WebCenter Sites and WebCenter Content Integration
WebCenter Sites is a great tool for business users and marketers to easily manage their Web Experience. WebCenter Content allows consolidation of all enterprise documents and digital assets in a single repository. Its transformation engine easily creates different renditions of the documents and images. As enterprise standard, it is recommended that clients use WC Content as their enterprise repository for all documents, images, videos and digital assets, and they use WC Sites to manage Web Experiences for all sites.
WC Sites Content Connector tool automates the process of pulling the documents from WC Content into WC Sites. The documents and digital assets should be created, edited, work-flowed, and approved in WC Content. The approved documents and digital assets, along with their meta-data are pulled from WC Content as assets in WebCenter Sites. If the document and digital assets have different renditions, they can also be pulled into WebCenter Sites. WC Sites Content Integration is designed to synchronize content from WebCenter Content to WebCenter Sites – documents and digital assets, including images and videos – as native files, renditions, and HTML conversions. Renditions can be created by the core transformation engine or Digital Asset Manager, depending on the type of native file and which renditions are required. HTML conversions are generated by Dynamic Converter. File formats are unlimited.
When it runs for the first time, the WC Sites Content connector imports the latest released versions of native files, renditions, conversions, metadata, or combinations of them into WebCenter Sites. Connector rules and the mappings you specify decide which content it imports.
If the content items are then modified on WebCenter Content, the connector synchronizes them to WebCenter Sites in its next session. Updated content items are re-imported into WebCenter Sites, and deleted content items have their counterpart assets deleted from WebCenter Sites (unless dependencies on those assets were created since the last synchronization session). Import and synchronization can be triggered manually, or they can be scheduled to run on a timed basis.
Synchronization is always unidirectional, from WebCenter Content to WebCenter Sites. WC Sites Content Integration supports a many-to-one client-server model. Any number of WebCenter Sites clients can be connected to a single WebCenter Content instance.
WC Sites Content Connector was designed for the use case where documents, images and digital assets are created, edited, managed and approved in WC Content, but they are rendered from WC Sites. The documents from WC Content are pulled over and assets are created in Sites.
However, there are many times when clients do not want to pull the documents from WC Content in to WC Sites. This may be due to following reasons:
- Extra Storage If large quantities of documents need to be pulled from WC Content in to WC Sites, they are duplicated in WC Sites. Moreover, WC Sites has multiple environments, like Authoring/Editorial, QA, Delivery etc. This means the documents needs to be copied to two or three environments. Some clients do not want the extra storage required to duplicate the documents two or three times.
- Publish Times Publishing documents adds to the publish time. If a client has tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of documents, it needs to plan to initially pull all the documents from WC Content into WC Sites. Subsequently, depending on how many documents are to be published on a regular basis, they may need to plan for extra time accordingly.
- Multiple Sources of Documents Recommended best practice is to make WC Content as the master source for all enterprise documents. The documents should be edited and maintained only in WC Content. But, if the documents are pulled from WC Content into WC Sites, it opens the possibility that someone will download the document from WC Sites, edit it and upload it back into WC Sites.
Thus there is a case where the client does not want to pull the document from WC Content into WC Sites, but only wants to pull the meta-data associated with the document. Using the meta data, the client should be able to make a link to the document, and link it to any page on the web site.
Setting-up WC Sites Content Connector for Meta-Data Only
WC Sites Content Connector document says that meta-data along with document and the required renditions will be pulled from WC Content. However, it is possible to pull only the meta-data and not the documents, as shown below. In the screens shown below, I am working with the AVISports site released with WC Sites.
STEP 1. Asset Definition
Create an asset definition, that does not have a blob attribute required to hold the document.
I have created a new AVIArticle Definition called wcDoc. You will notice that wcDoc definition does not have any blob attribute, required to hold a document.
Step 2: Configure WC Sites Connector for only Meta-Data
In the screen below, I have added a new rendition called WC MetaData, and removed the Primary & Web default renditions.
STEP 3: Setup Rules
Setup the rules for pulling the documents from WC Content. Give it a name, and define the rules and target.
Specify name for the given rule:
Specify rules for selecting Content Items from WC Content
Specify the target (Site name) in WC Site
STEP 4: Define Attributes
While defining the attributes, do not pull the document itself. You must include the URL for the document. The document URL is not a default attribute that can be pulled from in WC Content into WC Sites. However, WC Content Admin can easily expose this attribute so it can be pulled from Content into Sites. In the screen below, I am pulling xAbsoluteURL from WC Content and mapping it to docURL attribute in wcDoc assets on WC Sites.
Define attributes to be loaded:
That is all you need to do the setup. Next time when Connector is run, it will pull the meta-data for the document, including its URL, but will not pull the physical document into WC Sites.
Here is the asset inspection screen on WC Sites, showing the meta-data and the URL for the document pulled form WC Content.
Rendering the document from WC Content
If the document is not pulled from WC Content, but only the meta-data along with its URL is pulled, the document from WC Content can be rendered in the following ways:
1) Use the URL One can make a link to the document using the URL from WC Content. Using this link the document can directly be rendered from WC Content.
2) Use a proxy However in many cases, WC Content may be behind a fire-wall and not easily accessible from internet. In such cases one can setup a proxy outside of the firewall that will connect to WC Content and render the document.
3) Secure Document Servlet Documents in WC Content are secure, and may have access rules regarding who can see the documents. In such cases, it is best to write a simple document servlet to render the document. The links from WC Sites should be to this document servlet. The document servlet should pass the username and authentication information about the user to WC Content, read the document from WC Content using the GET_FILE service APIs, and render it on the site. It is not advisable to directly render this document from WC Sites template, as that will have performance implication on WC Sites. It is best to do it from a separate servlet.
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