Portal?
It’s the future, trust me, especially when it comes to providing the best possible UX and flexible UI to your users and enhancing the power of ADF Taskflows with a radical UI overhaul. ADF is great for creating rich applications fast, but to be honest, it is limited in its capability to provide that rich flexible HTML5 UX  through the ADF UI components and to create that truly interactive design that we all seek in today’s modern web based apps and portals. If we are honest, the developer (or more importantly, the designers) are constrained with the out-of-the-box ADF components/taskflows and their lack of design flexibility, unless they want to create their own and extend the render kit capabilities (but extending the render kit will be for another post – today lets cover SPA with Portal).

SPA fits in perfectly – overhaul the ADF UI using today’s modern techniques and design agency with the skills to build responsive components using the latest frameworks and libraries, such as knockout, backbone, requirejs, socket.io with reactive templating using mustache, handlebars to compliment ADF and WebCenters services via its REST API.

But before taking the next step and thinking SPA is right for you, read these warnings!

  • The taskflow interface is developed using the latest framework and libraries – not all partners and web design agencies are forward thinking and may not be able to develop and achieve SPA components for WebCenter Portal.
  • The cost can be greater, as the interface is usually designed from the ground up and requires browser and device testing. But if it’s done well, it will outmatch anything that the ADF UI layer can provide your users.
  • Experience goes a long way, especially with matching your design agency with ADF-experienced developers to provide responsive web services and inline datasets.

So what is SPA?

A single-page application (SPA) is a web application or website that fits on a single web page with the goal of providing a more fluid user experience. In an SPA, either all necessary code – HTML, JavaScript and CSS – is retrieved with a single page load, or the appropriate resources are dynamically loaded and added to the page (similar to ADFs PPR) as and when necessary, reducing the page load and speeding up page load times.

With our use of SPA within portal, the SPA is made modular and wrapped within a taskflow container, providing the rich capability to have multiple components that can be easily dropped into a page while providing rich interaction between components that are context aware by simply adding them from the resource catalog from within the WebCenter Composer view.

Workspace manager

Here is an example Photoshop design that we can easily convert into a pixel perfect functioning SPA taskflows we have developed that enables logged in users to manage their own list of Application and Spaces. All server side interaction is handled via ADFm (model) layer, which enables the ADF life cycle to be aware of REST calls and prevent memory leaks or other possible session issues. While the UI layer is all custom with reactive dynamic templating that is far superior and faster than the current ADF, PPR calls, as all the interaction and updating of the template is handled client side. Another great thing is that this template can easily transform and support modern responsive design techniques and can be consumed by mobile devices, and could also be deployed to other app environments like Liferay, SharePoint, and WebCenter Content, as the UI layer does not rely on ADF calls and service requests can be proxied or CORS enabled if the calls are handled by AJAX and are not WebSocket requests.

Click here for hi-resolution

Here you can see another example of a SPA Taskflow in action displaying the JIVE Forums (above), compared against the out of the box ADF Forum Taskflow (below).

Conclusion

If you are looking to create applications fast that are functional, use the out of the box taskflows or develop your own ADF components entirely in ADF with your development team and customize the ADF skin to improve on the ADF look.

However, if you are looking to take the experience to the next level and want to invest more to create visually interactive modern and rich dynamic experiences to your users, bring in a good UX/UI team that can help transform your interface layer while enabling components to have the potential to be deployed across multiple platforms while maintaining the power of the ADF back end.

Side Note

I’m currently co-authoring a white paper on modular SPA for ADF taskflows providing examples and different development techniques that can be used to enrich the UI. I hope to get this out to you and on OTN in the next 6 months so keep a look out for it.

The Benefits of Integrating a Google Search Appliance with an Oracle WebCenter or Liferay Portal

This month, the Fishbowl team presented two webinars on integrating a Google Search Appliance with a WebCenter or Liferay Portal. Our new product, the GSA Portal Search Suite, makes integration simple and also allows for customization to create a seamless, secure search experience. It brings a powerful, Google-like search experience directly to your portal.

