Digital Transformation

IBM Connect: Web Experience Platform Strategy and Roadmap

Rob Will, Chief Architect for the Portal platform at IBM, always has a wealth of information about the product and where they are going.  He presented on the platform strategy and roadmap.  Here’s the session notes.

Have been in the portal business for about 13 years.  A lot has changed in that time.  Today, portals focus on the web experience.  How do I optimize this experience for customers, partners, employees, citizens.  It incorporates a variety of needs including mobile and web analytics.  You should remember one thing, new things are important but they should be built on a solid foundation.

Portal and Web Content Management (WCM) had a great year in 2012.

  • New version of Portal 8
  • New version of WCM 8
  • New version of Forms
  • Many updates to Web Experience Factory

Note: All screenshots for the presentation are based on a 90 minute install. It includes Portal, WCM, and Content Template Catalog

Note: Last Friday, released  It cleaned up a few items and added some new features.


Don’t forget that Portal / WCM has always been about building the web site framework.  So IBM is also in the mobile web site business not the mobile application business.  a web site governed by multiple departments won’t use a single app and they don’t expect a single “EAR” file for development.

  • it’s about html and css
  • You can and should use responsive design
  • The latest themes start with the concept of responsive design
  • IBM’s native app builder Worklight makes it easy to build multi-channel web applications.  So build an app for android and surface that in IBM Portal as well.

Portal and WCM Convergence

  • Most changes to a site should be done with a combined portal and web content
  • Portal continues to converge the two. Create a new page is a web content action
  • Projects allow you to put all your changes in one area.  Those changes are kept separately from other changes.
    • This allows you to do day to day content maintenance while also working on major releases.
    • Since a portal page is now viewed as content, you can edit a page and edit all the pieces of content on the page
  • Templates are now at the page level in page templates and at the article level for individual pieces of content
  • Just release CTC version 4
    • It’s now supports responsive web design out of the box
    • Supports inline editing with WCM
    • Rob showed a how it is edited, how you use multiple content templates to create a page and how to preview in a mobile device as well.
  • New: Context menu
    • Menu options are contextual.  It knows it’s in a page and it’s a piece of content.  The menu then lets you define a different presentation template and show it quickly. This highlights a trend towards letting the business work on
  • Personalization: otherwise known as content targeting
    • The original personalization had two gaps: getting additional personalization attributes from other sources requires programming.  It also didn’t think about common contexts like geo-location, devices, etc.
    • addressed that
      • the contextual menu shows any personalization rules attached to it.
      • It’s a nice easy UI to add additional content to that area and tell it when to display (This is nice.)
      • You can also target by device.  Use more text for a normal and this one with less text for smartphone is an example
      • It also allows you to preview the various pieces of content that may display.
      • Again, it’s all about helping a non-developer work on the site
  • Site Wizard: updates the site wizard.  Think about defining sets of pages. It ships with a couple templates but you can define your own.
  • WCM Social Publishing.  This is new and kind of cool
    • New extension to WCM. Allows you to publish web content to social networks.
    • It’s more than relink and share content. It’s about posting that information to a variety of source
    • oob you can publish to Connections, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
      • Makes it an option on publish or as part of the workflow
    • Connections lets you post to a blog, message board, or wiki
    • Facebook lets you do a wall or profile post
    • Linked in allows network update or stats
    • uses WCM display templates to define what to publish where so you can shorten to Twitter
    • Gives you some simple publishing stats
  • Multilingual support is more out of the box
  • List Presentation is new in
    • old way: create a query and then custom format it every time
    • new way: create a list format you can apply to any query result
  • Digital Asset Management
    • Not available yet. Tech preview Q1 2013
    • Let’s you edit video and images
  • Faceted Search was just released.
    • Article on the IBM Wiki shows how you can get faceted search working

Social Business changes

  • Community pages was releasedin V8
    • It’s about fully incorporating IBM Connections into the portal.
    • You can create a new community page and it automatically creates a Connections community
    • It keeps you in the portal and doesn’t put you back to Connections
    • You can then place portlets that automatically point to the community
  • Federated Tag Cloud
    • Single tag cloud to find all portal, wcm, and other tags
  • WCM Social Rendering shipped Friday
    • Use WCM to create format for any content
    • Consume any CMIS content and apply a display template
    • Also implemented a special Connections connector to make it easy to incorporate Connections content
    • Let’s you create portlets that point to the content and format it correctly.
      • Easy to edit. Pick a source, apply filters, filter by security, sort it, filter by tag,
      • Configure to tell it how to format the the Connections content in whatever style you want. (Assuming display template created)
    • It’s all WCM and Portal Theme so that means it also works on any mobile or other device
    • caveat for Connections and CMIS: It’s rendered as a read only view.  Go to the oob portlets to get two way interactions
  • What’s coming up. (e.g. not yet shipped)
    • Make it easier to create a Mobile app with Worklight and then surface it in the portal
    • Or create an app with normal view with no camera capabilities and a moble app with the camera.
    • Cool use of Worklight


  • Forms Experience builder lets you create forms without a develoer
  • Web Experience Factory has a new release
    • Very mobile friendly
    • all themes match
    • New models and layouts for multi-channel and device
    • Includes sample Worklight builder to make it easy to incorporate
  • RAD makes it easier to to build mobile
  • Now supports a variety of JSF libraries
    • Posted a bunch of whitepapers
    • Same goes for Spring
  • Now more whitepapers on how to do something and less new WEF or RAD functionality
  • Web Application Bridge
    • lets you do a proxied iframe, JSR 286.
    • Tries to make it easier and less error prone to do an iframe
    • now more performant, supports SharePoint 2013, etc.
  • Stays current with a bunch of process or workflow engines like Lombardi and IBM BPM
  • Shipped a few months ago the Portal / SAP integrator
    • There is a whitepaper on it as well.
  • Created the Retail Banking Template
  • Installation
    • Now uses IBM install manager
    • new install allows you to directly install rather than install 8.0 first
  • PureSystems
    • Now has a Web Experience pattern
    • get the box, apply the pattern, build a new 8 cluster demo
    • Also have  script to install files and profiles easily in PureSystems

Bottom line: Wow, it’s amazing what they did with 8.0 and what they did with the latest release which comes only four months after 8.0.

About the Author

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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