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Digital Transformation

What's New in WebSphere Portal 7

Rob Will, the Chief Architect for WebSphere Portal gave an overview of what’s new.  Portal 7 is out as of September 1, 2010 so this is the latest and greatest.

  • Portal’s base purpose still hasn’t changed. It’s all about getting the right functionality to the user in whatever context they may be in.  Portal just has more capability of meeting that goal.


  • Optimizing the web experiences is becoming mission critical in order to gain and keep users. So Portal and WCM alignment to that need is also critical.
  • IT budget are under intense pressure to do more with less.
  • Feeds, REST services, widgets are becoming useful building blocks to augment other application and content sources
  • Employees and customer expect to manipulate their experience on the page
  • Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
  • Note: Portal 6.1 really started to act on the trends above. Version 6.1.5 continued to build on it with page builder, template pages, portal lide mode, site analytics etc.

What’s new in 7

  • WCM is  much changed
  • Tagging and rating but not just of content but also pages and portlets.
  • Virtualization support.  Cloud, vmware, etc.
  • Portal 6.1.5 features moved into 7: virtualization, webdav support, page builder, site analytics integration, mashup integration, impersonation, and lot of other small items.
  • Tagging and rating: IBM views this as infrastructure play.  Enable user to tag and rate portal pages, portlets, and content.  More than that, there are REST API’s so you can tag and rate “other things”  Push portal services outside of the portal.
  • Tagging includes a tag cloud portlet.   Tags can be public or private
  • Tagging and rating has filter capability.
  • The “tag center” lets you search tags.  You can scope tags so a tag cloud may be scope for tags only on this page, section, etc.)
  • Web Site Analytics.   IBM added Unica as a partner that supports portal analytics
  • Version 7 now has 17 tags they push out to be viewed.   That’s a good start for your first 6 months.  page title, portlet window title, wcm content, and a lot more.   See the presentation for a complete list.
  • Analytics includes logging for WCM content.
  • Theme Consoldiation: Single theme fits everything. (Server side, client side, mashups).  This is the theme to end all theme.  This builds on the page builder theme released in 6.1.5
  • Don’t worry, themes from previous releases will continue to work.  However, the new theme is the one IBM will invest in now.
  • Theme: one consistent and comprehensible architecture and programming model for rendering differing component types.  It’s based on CSS, html, and DOJO.  They want web designers to be happy to develop themes based on this new model.
  • Theme: support portlets and iWidgets on same page.  Leverage WSRP portlets in client side mode.  It’s based on DOJO 1.4
  • Mashup Integration: Everything you do with mashup builder you can also do in portal (pull widgets, put on pages, cross link, pass paramters.)
  • Cost of ownership improvement continue.
  • Site Management with better staging
  • Portlet load monitoring: available on the catalog today.  You can allow portlets to define maximum number of concurrent request, maximum average processing time for request.  If the max is hit, it throws an exception and prevent further request to a portlet.  You can prevent the hanging of a portlet for everyone because of the load issue.
  • Virtualization.  Officially support VMWare. Have Hypervisor editions that can be downloaded as images.  (makes it easy to install now doesn’t it?).  Can create multiple portal profiles
  • New cloud support for websphere cloud burst. You define images and the appliances manages the cloud for you.
  • Now support autoscale and autoloadbalancer on Amazon.
  • Also now support the IBM Smart Business Cloud. (Like Amazon, it’s a hosted cloud)
  • Rob quote, “we love the cloud stuff so we are going to keep doing it”
  • Portal Farming: identically configured servers with no managed cell or cluster.  Easy to scale by just adding a box pointing to a shared image. You do lose some core functionality for simplicities sake: no cache management, no sync config, no cluster scoped admin actions.
  • But, admin actions are pushed to one share image.  So it’s easy to deploy.  bring one box down, point to a new image and test, then start bringing it up on the new image for other boxes.
  • Site Management: Staging of additional items, stage virtual portals, xml access usability enhancements, Various servicablity enhancements with better log messages, better debug capture, etc.
  • New IBM Doc Management Portlet: based on portlet factory.  easy to enhance the baseline portal.  Natively points to quickr doc library
  • Search: support for tagged items, core portal engine is now Lucene.  (aligns with IBM preference for Lucene). Expose the JCR seed lists.   Also use WAS config service to configure search. (e.g. more config and less custom)
  • Migration: goal is to get rid of migration.  Getting close to it in 7. Upgrade from 6.1 to 7 is much better.  If on WAS 7, install the portal 7 binaries and point those binaries at existing databases.   This really is a much better experience.
  • JCR Performance is improved
  • Paging support for the user object