The first webinar, “The Benefits of Google Search for your Oracle WebCenter or Liferay Portal”, focused on the Google Search Appliance and the positive experiences users have had with incorporating Google search in the enterprise.

 

The second webinar, “Integrating the Google Search Appliance with a WebCenter or Liferay Portal”, dove deeper into how the GSA Portal Search Suite and how it improves the integration process.

 

The following is a list of questions and answers from the webinar series. If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to the Fishbowl team!

Q. What version of SharePoint does this product work with?

A. This product is not designed to work with SharePoint. Google has a SharePoint connector that indexes content from SharePoint and pulls it into the GSA, and then the GSA Portal Search Suite would allow any of that content to be served up in your portal.

Fishbowl also has a product called SharePoint Connector that connects SharePoint with Oracle WebCenter Content.

Q. Is Fishbowl a reseller of the GSA? Where can I get a GSA?

A. Yes, we sell the GSA, as well as add-on products and consulting services for the GSA. Visit our website for more information about our GSA services.

Q. What is the difficulty level of customizing the XSLT front end? How long would it take to roll out?

A. This will depend on what you’re trying to customize. If it’s just colors, headers, etc., you could do it pretty quickly because the difficulty level is fairly low. If you’re looking at doing a full-scale customization and entirely changing the look and feel, that could take a lot longer – I would say upwards of a month. The real challenge is that there isn’t a lot of documentation from Google on how to do it, so you would have to do a lot of experimentation.

One of the reasons we created this product is because most customers haven’t been able to fully customize their GSA with a portal, partly because Google didn’t design it to be customizable in this way.

Q. What versions of Liferay does this product support?

A. It supports version 6.2. If you have another version you’d like to integrate with, you can follow up with our team and we can discuss the possibility of working with other versions.

Q. Do you have a connector for IBM WCM?

A. Fishbowl does not have a connector, but Google has a number of connectors that can integrate with many different types of software.

Q. Are you talking about WebCenter Portal or WCM?

A. This connector is designed for WebCenter Portal. If you’re talking about WCM as in SiteStudio or WebCenter Content, we have done a number of projects with those programs. This particular product wouldn’t apply to those situations, but we have other connectors that would work with programs such as WebCenter Content.

Q. Where is the portlet deployed? Is it on the same managed node?

A. The portlets are deployed on the portlet server in WebCenter Portal.

Q. Where can we get the documentation for this product?

A. While the documentation is not publically available, we do have a product page on the website that includes a lot of information on the Portal Search Suite. Contact your Fishbowl representative if you’d like to learn more about it.

Q. What are the server requirements?

A. WebCenter Portal 11g or Liferay 6.2 and Google Search Appliance 7.2.

Q. Does this product include the connector for indexing content?

A. No, this product does not include a connector. We do have a product called GSA Connector for WebCenter that indexes content and then allows you to integrate that content with a portal. Depending on how your portal is configured, you could also crawl the portal just like you would in a regular website. However, this product focuses exclusively on serving and not on indexing.

Q. How many portals will a GSA support? I have several WebCenter Content domains on the same server.

A. The GSA is licensed according to number of content items, not number of sources. You purchase a license for a certain number of content items and then it doesn’t matter how many domains the content is coming from.

Fishbowl’s GSA Portal Search Suite introduces JSR-286 portlet integration that brings Google search to Oracle WebCenter and Liferay Portal

Integrated Google search has arrived for Oracle WebCenter and Liferay Portal. Last week, Fishbowl Solutions announced the GSA (Google Search Appliance) Portal Search Suite. This is Fishbowl’s fourth product for the Google Search Appliance, and introduces a productized integration that exposes Google search features like spelling suggestions, dynamic navigation, and document previews directly within the portal.

Previous integrations between the GSA and WebCenter or Liferay Portal had to be heavily customized to expose similar search features and functionality. In most cases, extensive customization was needed even when adding only one new search feature, such as autocomplete query suggestions, to portal search pages. Additionally, such customization had to be done by someone with specialized technical expertise including portal development, familiarity with the GSA response format, and XML transformation. Alternately some organizations have used the GSA’s built-in stylesheet typically directing users to search functions outside of the portal either as an iframe or a completely separate search page. This disconnect devalues the portal as being the single, universal location to access enterprise information, and detracts from the overall portal user experience.

