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Oracle® Fusion Middleware Production Operations Guide for Oracle WebLogic Portal
10g Release 3 (10.3.5)

Part Number E14245-04
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1 Introduction

The life cycle of a Oracle WebLogic Portal application requires careful planning and management. During its lifetime, a typical portal moves back and forth between development, staging, and production environments. The process of configuring and managing these environments, and of moving portals between them, is called production operations.

This chapter includes the following topics:

1.1 What Is Production Operations?

Production operations encompasses the tools, procedures, methodologies, and best practices that allow you to manage the portal life cycle, including portal development, staging, and production environments. As Figure 1-1 shows, portals are typically developed in a team development environment by developers using Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse (OEPE). Portal components are then moved to a staging environment, where portal administrators use the WebLogic Portal Administration Console to create desktops, add entitlements, set up content repositories, and perform testing. The production environment is the live environment, where users access and interact with portal applications. The arrows between environments indicate that you can move portals and portal resources back and forth between each of these environments using propagation features provided with WebLogic Portal.

Figure 1-1 Typical WebLogic Portal Environments

Description of Figure 1-1 follows
Description of "Figure 1-1 Typical WebLogic Portal Environments"

Like considering the architecture of a network or a software system, you should also consider and carefully plan how you will address production operations for your portal system. It is important to consider your particular portal system configuration, how your development team is organized, how you will test and configure portals, how your server is configured, and how you will plan to manage the life cycle of your portal applications. This guide describes the specific methodologies, tools, and best practices to help you achieve the goal of creating solid, manageable environments for portal development, staging, and production.

1.2 Overview of Production Operations

This section offers a brief introduction to the major components of production operations:

1.2.1 Setting Up a Team Development Environment

Team development of a WebLogic Portal revolves around good source control. Proper use of a source control management system has many benefits, such as close integration between team members, the ability to quickly scale the size of a development team, and protection against data loss.

Chapter 2, "Managing a Team Development Environment" shows you how to configure, store, and manage a common development domain, database data, and portal applications in source control, letting you quickly and consistently develop, build, and update your portal applications.

1.2.2 Configuring the Portal Cluster

By clustering a portal application, you can attain high availability and scalability for that application. Chapter 3, "Configuring a Portal Cluster," discusses how to choose a cluster architecture (single versus multi-cluster) and configure the clustered domain.

1.2.3 Building and Deploying the EAR File

Deployment refers to building an Enterprise archive file (EAR) and deploying it to a destination server. Chapter 4, "Deploying Portal Applications," describes how to prepare a portal application's deployment plans and deploy the EAR file.

1.2.4 Propagating a Portal Application

Propagation refers to the process of moving the database and LDAP contents of one portal domain environment to another. During the typical portal life cycle, portals are moved between the following environments:

  • Development – In the development phase, developers use Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse to create portals and portal components, such as portlets.

  • Staging – In a staging environment, administrators use the Administration Console to build and configure portal desktops, create entitlements, and create content repositories.

  • Production – A production, or live, environment can be modified by administrators using the Administration Console and customized by users using Visitor Tools.

Oracle provides tools to help with portal propagation. These tools not only move database assets and LDAP information, but they also report differences and potential conflicts between the source and the target environments. You can define policies to automatically resolve conflicts, or an administrator can view a list of differences and decide the appropriate actions to take on a case-by-case basis. These tools are described in detail in this guide, and they include:

This guide also helps you through the process of planning a strategy for propagation and provides detailed information on the best practices. See the following chapters for more information:

1.2.5 Performing Round-Trip Development

Round-trip development refers to moving portal assets back and forth between a Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse-based development environment and a staging environment where portal assets are assembled with the WebLogic Portal Administration Console and stored in a database. The Export/Import Utility lets you export portal assets from a database to .portal, .page, and .book files that can be loaded into Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse. The utility also lets you import .portal, .book, and .page files into a database, as shown in Figure 1-2.

Figure 1-2 The Export/Import Utility Allows Round-Trip Development

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Description of "Figure 1-2 The Export/Import Utility Allows Round-Trip Development"


The Export/Import Utility is also known as the Xip tool (pronounced "zip"). Typically, developers use this utility to move assets back and forth between a development and a staging environment.

In addition, the Export/Import Utility allows you to:

  • Merge .portal files into a database

  • Specify rules to determine how objects are merged

  • Specify scoping rules

The Export/Import Utility is described in Chapter 11, "Using the Export/Import Utility."

1.3 Getting Started

This section contains the following topics:

1.3.1 Using this Guide

The first part of this guide includes topics of interest to managers, developers, and administrators. This part includes information on setting up a team development environment, deploying an EAR file, and configuring a portal cluster.

The second part includes information on propagating portals between staging and production environments, and round-trip development. In addition, this part includes details on script-based propagation.

1.3.2 Related Guides

For an in-depth discussion of the WebLogic Portal life cycle, see Oracle Fusion Middleware Overview for Oracle WebLogic Portal.