Portlet Development Guide

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This chapter introduces Oracle WebLogic Portal portlet concepts and describes the content of this guide.

This chapter includes the following sections:


Portlet Overview

Portlets are modular panes within a web browser that surface applications, information, and business processes. Portlets can contain anything from static HTML content to Java controls to complex web services and process-heavy applications. Portlets can communicate with each other and take part in Java page flows that use events to determine a user’s path through an application. A single portlet can also have multiple instances—in other words, it can appear on a variety of different pages within a single portal, or even across multiple portals if the portlet is enabled for Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP). You can customize portlets to meet the needs of specific users or groups.

Figure shows an example portal desktop with its associated portlets outlined in red.

Figure 1-1 Portal Desktop with Portlets

Portal Desktop with Portlets

WebLogic Portal supports the development of portlets through Workshop for WebLogic (Workshop for WebLogic), which is a client-based tool. You can develop portals without Workshop for WebLogic through coding in any tool of choice such as JBuilder, VI or Emacs; portlets can be written in Java or JSP, and can include JavaScript for client-side operations. However, to realize the full development-time productivity gains afforded to the WebLogic Portal customer, you should use Workshop for WebLogic as your portal and portlet development platform.

For a description of each type of portlet that you can build using WebLogic Portal, refer to Portlet Types.


Portlet Development and the Portal Life Cycle

The tasks in this guide are organized according to the portal life cycle, which includes best practices and sequences for creating and updating portals. For more information about the portal life cycle, refer to the Oracle WebLogic Portal Overview. The portal life cycle contains four phases: architecture, development, staging, and production. Figure 1-2 shows a sampling of portlet development tasks that occur at each phase.

Figure 1-2 Portlets and the Four Phases of the Portal Life Cycle

Portlets and the Four Phases of the Portal Life Cycle


During the architecture phase, you plan the configuration of your portal. For example, you can create a detailed specification outlining the requirements for your portal, the specific portlets you require, where those portlets will be hosted, and how they will communicate and interact with one another. You also consider the deployment strategy for your portal. Security architecture is another consideration that you must keep in mind at the portlet level.

The chapters describing tasks within the architecture phase include:


Developers use Workshop for WebLogic to create portlets, pages, and books. During development, you can implement data transfer and interportlet communication strategies.

In the development stage, careful attention to best practices is crucial. Wherever possible, this guide includes descriptions and instructions for adhering to these best practices.

The chapters describing tasks within the development phase include:


Oracle recommends that you deploy your portal, including portlets, to a staging environment, where it can be assembled and tested before going live. In the staging environment, you use the WebLogic Portal Administration Console to assemble and configure desktops. You also test your portal in a staging environment before propagating it to a live production system. In the testing aspect of the staging phase, there is tight iteration between staging and development until the application is ready to be released.

The chapters describing tasks within the staging phase include:


A production portal is live and available to end users. A portal in production can be modified by administrators using the WebLogic Portal Administration Console and by users using Visitor Tools. For instance, an administrator might add additional portlets to a portal or reorganize the contents of a portal.

The chapter describing tasks within the production phase is:


Getting Started

This section describes the basic prerequisites to using this guide and lists guides containing related information and topics.


In general, this guide assumes that you have performed the following prerequisite tasks before you attempt to use this guide to develop portlets:

Related Guides

Oracle recommends that you review the following guides:

Whenever possible, this guide includes cross references to material in related guides.

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