Fishbowl’s GSA Portal Search Suite seamlessly integrates the GSA with WebCenter and Liferay portals. The integration is made possible by a collection of JSR-286 portlets that provide a search box and search results layout directly within the portal. These configurable portlets let customers choose which Google search features to expose, and lets them mix and match portlets for specific pages. The GSA Portal Search Suite also includes an authentication mechanism to provide single-sign-on between the portal and the GSA when performing secure searches. All these features help ensure that searches conducted from the portal return results with higher relevancy, and that search pages match the look and feel of the portal, leading to an enhanced user experience.

Customers with WebCenter or Liferay Portal that are looking to improve relevancy and provide search features that users have come to expect can do so with the GSA. And now with Fishbowl’s GSA Portal Search Suite, a seamless and flexible integration is available decreasing time to value and helping to maximize your WebCenter, Liferay and GSA investment.

Fishbowl will be demonstrating GSA Portal Search Suite, as well as our other GSA value-add products, at Oracle OpenWorld from September 29th through October 1st. You can see us in booth #2036 Moscone South. To read the brochure, click here.

GSA Portal Search Screen

 

Meet Fishbowl’s WebCenter Experts at OpenWorld

Oracle OpenWorld will be held from September 28-October 2 in San Francisco.

Fishbowl Solutions will once again be at Oracle OpenWorld this year to connect with fellow WebCenter users! The event is now only a few days away, and our team is really looking forward to discussing how our value-add solutions can help your organization.

Our booth in the exhibition hall will be located at 2036 Moscone South, and will feature demos of Mobile ECM, the Google Search Appliance, Portal Solution Accelerator, SharePoint integration, and a free iPad giveway. We will also have many representatives on hand to answer your WebCenter content, portal, or imaging questions. All exhibition halls will be open from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, and from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Other activities at this year’s event include:

  • Sunday, September 28
    A Successful Oracle WebCenter Upgrade: What You Need to Know
    12:00 PM-12:45 PM, Moscone South 305This session’s speakers share facts and use cases that you will be able to apply to your Oracle WebCenter 11g upgrade. You will learn from tips and best practices from successful upgrades to Release 11g that you will be able to utilize as well. The session includes a fact-sharing discussion on upgrades; use case stories from Oracle WebCenter customers; and a roundtable forum during which attendees will be able to ask questions specific to their Oracle WebCenter Content, Oracle WebCenter Portal, or Oracle WebCenter Imaging upgrade.
  • Wednesday, October 1
    Automate Financial Processes for PeopleSoft and Oracle E-Business Suite
    12:45 PM-1:30 PM, Moscone West 3018This session’s speakers share facts and use cases that you will be able to apply to your Oracle WebCenter 11g upgrade. You will learn from tips and best practices from successful upgrades to Release 11g that you will be able to utilize as well. The session includes a fact-sharing discussion on upgrades; use case stories from Oracle WebCenter customers; and a roundtable forum during which attendees will be able to ask questions specific to their Oracle WebCenter Content, Oracle WebCenter Portal, or Oracle WebCenter Imaging upgrade.
  • Wednesday, October 1
    Oracle WebCenter for Education and Research
    2:00 PM-2:45 PM, Marriott Marquis Golden Gate C3Digital, social, and mobile technologies are creating new and transformational education experiences to engage students, faculty, parents, and administrators in their collective pursuit of student success. This session features case studies from higher education and K–12 that illustrate the power of Oracle WebCenter in enabling twenty-first-century learning.
  • Monday, September 29
    Oracle WebCenter and Oracle BPM Customer Appreciation Reception
    6:30 PM-8:30 PM, Old Mint, Old Mint PlazaRegister for the reception here.

If you’d like to meet with any of Fishbowl’s representatives at the event, feel free to email info@fishbowlsolutions.com. To learn more about what we’ll be doing at OpenWorld this year, download our Focus On guide. See you in San Francisco!