Did your organization recently purchase Oracle WebCenter Content? Are you the new admin? Consider these 4 tools to successfully manage and administer the system

AdminSuiteCongratulations! Your organization has made an investment in a leading enterprise content management and portal system, and even better, you get to manage and administer the system. Lucky you, right? As long as users can access the system, find what they need, and receive important, system generated notifications that are relevant to them they will generally be happy and leave you alone, right?

Unfortunately, a complete state of end-user bliss doesn’t exist – if it did, there might not be a need for system administrators. The reason for this is there will be many different personas that will access and use the system, and each will have their own set of likes, dislikes and complaints. For example, some users won’t like the interface (most popular complaint). Others will complain about the (perceived) lack of features and functionality. Regardless, as the system administrator you will not be able to satisfy all user requests, but with Fishbowl’s Administration Suite  you will be able to ensure WebCenter users get the most out of inherent features and system functionality.

Administration (Admin) Suite brings together Fishbowl’s most popular components for WebCenter automation. The reason for their popularity is they truly help administrators be more efficient when performing the most common and repetitive tasks within Oracle WebCenter Content, as well as they provide additional functionality that provides organizations with more business value. These include rule-based security mappings to provide users with the right level of access (read, read/write, read/write/delete, etc.), enabling custom email notifications to be sent for content subscriptions, scheduling and off-loading the process of bulk loading content in WebCenter, and the addition of several workflow features to aid in workflow creation, review and auditing. Let’s take a closer look of each of these components.

Advanced User Security Mapping (AUSM)

  • Overview:
    • AUSM provides rule-based configuration to integrate external user sources (LDAP or Active Directory) with Oracle WebCenter. Rules can be created to assign aliases to users based on their directory information, and this information can be directly imported into WebCenter. AUSM also provides reporting capabilities to quickly audit user access and troubleshoot permission issues.
  • Business Problems it solves:
    • Decreases the time it takes for administrators to integrate an enterprise security model with Oracle WebCenter. No more having to create multiple (sometimes hundreds…) of mappings between LDAP groups and roles in WebCenter
    • Enables administrators to quickly troubleshoot user access issues
    • Accelerates new user access to content in the system by not having to wait until users log in

Subscription Notifier

  • Overview:
    • Subscription Notifier provides an intuitive interface for administrators to create subscriptions for tracking and managing business content. This is done through queries that can be scheduled to run at various intervals. For example, you can create queries to notify a contract manager at 90, 60 and 30 days before a vendor contract expires. You can also create queries that notify content owners that content is X days old and should be reviewed.
  • Business problem it solves:
    • Ensures internal and external stakeholders have visibility, and have enough time to respond, to when high-value content is set to expire (contracts, etc.)
    • Helps avoid duplication of effort by alerting teams when new content is available – sales teams get notified when new marketing content is checked in, for example
    • Provides owners of web content with triggers to update, create new or delete – this can help keep content on the site fresh and new which is important for SEO

Enterprise Batch Loader

  • Overview:
    • Enterprise Batch Loader provides a robust, standalone component for WebCenter administrators to quickly and efficiently load content into the system. This content can come from ERP, CRM, CAD and other business systems as Enterprise Batch Loader can be configured to “watch” folders where such data is output and then create a batch load file for loading into WebCenter. Metadata from these systems can also be mapped to fields existing in WebCenter.
  • Business problems it solves:
    • Helps organizations reduce content repositories and file shares by automating the process of checking content into Oracle WebCenter
    • Ensures high-value data from ERP, CRM, CAD and other business systems gets loaded into WebCenter, providing a single location for users to access and find information

Workflow Solution Set

  • Overview:
    • Packed with 9 powerful features, Workflow Solution Set complements the out-of-the-box Oracle WebCenter workflows through detailed auditing, the ability to search for content in workflow, and the ability to customize email notifications and the workflow review pane. Workflow Solution Set makes it easier for users to interact with and fully leverage WebCenter Content workflows.
  • Business problem it solves:
    • Helps remove confusion from the workflow process by enabling explicit instructions to be included in the workflow review pane or email notifications
    • Ensures the history of a workflow is fully retained – including rejection comments
    • Provides visibility into content that is in a workflow, which natively in WebCenter items in a workflow are not included as part of search results
    • Improves performance of review process by separating out workflow items into pages instead of one long list

I will be covering more of the capabilities of these components that make up Fishbowl’s Administration Suite during a one-hour webinar on Thursday, June 11th. Come hear more about why, together, the components of Fishbowl’s Admin Suite provide the perfect tools for WebCenter admins.

