For information regarding troubleshooting OmniPortlet, see Section 33.5, "Troubleshooting OmniPortlet."
This chapter is intended for users who want to understand OmniPortlet and learn how to use its features. It introduces how to customize OmniPortlet at runtime and in Spaces, in addition to troubleshooting issues with OmniPortlet.
OmniPortlet is a subcomponent of Oracle WebCenter Framework that enables developers to easily publish data from various data sources using a variety of layouts without writing any code. You can base an OmniPortlet on almost any kind of data source, including Web services, SQL databases, spreadsheets (that is, files with character-separated values), XML, and even application data from existing Web pages.
Additionally, OmniPortlet enables developers to:
Sort the data to display
Format data using a variety of layouts, including a customized layout
Use portlet parameters
Expose personalizable settings to page viewers
To display personalized data, you can refine the results returned from a data source and parameterize the credential information used to access secure data. Out of the box, OmniPortlet provides the most common layout for portlets: tabular, chart, news, bulleted list, form, HTML, and parameter form.
Notes:For more information about developing different types of portlets and information about producers and other portlet technologies, see Oracle Fusion Middleware Developer's Guide for Oracle WebCenter.
For more information about adding an instance of OmniPortlet to a page, see Section 10.1.5, "Adding Portlets to a Page."
This section includes the following subsections:
The steps for adding an instance of OmniPortlet portlet to a page vary between a custom WebCenter application and the WebCenter Spaces application. For one thing, in a custom WebCenter application adding a portlet to a page is a design-time activity, carried out by the application developer. For information about adding OmniPortlet to a page in a custom WebCenter application, see the "Creating Portlets with OmniPortlet" chapter in the Oracle Fusion Middleware Developer's Guide for Oracle WebCenter.
In WebCenter Spaces, portlets are added to pages at runtime—when you run the application. Portlets are available for dragging and dropping from the Oracle Composer Catalog by any user with sufficient privileges. For information about adding a portlet to a page in WebCenter Spaces, see Section 10.1.5, "Adding Portlets to a Page."
Note:In WebCenter Spaces, avoid adding a portlet to a Movable Box layout component (For information, see Chapter 9, "Working with Page Layout Components"). The Movable Box layout component duplicates the
showDetailFramethat the portlet provides by default. Adding a portlet to a Movable Box creates an unnecessary and potentially error-prone redundancy.
When you add an instance of OmniPortlet to a page, access the portlet's Component Properties dialog and ensure that
RenderPortletInIFrame property is set to true. This displays the OmniPortlet in its own inline frame (IFRAME) in the View mode.
For information about the Component Properties dialog, see Section 33.4, "Setting OmniPortlet Properties."
The OmniPortlet wizard initially contains five steps:
Select a data source type.
Identify the data source.
Set filtering options.
Set view options.
Set layout options.
Once you complete these steps, you're done! If you want to change your initial values, you can reenter the wizard by selecting the Customize option from the portlet's Actions menu. Tabs representing the steps you took to set up OmniPortlet display. Although the data type cannot be changed, you can revise values on the Source, Filter, View, and Layout tabs.
Table 33-1 provides a high-level overview of the steps/tabs provided for configuring an OmniPortlet instance.
Provides your data source options. Displays only in the initial definition of the portlet, and is not available when customizing the portlet defaults. For more information, see Section 33.2.3, "Selecting the Data Source Type."
Provides options for configuring the data source connection, such as the URL of the Web Service you want to use. You can change these options later when editing the portlet defaults. For more information, see Section 33.2.4, "Identifying the Data Source."
Provides sorting options at the WebCenter application level to enable you to refine your results. You can change these options later when editing the portlet defaults. For more information, see Section 33.2.5, "Setting Filtering Options."
Provides options for displaying portlet header and footer text, the layout style, and caching. You can change these options later when editing the portlet defaults. For more information, see Section 33.2.6, "Setting View Options."
