Tagging Components with WebSphere Portal 7

Tagging Components with WebSphere Portal 7

WebSphere Portal 7 introduces Tagging and Rating to its long list of features.  When I first saw that tagging was added, I thought “Hey! Cool! Tags!”.  My excitement dwindled when I started to wonder why they added tags in the first place.   Tagging and Rating systems are most often associated with Social software platforms such as Facebook, MySpace, and Lotus Connections 2.5.  I was curious how they expected companies to use this kind of social paradigm in our Portal environments.


In this article I will answer the following questions:

•         What are tags?

•         Why do we need tagging in Portal?

•         How do we use Tagging and Rating effectively with Portal?

•         How do I set a public tag?

•         How do I set a private tag?

•         How do I rate a Portlet?

•         How do I rate a page?

•         Can we control any of the Tag Results Portlets results?

•         What’s next?

What are Tags?

Tags are typically user defined keywords that are assigned to  pieces of information.  In our case, Portal users assign tags to Pages, Portlets, Wikis, etc. 

Tagging allows users to provide additional information to standard items using their own descriptive vocabulary.  Tagging might make information easier to find. 

[Author’s Note: I say ‘might make information easier to find’ because if every Portlet and Page is tagged as ‘good’ or  ‘awesome’, the benefit of tags become limited.  It’s like reading a resume that includes ‘Excellent Communication Skills’ or ‘Team Player’ or ‘Works well with others’.]

How can we use Tagging and Rating effectively with Portal?

Tagging and Rating are effective social software tools and benefit users in a social software setting.  Single monolithic Portlets running one per page probably isn’t your best candidate for Tagging and Rating.  Nor is the statically constructed multi-Portlet page. 

Tagging and Rating is best suited for user-centric, customizable Portal environments.   Even if you only allow users to change one or two pages, at least providing the customizability options will give them a sense of individuality.  There are obviously challenges in allowing users to customize their experience, but these new features can help to provide an enhanced user experience.

How can I set public tags?

[Author’s Note: I setup my environment by creating a single Portal page named ‘My Portal Tagging Test Page’.  I will use this page for the remainder of my article.]


2.       Open






How can I set Private tags?




Select My Portal Tagging Test Page

Click the Go to Edit Mode button

Click the Customize button

[Author’s Note:  First we’ll have to change the layout before we can add Portlets.  No problem.]

Click the Change Layout button

Select the 2 column equal option

Click the Save button

Luckily, this kicks you back into Edit mode once the changes have been applied.

Click the Customize button

Now we have the ability to add content. 

Select Portlets from the list

I’m going to add the following Portlets to the page.

[Author’s Note: Clicking around has its advantages.  I discovered the useful IBM Redbooks Portlets.  I think I’m going to have to Rate this one…!  Shit.  I finally found a use for Rating!]

Click the Save button

[A mumbler who laughs at his own jokes.]

Click the Portlet Menu on the Frequent Users Portlet and select Tag this Portlet

Add the following tags Frequent Users semi-useless

Click Save

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