39 Introduction to Portal Tools and Services

This chapter provides an overview of the tools and services available in WebCenter Portal, and how to enable or disable tools in a portal. These tasks are performed by a portal moderator. However, working with tools and services at the application level is a system administrator task, as described in the "Managing Tools and Services" chapter in Administering Oracle WebCenter Portal.

This chapter includes the following topics:


To perform the tasks in this chapter, you need the portal-level permission Manage Security and Configuration or Manage Configuration. A portal moderator has this permission by default.

For more information about permissions, see Section 29.1, "About Roles and Permissions for a Portal."

39.1 About Tools and Services

WebCenter Portal offers tools and services that allow portal members to collaborate and communicate. If WebCenter Portal is installed and configured correctly and your system administrator has set up valid connections to the required external back-end servers, tools and services are available for use in a portal.

Table 39-1 shows which tools and services are provided out-of-the-box and those that require additional configuration:

Table 39-1 Availability of Tools and Services in WebCenter Portal

WebCenter Portal (All Portals) Tools and Services

Automatically available out-of-the-box

Portal events, links, lists, search, people connections, polls, tags

Only available when a valid connection exists to a back-end server or database

Activity graph, analytics, announcements*, discussions*, documents*, calendar events, instant messaging and presence, mail, search (using Oracle SES), worklists*

* A default connection is set up at install time.

The back-end configurations are done by the system administrator through Fusion Middleware Control or by using the WLST command-line tool, as described in the "Managing Tools and Services" chapter in Administering Oracle WebCenter Portal.

If the necessary connections exist to make them available, Table 39-2 shows which tools and services are always available in a portal and those that need to be enabled by the portal moderator:

Table 39-2 Enabling Tools and Services in a Portal

Individual Portals Tools and Services

Always enabled (if available)

Activity graph, analytics, links, people connections, polls, tags

Portal moderator can enable/disable (if available)

Announcements, discussions, events, lists, documents

When a back-end server is not configured, a portal cannot consume the features or functionality related to the tool or service:

  • Associated task flows are not available in the resource catalog.

  • Existing task flows display a message indicating that the tool or service is unavailable.

  • Tool or service is listed as unavailable on the Tools and Services page in the portal's administration settings.

The following tools and services require a connection to a database schema where relevant information (such as relationship mapping) is stored:

  • Activity Graph

  • Analytics

  • Documents (for documents, wikis, and blogs that want to include comments, and Activity Stream)

  • Links

  • Lists

  • People Connections

  • Polls

  • Tags

It is the portal template that is used to create a portal that defines whether tools are initially enabled or disabled in the portal:


Mail is enabled upon portal creation, and, if it is configured by the system administrator, then it cannot be disabled for individual portals.
  • If a tool is disabled in the portal template, portal moderators can manually enable the tool from the portal's administration settings to make it available for use in the portal.

  • If a tool is enabled in the portal template, portal moderators can manually disable tools that are not required from the portal's administration settings.

See Section 39.2, "Enabling and Disabling Tools and Services Available to a Portal."

After enabling tools and services for a portal, the moderator also must make sure that the portal participants have the required permissions to work with some of these tools, such as announcements, discussions, lists, and so on. For more information about portal-level permissions, see Section 29.1, "About Roles and Permissions for a Portal."

The moderator must also make sure that portal participants can access tools and services in the following ways:

Table 39-3 lists the tools and services available in a portal.

Table 39-3 Portal Tools and Services

Tools and Services Description For More Information

Activity Graph

Recommends people, portals, and content that a user may be interested in connecting with, based on existing connections and shared interaction with objects in the portal

Chapter 40, "Adding Activity Graphs and Recommendations to a Portal"

Activity Stream

Provides a streaming view of the activities of your connections, actions taken in portals, and business activities

Chapter 41, "Adding Activities to a Portal"


Enables you to display usage and performance metrics for your portal application

Chapter 42, "Adding Analytics to a Portal"


Provides the ability to post announcements about important activities and events to all authenticated users

Chapter 43, "Adding Announcements to a Portal"


Provides the ability to create threaded discussions, posting and responding to questions and searching for answers

Chapter 46, "Adding Discussion Forums to a Portal"


Provides content management and storage capabilities, including file upload, file and folder creation and management, file check out, versioning, and so on. Exposes these capabilities through the Documents tool console or task flows such as Document Explorer, Document List Viewer, and Document Manager. Provides components that display an individual file on a page as a linked document, an inline preview, or an image. The documents tool also supports wiki and blog functionality.