Provides detailed options for customizing the layout of content retrieved from the data source. You can change these options later when editing the portlet defaults. For more information, see Section 33.2.7, "Setting Layout Options."
Note:On the IBM Linux on Power platform, if the action buttons (Next, Previous, Finish, and Cancel) are minimized to dots when defining the OmniPortlet, increase the stack size shell limit to unlimited and restart the oc4j_portlet instance. Run the following command to set the stack size shell limit to unlimited:
prompt> ulimit -s unlimited.
The following sections provide more detail about the different steps/tabs in the OmniPortlet wizard.
When you first start OmniPortlet, the Type step displays (Figure 33-1).
Use the Type step to identify the type of data to display in your OmniPortlet instance. Table 33-2 lists and describes the data types that OmniPortlet supports out-of-the-box.
|Data Source Type||Description|
Displays data from a text file containing character-separated values (CSV).
Displays data from a database using SQL.
Displays data from an XML file.
Displays data from a discrete business service that can be accessed over the Internet using standard protocols.
Displays data based on existing Web content.
After you complete the OmniPortlet wizard, you cannot change the data source type.
Once you choose a data type, you're ready to identify a data source. The Source tab renders according to the data type you selected in step 1. That is, the options that display on the Source tab vary according to the selected data type.
Additionally, if the OmniPortlet producer has been configured to use a proxy server requiring authentication, the Source tab contains a Proxy Authentication section and a Connection section where you can provide the necessary information for connecting to the data source.
This section contains information about the settings common to all Source tabs, including settings specific to the selected data type. It contains the following subsections:
If the OmniPortlet producer was set up at design time to use proxy authentication that requires login credentials, then a Proxy Authentication section displays on the Source tab where you can enter this information.
OmniPortlet's support for proxy authentication includes support for global proxy authentication and authentication for each user, which means you can specify a login scenario for your OmniPortlet instance:
All users automatically log in using a user name and password you provide.
Each user logs in using an individual user name and password.
All users log in using the same specified user name and password.
The Proxy Authentication section displays only for the following data types, and only when the specific data source requires a proxy server for access:
CSV (character-separated values)
Notes:Configuring an OmniPortlet producer is a design-time activity applicable to custom applications (that is, those applications created with Oracle WebCenter Framework). For more information about configuring the OmniPortlet producer to use proxy authentication, see the Oracle WebCenter Framework online Help topic that displays when you click Help on the Edit Producers: OmniPortlet Producer page.
If the OmniPortlet producer is configured to require login for all users, then each user must set his or her own proxy login information at runtime as follows:
For page designers, set this on the Customize: Source tab.
For page viewers, set this on the Personalize page.
To access the Customize: Source tab, click the Customize link on the portlet's Actions menu. To access the Personalize page, click the Personalize link on the portlet's Actions menu.
If you are using the Web Page data source, then the Proxy Authentication section displays in the Web Clipping Studio when you click the Select Web Page button on the Source tab.
For more information about Web Clipping Studio, see Chapter 34, "Working with the Web Clipping Portlet."
For each data source—except the Web Page data source—the Source step contains a Connection section, where you can define connection information for accessing secured data. The Source step for all data sources includes a Portlet Parameters section, where you can define portlet parameters (Figure 33-2).
Note:You can use the format
##Param1##) for Username, Password, or Connection String. The Test button returns an error, however, even though the connection information is correct when parameter values are substituted.
Once you define the portlet parameters, you can map them to page parameters. For more information, see Section 33.3, "Working with OmniPortlet Parameters" and Chapter 11, "Wiring Pages, Task Flows, Portlets, and UI Components."
To edit the connection information, click the Edit Connection button to open the Connection Information page (Figure 33-3).
On the Connection Information page, you can enter a name for the connection information, and also the user name and password. For a SQL data source, you can also enter information to specify the driver you want to use to connect to the data source. For more information, see Section 18.104.22.168, "SQL."
Note:For more information about the Connection Information page, click Help on the Source tab of the OmniPortlet wizard.