WCM Improvments
Note: we’ll see more in other sessions)

  • Easier Authoring.  Much nicer UI
  • User focused and context aware UI
  • Multi-local content management (yeah!)
  • Improved portal-WCM convergence with friendlier URLs, content page templates,
  • tagging for example shows convergence because you tag both a portlet and a piece of content
  • Content Template: More nice templates out on the catalog today.  News overview, news, eent. landing pages, biographies, etc.
  • Authoring improvements:
  • Project support: bring lots of changes into one project and launch
  • New resource file types
  • Enhanced work flow for multple drates, offset date driven, bi-directional workflow
  • User Experience: Much enhanced authoring interface, ephox rich text editor, etc.
  • Project: Group together updates.  For those who have been using WCM for a while, this will be very well received.  approve and publish sets of content at once.
  • Different view in WCM: recent items view.
  • Filter: save searches to allow you to get back to the area you were working on.
  • Ephox: new functionality includes autosave, autolink, Excel import, insert html fragment, etc.
  • WCM Delivery: session free rendering, contextually aware urls, JSR 286 rendering support, enhanced remote author support
  • WCM Extension Points: create a custom tag(button) that injects content info your content area.
  • ECM integration via doc picker
  • WCM Admin: edit properties via WAS console, etc.
  • Blog and Wiki templates continue to be supported.  Can now tag multiple items in a blog for example. This is because it’s really multiple pieces of content.
  • WCM and Symphony integration

Mobile Portal

  • Not a lot new because of lots of support already
  • Better currency suport
  • Mobile 7 will ship within a month of Portal 7 launch
  • Better development toolkits with RAD
  • Better api support
  • better documentation

Portal Tooling

  • Portlet Factory 7 and Rad 7
  • Portlet Factory: improved UI with lots of AJAX, etc.
  • Easier CRUD app construction
  • More wysiwyg
  • Best Practice wiki
  • Better Performance and scalability.  WAR is smaller
  • Better exploitation of portal 7 features
  • RAD
  • Web 2.0 and dojo support (better support)
  • Performance and scalability
  • Platform support with portal 7

Industry Toolboxes
Basically they are a bunch of oob functionality specific to the industry. They create portlets like checklist and put those on the catalog.  Aside: the catalog is not just where to get a bookmark portlet.  All of them are built in portlet factory

  • Content templates
  • Checklists
  • Unified task list
  • ebanking portlets
  • self-registration portlet
  • tag cloud portlet
  • content teaser portlet
  • sametime 8.5 live help portlet


  • Mobile Device Themes
  • The beta is available now.  Go to the Amazon cloud or to the beta site.

Thoughts on “What's New in WebSphere Portal 7”

  1. Thanks! Michael, For putting this simplified Feature list, I wish IBM could do something this crisp and clear on their feature list’s 🙂 Anyways the integration of WCM with Cloud is going to make the information even more dynamic, and i am really looking forward to it. Also lets see how much more is really there in the Mobile 7.

  2. Problems is a relative term when it comes to portal migration. Here are your challenges:
    1. 5.0 uses the old IBM portlet api. That’s old and about the api has reached a support end of life. You are looking at recoding your portlets
    2. 5.0 didn’t support a lot of new functionality like ajax, jsr 286, etc. If you want to take advantage of all these have to offer, you will have to develop it.
    3. If you use WCM, you will have a major upgrade to do. IN version 6.0 WCM started supporting JSR 170 and that meant a complete migration of data.
    All of this is well known and well documented. Your upgrade will take effort but at least we know where that effort resides.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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