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Digital Experience

IBM ConnectED 2015: What’s New in WebSphere Portal & Web Content

It’s time again for Rob Will’s semi-annual presentation on What’s New in IBM WebSphere Portal and IBM Web Content Manager. Rob is IBM’s Chief Architect for Portal and WCM and always has lots of slides showing off what the latest version of the product does and what has been implemented in the last year.portal2015

IBM’s vision is that they help you realize the art of the possible for engaging your users through a digital experience. IBM has been focused on better integrating Portal and WCM, enabling separation of responsibilities through projects and workflow, creating templates, and citizen development (opening development up to non developers).

Rob stated that they don’t intend to produce distinct releases, but rather will enhance the product through cumulative fixes released throughout the year.


For portal, mobile isn’t about building a single app, its about composition – how to build multichannel experiences by integrating multiple applications. On 8.5, they have now added a mobile simulator. You can now preview your digital experience on a variety of devices.

Worklight integration has also been enhanced. New Worklight modules are available and enabled out of the box.  Single Sign On between the mobile app and the website is one example. Content can now be stored offline so its accessible when you are connected to the internet.

Content and Rich Media

The Content Template Catalog has been enhanced in v 4.3. They’ve made the templates more like templates and less like demo templates.  The new templates don’t have as much pre-filled content, but include more prompts to show the user what to fill in.

Vanity URLs were added to allow business users to specify these urls and can include language variations.  These URLs are stored in WCM so they can be put into production very easily through Syndication.

WCM Content Security can now be based on content and user attributes. For example, if you want to limit a piece of content to all managers, you can do this through attributes instead of creating security groups.

IBM has included entitlements to Ephox EditLive Enterprise and Web Radar. EditLive is an enhanced rich text editor that has lots of nice features.  Web Radar is a reporting tool for Web Content Manager.

Rich Media Edition is used to integrate with digital asset systems. A new version was published late last year that included enhanced image editing, image renditions, and integration with Brightcove. There is also synchronization between content in WCM and Brightcove.


Can now create rules in-context. IBM also added a “negate” rule.

Marketing Management

IBM has robust marketing management tools under their Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) brand.  In Digital Experience, IBM has shipped patterns that explain how to integrate these EMM products with portal and WCM. They also have portlets that implement some of the needed parameters for the integration.

Digital Experience also integrates with IBM WebSphere Commerce so content in WCM can be reused in Commerce experiences.

Social Integration 

Social rendering was introduced in v8.0.0.1 of portal. In 8.5, they extended this to include the ability to create/delete items in the social platform.  This is now called Digital Data Connector.

In December’s release, they now can connect to the Cloud-based Connections (IBM Smartcloud). This allows portal to pull social content from either on-premise connections or the cloud version.


Digital Data Connector has been extended to allow integration with any type of content that is already in XML format.  If something is not XML, it may take a little bit of work to transform the incoming data into the right DDC data.

A Scrip Portlet was delivered and enhanced.  This allows the “citizen developer” to create applications in HTML, Javascript, and CSS. In the latest release, you can import script files and the portlet will put the files into the right place in WCM.

Web Experience Factory has been continually enhanced with Mac support, development in WAS Liberty, etc.

There is a new developer site:  This site includes samples with source code to help developers figure out how to develop for portal.

Forms Experience Builder

Now FEB integrates with the Unified Task List portlet.


Worked on reducing Dojo consumption, usability and tool bar isolation. The tool bar makes it complicated for the theme because it the tool bar requires specific features like Dojo.  The toolbar is now contained in separate portal pages which reduces the complexity of the theme.

Resource Aggregation for Portelts

This feature allows the portlet developer to declare what resources it needs from the theme so that only those modules get loaded and shared.


IBM has been working on enabling the cloud and on-premise/cloud hybrids.  The Digital Experience is now being hosted in the cloud, but IBM is not looking to implement a pure Business Service or Cloud Native (BlueMix) version of DX.  However, they will be looking at creating some services on BlueMix that can be consumed by Digital Experiences.

The new Digital Experience Cloud is really a managed offering for Portal in the cloud.

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Mark Polly

Mark Polly is Perficient's Chief Strategist for Customer Experience Platforms. He works to create great customer, partner, and employee experiences. Mark specializes in web content management, portal, search, CRM, marketing automation, customer service, collaboration, social networks, and more.

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