You can register for the event here. I hope you will be able to join us.

ControlCenter for WebCenter Content: Controlled Document Management for any Device

Fishbowl Solutions recently held a webinar about our newest product, ControlCenter for Oracle WebCenter Content. Product manager Kim Negaard discussed ControlCenter’s unique features and advantages for controlled document management. If you missed the webinar, you can now view it on YouTube:

Below is a summary of questions Kim answered during the webinar. If you have any unanswered questions, or would just like to learn more, feel free to contact Fishbowl by emailing cmsales@fishbowlsolutions.com.

Is this a custom component that I can apply to current documents and workflow processes, or are there additional customization that needs to be done?

ControlCenter is installed as a custom component and will work with current documents. You can identify which document types and workflows you want to be able to access through ControlCenter and additional customizations are not necessary.

Does the metadata sync with the header information in both Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF documents?

The metadata synchronization works with PDF and Word documents.

Do you need to have a specific template in order to synchronize?

Not really. There’s two ways you can insert metadata into a document:

  1. You can use the header or footer area and replace anything existing in the current header with a standard header.
  2. You can use properties fields: for example, anytime the Microsoft Office properties field “document ID” occurs in a document, the dDoc name value could be inserted into that field.

In either of these cases, the formatting standards wouldn’t be rigid, but you would ideally want to know before rolling this out which approach you’d like to take.

What version of WebCenter do you need for this?

This is supported on WebCenter Content version 11.1.8 or above.

Is it completely built on component architecture as a custom component?

Yes.

Does ControlCenter require the Site Studio component to be enabled in order to work?

No, Site Studio doesn’t have to be enabled.

Does ControlCenter require Records Management to be installed on top of WCC?

No.

Does the custom component require additional metadata specific to ControlCenter?

Not exactly. We’ve made it pretty flexible; for example, with the scheduled reviews, we don’t force you to create a field called “review date”. We allow you to pick any date field you want to use for the scheduled reviews, so that if you already have something in place you could use it.

Where do you put ControlCenter if you don’t already have an existing server?

You do need to have an Oracle WebCenter Content server to run ControlCenter. If you don’t have a server, you’ll need to purchase a license for WebCenter Content. However, you don’t need any additional servers besides your WebCenter Content server.

Does the notification have to go to a specific author, or could you send it to a group or list in case that author is no longer with the organization?

The notification system is very flexible in terms of who you can send documents to. You can send it to a group, like an entire department or group of team leads, or it can be configured to send to just one person, like the document author or owner.

How does this work with profiles?

ControlCenter fully supports profiles. When you view content information for a document, it will display the metadata using the profile. If you check in a document using a check-in profile, then all of the metadata and values from that profile will be respected and enforced within ControlCenter. I should also mention that ControlCenter does support DCLs, so if you’re using DCLs those will be respected, both from a check in perspective but also in the metadata on the left. So as you are creating a browse navigation in ControlCenter, it will recognize your DCLs and allow you to filter with the proper relationships.

Does it integrate with or support OID (Oracle Internet Directory)/OAM (Oracle Access Manager)?

ControlCenter will use whatever authentication configuration you already have set up. So if you’re using OAM with WebCenter Content, then that’s what ControlCenter will use as well.

Does it support any custom metadata that has already been created?

Yes, if you have custom metadata fields that are already created, any of those can be exposed in ControlCenter.

Does it support any other customizations that have already been defined in the WebCenter Content instance?

It will depend on the nature of the customization. In general, if you have customized the WebCenter UI, those customizations would not show up in ControlCenter because ControlCenter has a separate UI; however, customizations on the back end, like workflow or security, would likely carry over into ControlCenter.

Does ControlCenter integrate with URM?

The ControlCenter interface isn’t specifically integrated with URM.

In case of a cluster environment, does ControlCenter need to be installed on both WebCenter Content servers?

Yes, if you have a clustered WebCenter Content environment, you would need to install ControlCenter on both/all nodes of the clustered environment.

Does it change anything within core WebCenter?

Not really. The only change to the core UI is an additional button in the Browse Content menu that will take you to the ControlCenter interface. But other than that, ControlCenter doesn’t change or prevent you from using the regular Content Server interface.

Can you customize the look and feel (icons, colors, etc.)?

Yes. We will work with you to customize the look and feel, widgets, etc. The architecture that we used when we created this supports customization.

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.