Spreadsheets are a common method of storing small data sets. OmniPortlet enables you to share spreadsheets by supporting character-separated values (CSV) as a data source. Use the Source tab to specify the location of the CSV file (Figure 33-4).
If the file is located on a secure server, then you can specify the connection information in the Connection Information section illustrated in Figure 33-3. You can select the character set to use when WebCenter Suite reads the file, and also the delimiter and text qualifier.
Note:As the OmniPortlet producer exists and executes in a tier different from the WebCenter application and does not have access to the session information, you must expose CSV files as PUBLIC for OmniPortlet to be able to access them.
The relational database is the most common place to store data. OmniPortlet enables you to use standard JDBC drivers and provides out-of-the-box access to Oracle and any other JDBC database. You can specify the driver type when you configure the connection information.
Figure 33-5 shows the Source tab for a SQL data source.
You can use DataDirect JDBC drivers to access other relational databases. To do so, you must configure OmniPortlet to recognize the driver. This is a design-time activity, typically carried out by an application developer.
Notes:For information about configuring OmniPortlet to use DataDirect drivers, see Appendix E, "Additional Portlet Configuration" in the Oracle Fusion Middleware Developer's Guide for Oracle WebCenter.
For more information about DataDirect drivers, see the Certification Matrix for Oracle Application Server and DataDirect JDBC on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) at
Once the driver is installed, it displays on the Driver Name dropdown list on the Connection Information page (Figure 33-6).
When you enter a connection string for a DataDirect driver, keep in mind that you must enter a value in the Connection String field using the syntax:
host_name:port. The host_name is the name of the server where the database is running. The port is the database's listening port.
You can access XML data sources across an intranet or the Internet. On the Source tab, you can specify the URL of the XML file that contains your data (Figure 33-7).
Use the Test buttons next to the XML URL and the XSL Filter URL fields to validate your XML data source and the XSL filter.
The specified XML file can be in a tabular (ROWSET/ROW) structure, or you can provide an XML Style Sheet (XSL) that transforms data into the ROWSET/ROW structure. Example 33-1 provides an illustration of the ROWSET/ROW structure of an XML data source.
<TEAM> <EMPLOYEE> <DEPTNO>10</DEPTNO> <ENAME>KING</ENAME> <JOB>PRESIDENT</JOB> <SAL>5000</SAL> </EMPLOYEE> <DEPTNO>20</DEPTNO> <ENAME>SCOTT</ENAME> <JOB>ANALYST</JOB> <SAL>3000</SAL> <EMPLOYEE> </TEAM>
In Example 33-1, the
<TEAM> tags delineate the rowset, and the
<EMPLOYEE> tags delineate the rows.
Regardless of the format of the XML file, OmniPortlet automatically inspects the XML to determine the column names, which are then used to define the layout. If you want to specify this information yourself, then you can supply a URL to an XML schema that describes the data.
If the XML file is located on a secured server protected by HTTP Basic Authentication, you can specify connection information on the Connection Information page.
Note:Because the OmniPortlet producer exists and executes in a tier different from the WebCenter application and does not have access to the session information, you must expose XML files as PUBLIC in order for OmniPortlet to access them.
A Web Service is a discrete business service that can be programmatically accessed over the Internet using standard protocols, such as SOAP and HTTP. Web Services are specific to neither platform nor language and are typically registered with a Web Service broker. When you find a Web Service you want to use, you must obtain the URL to the Web Service Description Language (WSDL) file. The WSDL file describes the Web Service and specifies the methods that can be called, including the expected parameters. It also describes the returned data.
OmniPortlet supports both types of Web Services: Document and Remote Procedure Calls (RPC). After a WSDL document/file is supplied, it is parsed, and the available methods that can be called display on the Source tab.
Similar to the XML data source, OmniPortlet expects the Web Service data in ROWSET/ROW format, though you can also use an XSL file to transform the data. OmniPortlet inspects the WSDL document/file to determine the column names, though you may also specify an XML schema to describe the returned data set.
