Digital Transformation

12 Things You Shouldn’t Do on a Portal Project: #12 Building My Own MVC

Here is the last in our series and it tells the story of an architect at a customer who felt that Java Server Faces, Spring MVC and Struts were not good enough so he designed and built a custom Model View Controller (MVC)  framework for development in WebSphere Portal.

What Happened

This particular company had a really smart architect who didn’t like any of the existing MVC’s available and supported with WebSphere Portal.  He managed to convince his company they should build a custom MVC for portal and all other development projects.  It all was going well until he left the company, the MVC team shrunk, and development on the MVC essentially ceased.  A couple years pass and portal is a couple of major releases ahead, Java has been updated, JSR 286 is available, and now the portal development team is pulling their hair out trying to figure out this custom framework and crippled by not being able to use out of the box portal and open source capabilities.

What Should Have Happened

Portal contains a well documented API and leverages well documented MVC frameworks.  There are three main choices available: JSF, Spring MVC, and Struts.  All have their strengths and are well supported by either IBM and/or the open source community and make a great choice depending on your organizations needs.  Additionally there are many other development tools and frameworks available.  For rapid portlet development, consider using the IBM Web Experience Factory (formerly Portlet Factory.)  Additionally there are numerous other development tools and frameworks such as DOJO and jQuery for scripting engines, Spring, Hibernate, Ibatis, Display Tag, and the list goes on.

When a development need comes up, first look to what is available.  De-compiling and repackaging code is never the answer unless you want to instantly invalidate the ability for IBM to support you.  There are many public API’s available within portal that provide tremendous capabilities.  And lastly, if you are left with no options simply explain the situation to business.  It is unlikely they will ask for a completely custom ground up solution once they understand the ramifications of doing so and will work with you to find a palatable solution.

Previous Installments

  1. Where’s My Homepage?!?
  2. The Business Asked for It
  3. Methodology for Methodology’s Sake
  4. The Never Ending Strategy
  5. I Built It But Now I Can’t Support It
  6. We Can Get Big ROI From a Portal
  7. Is Best of Breed Always Best?
  8. When Developers Can’t Develop
  9. When Not to Use a Portal
  10. When Web 2.0 is 2.Much
  11. Infinite Loops on the Homepage

Join us this month on Wed, June 29th for our Perficient Perspectives webinar in which we explore the 12 Things You Shouldn’t Do on a Portal Project in depth.  More Info / Register

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Glenn Kline

Technical Director, Portal

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