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Best Practices from Oracle Development's A‑Team

Portal and Content - Components, part 1 – UCM, Site Studio and Templates (2 of 7)

Introduction

Oracle WebCenter Portal core architecture is designed around several well defined services that the Portal framework offers the architects, developers and users when assembling a Portal application or Portal Site. One of the most important services in the Content Driven Portal scenario is WebCenter Content.

Main Article

WebCenter Content

WebCenter Content offers the Portal a large set of services to give the portal users a way of managing content life cycles. The main purpose is to give the Portal user a runtime support for managing changes of content without having to take the portal back in design-time to modify any page asset.
However a very important fact to remember in this relationship, is that the Portal Lifecycle is separate from the Content server lifecycle since it is actually two runtime processes, Portal process is a very stateful process and allows the developer to maintain information about the user actions, whereas the Content Server process is stateless and requires the caller to submit all states in each request. The most important part of this relationship is that Portal and Content Server processes each have a unique session, which implies that memory or state cannot be shared unless they are passed on the request, however the master session is owned by the portal.
It is important to remember this when designing content regions and pages so that the information and state lifecycle are supported by core architecture.

Site Studio

Site Studio is an extension component to WebCenter Content, it enables the Content Server to support a flexible way of assembling and managing HTML assets that can be used and published to a site or portal in runtime. WebCenter Portal uses this feature extensively in aspect of a Content Driven Portals. By leveraging Site Studio functionality on the portal we also enable a very user friendly authoring of content assets in the portal.
The main purpose for Site Studio integration with WebCenter Portal is to give a very rich edit capability to the Author/Editor in the Contribution mode.
Second purpose it to enable the content to be re-purposed by using the semi-structure data feature from Site Studio via the Open WCM specification.

Templates

So finally getting to the most important part of this post, by leveraging templates the portal can inline sections in the portal with rich text capabilities, this capabilities can be configured to guarantee a certain brand direction, without having to understand HTML, CSS or Scripting. By having scalable, flexible and Business centric templates the IT organization can not only save a great amount of time, effort and money on maintaining the portal, it will also allow the business to be more agile and responsive to the messaging and needs of the portal information purpose without having any dependencies to the IT organization.

Today Oracle offers two ways of constructing and executing content templates in the portal, the remaining of this post will focus on the technical pros and cons with this two options, the aim with this information is to help developer and architects to choose best fitted template technology for their requirements.

Feature Content Presenter Template Region Template
Execution Runtime WebCenter Portal UCM Content Server
Scripting/Markup ADF – JSF – HTML - JS IDOC – HTML - JS
Template in Template Framework supported Only using IDOC includes
Contextual access Yes (full EL support) No
Metadata access Yes Yes
Element access Yes Yes
Reusable UI Components Yes (ADF Faces) No (unless using JQuery or similar)
UCM Service API Access Only through extension with RIDC Yes
Runtime Deploy-able Yes Y
Dynamic Converter Support Only through template chaining Yes

ATEAM has found that the most desirable architecture based on requirements and compatibility are to Content Presenter Templates that is based on ADF, there is so far one exception where Dynamic conversion has been required for Native file rendering. However even in this scenario we have used an Content Presenter Template as gateways since the Native File cannot reference a Region Template directly. If you are interested in this scenario, have a look at following post: Rendering native documents in Content Presenter

For more information on Content Presenter and Content Presenter Template see following section in OTN: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E21764_01/webcenter.1111/e10148/jpsdg_content_presenter.htm#CCHDAHGB

Index

Introduction – Introduction to the series of posts and what to expect at the end of the series

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