Figure 33-8 shows the Source tab for a sample Web service.
OmniPortlet enables you to use existing Web content as a data source. It integrates the Web Clipping portlet's Web Clipping Studio to provide a means of clipping and rendering Web content within the context of an OmniPortlet instance.
OmniPortlet's Web Page data source extends the scope offered by the Web Clipping portlet to include scraping functionality. Additional features include:
Fuzzy matching of clippings. If a Web clipping gets reordered within the source page or if its character font, size, or style changes, then it is still identified correctly by the Web page data source and delivered as the portlet content.
By default, all Web clipping definitions are stored persistently in Oracle Metadata Services (MDS). However, you can also use an Oracle database. Using MDS does not require any changes in the configuration files. If you use an Oracle database as the Web Clipping repository, then at design time you must update the
provider.xml file.Any secure information, such as passwords, is stored in encrypted form, according to the Data Encryption Standard (DES), using Oracle Database encryption technology.
Web Page is selected as the data type, the OmniPortlet wizard's Source tab (Figure 33-9) includes a Select Web Page button that kicks off Web Clipping Studio.
Within Web Clipping Studio, the Oracle Application Server Web Clipping online Help becomes available through the Help icon at the top of the page. You can use the Help to navigate your way through the process of sectioning and saving Web content.
Note:For more information about using the Web Clipping Studio or clipping content for a Web Clipping Portlet, see Chapter 34, "Working with the Web Clipping Portlet."
Once you've selected the data source and specified the data source options, you can further refine your data using OmniPortlet's filtering options. To use filtering efficiently, it is better to refine the data as much as possible at the data source level on the Source tab, then use the options on the Filter tab to streamline the data. For example, if you are using a SQL data source, then you could use a
WHERE clause to return only specific data from the specified columns. In this case, you could skip the Filter tab and continue to the wizard's View tab. However, if there are no filtering options at the data source level, then you can use the options on the Filter tab to sort your data (Figure 33-10).
Once you've specified and filtered the data, you're ready to choose view and layout options for your OmniPortlet. The View tab (Figure 33-11) provides options for adding header and footer text, enabling caching, and choosing a layout style that you can later refine on the Layout tab.
On the View tab, you can choose from the following layouts:
Note:For more information about the different layout styles you can use with OmniPortlet, see the next section or click Help in the OmniPortlet wizard.
The Layout tab enables you to further customize the appearance of your OmniPortlet. The options on the Layout tab change according to your selection on the View tab. For example, when you select Chart Layout options are provided for setting up chart hyperlinks. With chart hyperlinks, clicking a specific part of the chart triggers an event (for example, a jump to another URL).
For the other layout styles, you can define each column to display in a specific format, such as plain text, HTML, an image, a button, or a field. For example, suppose you selected a data source that includes a URL to an image. To see this image, you can select Image for the display of this column. Each column can also be mapped to an action, similar to the behavior of chart hyperlinks.
This section includes the following subsections that provide more detail about the layout options available on the OmniPortlet Layout tab:
Note:Because events are not currently supported, selecting an action when designing your layout may produce unexpected results.
Typically, you use tabular layout when you have one or more columns of data to display in a table. You can choose Plain to display all rows in the table without any background color, or Alternating to display a background color for every other row in the table (Figure 33-12).
Note:You can control the background color of a portlet using its style properties. Portlet style properties are exposed through the Properties panel in Oracle Composer. For more information, refer to Setting OmniPortlet Properties.
The Column Layout section provides options for selecting the data columns to display in the portlet and a display format. Additionally, you can associate a URL with a column to display column data as a hyperlink. You can also specify whether the secondary Web page displays in a new window. Figure 33-13 shows an example of an OmniPortlet using a tabular format.
Note:For more information about using the OmniPortlet wizard, click the Help link on the Layout tab.
Use the chart layout to display your data graphically, as a bar, pie, or line chart. The Layout tab (Figure 33-14) provides options for specifying the chart style to use (Chart Style) and the data source columns to display (Column Layout).