Chapter 34, "Working with Document Task Flows and Document Components"

Chapter 35, "Setting Document Task Flow and Document Component Properties"

Chapter 36, "Working with Workflow-Enabled Content"

Chapter 37, "Adding a Wiki to a Portal."

Chapter 38, "Adding a Blog to a Portal."


Provides the ability to create and maintain a schedule of events relevant to a wider group of authenticated users. Also provides access to your personal events from your Outlook calendar if the Exchange server is configured.

Chapter 44, "Adding a Calendar and Events to a Portal"

Instant Messaging and Presence (IMP)

Provides the ability to observe the status of other authenticated users (online, offline, busy, or away) and to contact them instantly

"Using Instant Messaging and Presence Viewer" in Using Oracle WebCenter Portal


Provides the ability to view, access, and associate related information; for example, you can link to a document from a discussion

"Linking Information in WebCenter Portal" in Using Oracle WebCenter Portal


Provides the ability to create, publish, and manage lists

Chapter 47, "Adding Lists of Information to a Portal"


Provides easy integration with IMAP and SMTP mail servers to enable users to perform mail functions, such as reading messages, creating messages with attachments, replying to or forwarding messages, and deleting messages

Chapter 48, "Adding Mail to a Portal"

Messages and Feedback

Provides the ability to post messages, attachments, and feedback for your connections and to the Activity Stream

Chapter 49, "Adding Messages and Feedback to a Portal"


Provides the ability to "jot down" and retain bits of personally relevant information.

Notes is not available in Portal Framework applications.

Chapter 51, "Adding Personal Notes to a Portal"


Provides a means of subscribing to services and application objects and, when those objects change, receiving notification across one or more messaging channels

Chapter 50, "Adding Notifications to a Portal"

People Connections

Provides the ability to manage personal profiles, access the profiles of other users, provide ad hoc feedback, post messages, track activities, and connect with others.

Chapter 45, "Adding Connections to a Portal"


Enables you to survey your audience (such as their opinions and their experience level), check whether they can recall important information, and gather feedback

Chapter 52, "Adding Polls to a Portal"


Provides views of users' contact information (such as email address, business address, phone number), department, manager, photo, portal activities, public documents, and connections

Chapter 53, "Adding Profiles to a Portal"

Recent Activities

Provides a summary view of recent changes to documents, discussions, and announcements

Chapter 41, "Adding Activities to a Portal"


Provides the ability to access the content of many different web sites from a single location—a news reader

Chapter 54, "Adding RSS Feeds to a Portal"


Provides search functionality

(This includes integrating Oracle Secure Enterprise Search.)

Chapter 55, "Adding Search to a Portal"


Provides the ability to assign one or more personally-relevant keywords to a given page or document

Chapter 56, "Adding Tagging to a Portal"


Provides a personal view of business processes that require attention

Chapter 57, "Adding Worklists to a Portal"

39.2 Enabling and Disabling Tools and Services Available to a Portal

For an understanding of how tools and services are made available for use in a portal, see Section 39.1, "About Tools and Services."

To enable or disable a tool or service in your portal:

  1. In the portal administration (see Section 7.1, "Accessing Portal Administration"), click Tools and Services in the left navigation pane (Figure 39-1).

    You can also enter the following URL in your browser to navigate directly to the Tools and Services page:


    Figure 39-1 Tools and Services Page for a Portal

    Description of Figure 39-1 follows
    Description of ''Figure 39-1 Tools and Services Page for a Portal''

  2. To enable a tool you want to use in the portal, select the check box next to it.


    If the back-end server is not configured by your system administrator and an active connection is not present between the application and WebCenter Portal, the tool or service will not be available in the portal. See the "Managing Tools and Services" chapter in Administering Oracle WebCenter Portal.
  3. Click OK to dismiss the warning about giving users the appropriate permissions to work with a tool.

    Notice that Disabled updates to Enabled next to the tool and the configuration fields for that tool or service appear. For example, Figure 39-2 shows the Announcements tool as Enabled when the check box is selected.

    Figure 39-2 Announcements Tools and Services Page

    Description of Figure 39-2 follows
    Description of ''Figure 39-2 Announcements Tools and Services Page''

  4. Optionally, perform some additional configuration for some of the tools and services.

  5. To disable a tool, deselect the check box next to the appropriate tool.

    Notice that Enabled reverts to Disabled.


    Unlike the other tools and services, if Mail is configured by the system administrator, the Mail service cannot be disabled by the portal moderator.
  6. Grant appropriate permissions for each member role on the Roles page to allow portal members to access the enabled services.

    See Section 29.3, "Viewing and Editing Permissions of a Portal Role."

  7. Make sure that portal participants have access to the tools and services in any of the following ways: