Special Report:

Evaluating WebSphere Portal Server 7: A journey Into the WPS Unknown

By Sal Pece

TheServerSide.com

Evaluating WebSphere Portal 7… A Journey Into the Unknown

Every journey begins with a single step; unless, of course, you trip over your feet and break your darn neck.  I’ve been tasked with evaluating the available Portal solutions for a multi-year, multi-million dollar project and I need to be pretty darned sure I’m on solid footing with the latest, upcoming release of IBM's WebSphere Portal 7.

I’ve worked with many of the  Portal incarnations, from WPS to JetSpeed, so I know what a standard portal has to offer. But for now, the question I have to ask myself is whether to begin my next project with a proven 6.1.5 WebSphere Portal Server platform, or attempt the unthinkable, and jump head first into the empty pool of the "early adopter."  With the WebSphere Portal 7 Gold release upon us, I need to evaluate every feature to determine if it will satisfy the rigorous nees of the enterprise, not just now, but in the years to come as well.

 

WebSphere Portal Server: Product Installation

Before anything else, I have to get the product installed.  In this article I plan to answer the following questions:

•         Which platforms are supported?

•         How do I obtain the WebSphere Portal 7 Beta 3 software?

•         How do I install the product?

•         How do I improve page rendering performance?

•         How do I uninstall the product?

•         Why Portal 7?

As I step through each of my tasks I’ll be sure to address any Issues Encountered, Benefits and Enhancements over previous versions, and new features with Best practice advice.  Let’s get started.

Which platforms are supported?

I will be using the following environments to evaluate Portal 7:

1.Windows XP Professional

2.Windows Vista Professional

I was able to determine the following requirements from the IBM the VMWare images:

Please note the following System Requirements for the VMWare images:

VMWare Server, Workstation, or Player for Windows (www.vmware.com)

17GB disk space (for download and expansion of virtual disk images)

4GB RAM minimum (the VMWare image is configured for 1.5GB RAM)

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to locate actual documentation related to the Beta product.  I’m going to assume that I can install on the Windows environments since they provide a Windows images.

[Author’s Note:  Following the extraction of the downloaded file, I was able to locate a file named SoftwareWP7.rules.  This file seemed to contain the prerequisite checking rules for installation.  I was able to determine that Windows XP, Vista, and even Windows 7 should be supported.]

How do I obtain the WebSphere Portal 7 Beta 3 software?

Proceed to the following link to begin the adventure into the WebSphere Portal 7 Beta 3 universe:

https://www14.software.ibm.com/iwm/web/cc/earlyprograms/lotus/portalopenbeta/

I clicked on the Download link and then clicked on the downloaded from here link.

 

 

[Author’s Note:  You’ll require an IBM Registration ID before you can proceed.  It’s free to sign up and you get to download beta and trial software from IBM.]

After logging in and agreeing to license, I proceeded to the final download page.  There are 9 files available for download.

Download items 1 through 5 are the Portal 7 installation files.

The 6th is a simple installation document. 

The 7th includes all the binary files already added to a VMWare image

The 8th  offers SuSE VMWare image distribution

The 9th looks like a simple WAS 7 VMWare image

 

 

 

I chose to download all of files.  Feel free to choose your favorites.

[Author’s Note:  I started downloading them over a slow wireless network… Don’t do this!  It’s over 8 gigs of data and will take forever.]

What do I do with the downloaded files?

The 8+ gigs of WebSphere Portal 7 goodness are now downloaded.

 

 

Prior to installation, we have to extract the necessary files.  We start off by creating the following directory:

C:\WP7BetaInstallationFiles

Next we extract the files.  There are two trains of thought on how to achieve this.  The first is to extract each of the files into their own directory. For example

     W-Setup.zip     -> C:\WP7BetaInstallationFiles\W-Setup

     W-1.zip         -> C:\WP7BetaInstallationFiles\W-1

     W-3.zip         -> C:\WP7BetaInstallationFiles\W-3

     W-4.zip         -> C:\WP7BetaInstallationFiles\W-4

     W-5.zip         -> C:\WP7BetaInstallationFiles\W-5

The second option involves extracting all the files into a single directory:

W-Setup.zip     -> C:\WP7BetaInstallationFiles

     W-1.zip         -> C:\WP7BetaInstallationFiles

     W-3.zip         -> C:\WP7BetaInstallationFiles

     W-4.zip         -> C:\WP7BetaInstallationFiles

     W-5.zip         -> C:\WP7BetaInstallationFiles

I prefer the second option.  I find it makes installation simpler.  I have extracted all the files and I’m ready to start the installation process.

 

 

How do I install WebSphere Portal 7 Beta 3?