Under the Column Layout section, you can choose the data source columns to use in the chart (Group); the values to use in creating the chart legend (Category); and the relative size of the chart's bars, lines, or pie slices (Value).
Note:To group the information in the chart, you must group the information at the data level (for example, in your SQL query statement). Also, if numeric values in a data source contain formatted strings, commas, or currency (for example, $32,789.00), then they are considered to be text and ignored when the chart is generated. You should remove these formatting characters if you want them to be correctly read as numeric values.
You can also select whether the sections of the chart should point to a hyperlink, and whether the link target should display in a new window.
You can define chart hyperlinks so that each bar, pie section, or line links to another Web page. For example, you can place a pie chart and a report portlet on your page, then set up hyperlinks on the pie wedges. Users click a wedge to display a row in the report with detailed information about the wedge data.
Figure 33-15 displays an example of a pie chart. In this example, the Category value
DEPARTMENT is used as the chart legend.
Use the News layout to display links to articles and brief article descriptions. You can use the News layout to publish information in standard XML formats, such as Resource Description Framework (RDF) or RSS (Really Simple Syndication).
Use the Column Layout section (Figure 33-16) to add a heading that displays at the top of the portlet, a logo, or a scrolling layout that enables users to view all the information in the portlet as it moves vertically.
Note:The OmniPortlet News Layout Scroll type is supported on Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape 7.0.
The Layout tab also provides options for associating a URL with column data. Users click column data in the portlet to navigate to your specified target location.
Figure 33-17 shows an example OmniPortlet using a News layout.
Note:For more information about using the OmniPortlet wizard, click the Help link on the Layout tab.
Use the Bullet layout to display your data in a bulleted or numbered list. The Layout tab (Figure 33-18) provides a variety of different bullet and numbering styles.
In the Column Layout section, you can choose how the columns display in the portlet and associate a URL with column data.
Figure 33-19 shows an example of an OmniPortlet using a Bullet layout.
Note:For more information about using the OmniPortlet wizard, click the Help link in the Layout tab.
Use the Column Label column to enter row labels and the Column column to specify which column to use from your data source. Additionally, you can specify data alignment, select a display mode (text, HTML, image, button, field, or hidden), associate a URL or an event with the column data, and specify whether to open the URL target in a new window.
Figure 33-21 shows an example of an OmniPortlet using a Form layout.
Note:For more information about using the OmniPortlet wizard, click the Help link in the upper right corner of the Layout tab.
Use the HTML layout to create a customized look and feel for your OmniPortlet content. The Layout tab (Figure 33-22) provides a means of selecting a built-in HTML layout and modifying the code, or creating a new layout.
Note:The maximum number of characters you can enter in each of the sections (Heading, Repeating, and Footer) is 30,000 (30k).
Figure 33-23 shows an example of an OmniPortlet using the HTML layout.
Use the Parameter Form layout to create a customized parameter form for your OmniPortlet content. The Layout tab (Figure 33-22) provides a means of selecting a built-in parameter form layout and modifying the code, or creating a new layout.
You can hand-code your own parameter form based on data columns that OmniPortlet has retrieved from the selected data source. By coding your own parameter form, you have full control over the portlet's appearance, enabling you to develop a rich portlet interface. To do so, choose the Custom style option, then use the Custom HTML field to edit the parameter form (Figure 33-25).
For more information about using the fields on the Layout tab, click the Help button in the wizard.
After you have created your OmniPortlet and returned to your application, you can select the Customize option from the portlet's Actions menu to revise your original selections. When you revise a defined OmniPortlet, tabs correspond to the different steps originally presented in the OmniPortlet wizard. An exception to this is the Type step—you cannot change the originally selected data type, and so there is no corresponding Type tab.
When you revise an OmniPortlet using customize mode, keep in mind the following notes:
Any modifications you make to your portlet using customize mode apply to all users, regardless of the current session language and the locale of the user's browser.
