This chapter helps you determine when to create a Community and when to create regular portal desktops. If you decide to create a Community, this chapter will assist you in deciding if you should create a GroupSpace Community or a custom Community.
This chapter includes the following sections:
Use the following table to determine if you need to develop a Community or if you should develop a portal desktop.
The Community framework provides Community context information so that you can determine if a user is a member of a certain Community and the role that the user has in the Community. Given these combinations, you can have different functionality available in the same portlet.
With regular portal desktops, you can control user access to resources as well. For example, you can use entitlements to control which books, pages, and portlets users see; and you can use the security API and JSP tags to control access to inline content based on security roles. However, assigning users to roles either involves heavy manual, centralized, and always-available portal management, or the development of role-assigning functionality that can be difficult to create and maintain.
Using the Community framework, you can define custom roles. These roles are defined in XML and are available within the Community management tools to target capabilities to roles.
The Community framework includes the ability to create a Community template that includes whatever resources (portlets) you want to include, and roles you define. This template can be used by non-technical end-users to create a new Community.
If you do not need any of those Community-specific features, create regular portal desktops. See the Portal Development Guide.
If you determined in the previous section that you want to create Communities, you must decide which type of Community to create: a GroupSpace Community or a custom Community.
GroupSpace is a predefined Community application included with WebLogic Portal. GroupSpace contains functionality and tools designed to support a team or project management Community. GroupSpace is built on the Community framework and is an excellent example of a custom Community targeted at the business activity of a team or project collaboration. GroupSpace’s features are described in more detail in the GroupSpace Guide.
Custom Communities require a full application development effort.
You can create a fully functional GroupSpace Community in minutes, and basic modifications to the default GroupSpace template are not difficult. GroupSpace includes the following portlets: Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Discussion Forums, GS Announcements, GS Issues, GS GroupNotes, GS Links, GS RSS Reader, GS Document Library, CM Browser, GS Enterprise Search, GS Search.
|Note:||The Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Discussion Forums portlets are also available for use in custom Communities. However, all portlets that begin with GS work only in GroupSpace.|
GroupSpace also includes its own registration and invitation functionality, and it triggers a predefined set of events as users interact with it. GroupSpace counts the number of times each of these events occurs.
You can make basic modifications to GroupSpace, such as removing or rearranging portlets and pages and changing the default e-mail that is sent to invite users to join the Community. You can also add your own portlets to GroupSpace, add remote books, pages, and portlets using Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP), and use core WebLogic Portal features such as interaction management and interportlet communication in your custom portlets.
The source code for GroupSpace’s page flows is not public, so you cannot modify any of GroupSpace’s existing application functionality. For example, you cannot insert events into or modify the registration flow, and you cannot substitute your own notification mechanism for alerting users when events occur or when announcements are made.
In developing a custom Community, you must develop Community functionality from the ground up: invitation and notification mechanisms, registration, content management configuration, error handling, and application functionality (which includes controlling application behavior based on the security capabilities you define; for example, letting Contributors create content and Viewers only view content).
WebLogic Portal provides a set of Community management tools, which are included in the visitor tools, that let Community administrators create Communities, modify Community properties, configure security rights, and assign security rights to Community members, and let Community members view the Communities to which they belong.
WebLogic Portal also provides a predefined set of collaboration portlets for calendar, mail, tasks, discussion forums, and storing contacts. Inside a Community, the Calendar, Address Book, and Tasks portlets automatically provide Personal and Community tabs for creating items that only that user can see and items that the entire Community can see.