In early 2014, WebCenter Sites engineering produced a demo Sites + Endeca Guided Search integration for the A-Team to review. The use case for such a demo is quite compelling: pretty much any large Sites-authored website can benefit from Guided Search technology. And while one “could” implement a guided search mechanism in WebCenter Sites it would require a lot of work as there are no OOTB features of the product to facilitate it. Further, such a bespoke solution would likely not have all the robust tools that come OOTB with Endeca Guided Search. As such, the concept of Sites + Endeca integration appeals very much to the A-Team. We think it to be a natural integration which should have lots of broad market appeal for existing and future Sites customers.
The following screenshot shows a WebCenter Sites Template rendering a Guided Search payload provided by Endeca of WCS-authored content indexed in the Endeca MDEX.
The following Endeca software must be installed prior to installing the integration:
NOTE: As many of you will notice, the above does not represent the latest versions of the Commerce product.
The WebCenter Sites/Endeca Integration has been tested on Oracle WebCenter Sites 11gR1 (126.96.36.199.0). This is available on the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud at https://edelivery.oracle.com.
NOTE: While it has not been tested, the demo should work with WebCenter Sites v188.8.131.52.
So while the idea of an integration between Sites and Endeca is compelling, as always the “devil is in the details”. To wit: there are a few details missing from the demo that we feel need to be addressed before such a solution could be made public. The two missing features which we feel are critical are:
NOTE: the two features above are described in detail in another A-Team paper entitled Three Patterns for Integrating WebCenter Sites with Oracle Commerce, which can be obtained from the A-Team Chronicles blog.
The following table lists all the individual components of the demo that are included in the zip archive:
|The following files create events in Sites|
|The following files are used to create new tables and also update existing tables with new records|
|The following file is the documentation:|
|The following file is the primary jar containing all the classes (shown exploded for your review)|
|The following files define the Endeca pipeline, the testdata, and the sample sites|
For those of you new to integrating Sites with Endeca, it might be worthwhile studying the code samples above for ideas about how you will implement your own integration. You can obtain the above-mentioned zip archive here: sites-endeca-integration. It should be noted that the A-Team does not approve of this solution for real-world customers nor does the A-Team support the included code. In fact we will go on the record here that deploying Endeca jars (or any productized jars for that matter) in the WebCenter Sites context is a bad practice for customers as it makes upgrading nearly impossible. Further, support is made complicated and problematic by doing so. Instead, this demo solution is provided to demonstrate the viability of integrating the two products and allow developers to inspect the solution for concepts to incorporate into their own projects.
Partially inspired by this demo, the A-Team release in August 2014 a technical white paper on the A-Team Chronicles blog: Three Patterns for Integrating WebCenter Sites with Oracle Commerce. As described in the paper, code is provided to support Pattern 1. Extending the supplied codebase to support Pattern 2 is currently left up to the reader.