Open a command prompt and navigate to the C:\WP7BetaInstallationFiles directory and execute the following command to kick off the WebSphere Portal 7 Beta installation wizard:

install.bat –W dependency.userValidation=”false”

[Author’s Note:  When I tested the installation on the Windows XP environment, a warning popped up informing me that there was insufficient disk space and I was unable to proceed.  I verified that I have more than 20 gigs available.

I determined that the problem relates to the Dependency Checker.  After an hour of searching I located an old post describing how to disable the dependency checker.  The install.bat –W dependency.userValidation=”false” installation step eliminates the dependency checking functionality and allows us to complete the installation.]

 

In the IBM WebSphere Portal and Lotus Web Content Management 7.0.0.0 Welcome window, click Next

 

 

Select I accept the terms in the license agreement and click Next

 

Select Full and click Next

 

[Author’s Note: I boil the choice between Base and Full installation types down to the following  question:

•          Will this be a Learning or Development environment?

 

If it’s a Learning environment, you want to see every Link, Portlet, and Feed available.  If you’re going to be doing Development work that will lead to Productions eventually, go with the bare bone Base option.  Startup and overall performance will also improve.]

 

 

Set the installation path to C:\IBM\WebSphere and click Next

 

Windows Vista Only: Click the Unblock button

 

Specify the Node and Host name and click Next

 

[Author’s Note: You may have to update the Windows etc.host file to include a loopback entry or the installation will not proceed.  For instance, the host name PeceInc.pece.ca that I provide is a loopback entry to localhost.]

 

Loopback issue: Ignore the warning and click OK

 

Specify the Administrative User ID and Administrative password and click Next

 

[Author’s Note: Since I can remember, wasadmin has been the user ID and password of choice.]

 

Do NOT select the Use Microsoft ® Windows ® Service check box and click Next

 

Review the installation options and click Next

 

Click Finish to complete the installation.

 

The install completed successfully?

I couldn’t believe that WebSphere Portal 7 Beta installed successfully the first time.  I felt I did something wrong.  But I went ahead and clicked on the Launch WebSphere Portal and Lotus Web Content Management link and I received the login page:

 

                     

 

I enter the user ID and Password and clicked the Log In button and…

Welcome to IBM WebSphere Portal Beta?

I was ecstatic to learn that I had indeed installed the product correctly, and that I was now being introduced to IBM WebSphere Portal 7 Beta.

 

 

How do I Improve Page Rendering Performance?

When any version of WebSphere Portal is first installed, there is always a significant load time for each JSP page.   The poor load time is attributed to the fact each JSP page must be compiled the first time it is accessed.  To avoid the delay, execute the precompile-jsp command.

1.       Open a command line and navigate to the following directory:

            C:\IBM\WebSphere\wp_profile\bin

2.       Execute the following command

 

ConfigEngine.bat precompile-jsp –DwasUser=wasadmin –DWasPassword=wasadmin

 

3.       28 minutes later…

 

 

The script completely successfully and I’m happy to report there was a noticeable improvement in performance.

How do I uninstall WebSphere Portal 7 Beta?

Warning!  Only perform the following steps to uninstall the product.

1.       From a command prompt, navigate to the following directory:

                C:\IBM\WebSphere\PortalServer\uninstall

 

 

2.       Execute the following command:

                uninstall.bat

 

 

3.       Confirm you want to proceed with the uninstall by clicking Next

 

4.      Select Uninstall WebSphere Portal and Lotus Web Content Management  and also uninstall WebSphere Application Server and click Next

 

5.       Accept the warning by clicking OK

 

6.       Enter the user and password and click Next.

 

 

 

7.       Accept the warning that the user ID and password cannot be verify and click Next

 

 

8.       Review the uninstallation products and click Next

 

9.       Click Finish to complete the uninstall

     

 

[Author’s Note:  In previous installations of the product, there was an additional task that required administrators to remove the C:\IBM directory and its contents.  This task is now automated.]

 

Why Portal 7?

It’s imperative that I evaluate the updates to existing functionality, assess all new features, and document every error and undocumented feature I encounter.

From the few minutes of clicking around, here are just a few of the subjects I need to evaluate:

In my next article, I’m going to tackle Page customization and Editing options.  It’s a terrific place to start and I’ve already noticed several interesting elements.

 

 

Sal Pece is a Senior Systems Analyst and Instructor who refuses to specialize. Instead focuses his efforts as architect, administrator and developer on WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Portal, and Lotus Connections 2.5 platforms. When he's not delivering custom solutions, or studying new technologies, he's serving up sumptuous feasts for his family and friends. His signature dish is a three cheese and mushroom stuffed chicken breast, wrapped in bacon, and smothered with a Raspberry Mustard cream sauce which he's named 'The Shona'.

 

 

05 May 2010