You can personalize the portlet at runtime by clicking the Personalize link on the portlet or by selecting the Personalize option on the portlet's Action menu. Personalizing the portlet creates a copy of the personalization object. As all properties are duplicated, subsequently modifying the portlet through Customize mode does not affect the personalized version of the portlet. To ensure the latest customizations are made to the portlet, after you make modifications in Customize mode, you must click Personalize again, and then select the Reset to Defaults option.
The personalization of OmniPortlet is stored in a file-preference store. For more information about configuring OmniPortlet and modifying the preference store, see Appendix E, "Additional Portlet Configuration" in the Oracle Fusion Middleware Developer's Guide for Oracle WebCenter.
On the Source screen of the wizard when you define the OmniPortlet
On the Source tab when you select Customize for a defined OmniPortlet
Figure 33-26 shows the Portlet Parameters section on the Source tab.
If you select any of these portlet parameters to be personalizable (by selecting the Personalizable check box), you can set their values on the Personalize screen.
Note:You can learn more about portlet parameters in the online Help, which you can access by clicking the Help link on the Source tab in the OmniPortlet wizard. The online Help describes portlet parameters in detail, and how to set them up for your OmniPortlet.
Once you have set up portlet parameters in your OmniPortlet, you can contextually map the portlet to other portlets or components on a page. For more information about doing so, see Chapter 11, "Wiring Pages, Task Flows, Portlets, and UI Components."
OmniPortlet has associated properties that control the look and feel of the portlet on the page. Users with sufficient privileges can access these properties through the Component Properties dialog in Oracle Composer (Figure 33-27). Many component properties are common to all portlets, and the method for accessing properties is the same from portlet to portlet. Common component properties and how to access them are discussed in Section 10.4, "Setting Properties on Page Content."
The properties on the Parameters tab of the Component Properties dialog control the default portlet content and facilitate the wiring of the portlet to page parameters and page definition variables. These properties are unique to the portlet. For more information, see Section 10.4.3, "Working with Component Parameters." For information about wiring pages and components, see Chapter 11, "Wiring Pages, Task Flows, Portlets, and UI Components."
Changes to the properties on the Display Options, Style, and Content Style tabs affect the appearance and behavior of the portlet for all users. For more information, see Section 10.4.4, "Working with Component Display Options" and Section 10.4.7, "Working with Style and Content Style Properties."
All properties on the Parameters and Display Options tabs provide access to an Expression Language (EL) editor, which you can use to select or specify a variable value instead of a constant value. Click the Edit icon next to a property field to open the editor. For more information about using the editor and for descriptions of common EL expressions, see Section 10.4.5, "Using Expression Language (EL) Expressions with Component Properties."
Table 33-3 describes the properties that are unique to OmniPortlet.
Use to map page parameters to the parameters specified when the OmniPortlet was defined. These parameters enable you to contextually wire portlets and pages. For more information, see Chapter 11, "Wiring Pages, Task Flows, Portlets, and UI Components."
Display Options tab
Display Options tab
Placing a portlet inline on a page provides a better user experience as compared to placing it in an IFRAME. However, at times, it may be required to include a portlet in an IFRAME. For example:
Display Options tab
Display Options tab
You are not able to define the OmniPortlet at runtime by using the Customize link.
OmniPortlet only supports a
RenderPortletInIFrame value of
true, which means that OmniPortlet must be rendered within an IFRAME and therefore, the OmniPortlet property,
RenderPortletInIFrame, must be set to
true. At design time, the
RenderPortletInIFrame property is available in the Property Inspector under Display Options. At runtime, the RenderPortletInIFrame property is available on the Properties panel in Oracle Composer.
RenderPortletInIFrame property has a value of
false and, consequently, when you click the Define link at runtime, the Type tab may not display and you cannot proceed with defining the OmniPortlet.
You can choose Customize from the Action menu to define OmniPortlet, or, for custom WebCenter applications at design time, select the OmniPortlet in the Structure window in Oracle JDeveloper, and in the Property Inspector, set