41 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.

This chapter includes the following sections:


To perform the tasks in this chapter, you must be either in the role of:
  • Portal Manager or be a portal member with Portals: Manage Security and Configuration permission


  • Delegated Manager or a member with Portals: Manage Configuration permission in the portal

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

41.1 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 41-1 shows which tools and services are provided out-of-the-box and those that require additional configuration:

Table 41-1 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, tags

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

Analytics, announcements*, discussions*, documents*, calendar events, instant messaging and presence, mail, search (using Oracle SES), worklists (using Oracle BPM Worklist)*

* A default connection is set up at install time.

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

If the necessary connections exist to make them available, Table 41-2 shows which tools and services are always available in a portal and those that need to be enabled by the portal manager:

Table 41-2 Enabling Tools and Services in a Portal

Individual Portals Tools and Services

Always enabled (if available)

Analytics, links, people connections, tags

Portal manager 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:

  • Analytics

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

  • Links

  • Lists

  • People Connections

  • 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 managers 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 managers can manually disable tools that are not required from the portal's administration settings.

See Enabling and Disabling Tools and Services Available to a Portal.

After enabling tools and services for a portal, the portal manager also must make sure that the portal members 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 About Roles and Permissions for a Portal.

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


For more information about the tools and services available in a portal, see Table 41-3.

41.1.1 Tools and Services Available in a Portal

Table 41-3 lists the tools and services available in a portal.

Table 41-3 Portal Tools and Services

Tools and Services Description For More Information

Activity Stream

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

Adding Activities to a Portal


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

Adding Analytics to a Portal


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

Adding Announcements to a Portal


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

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 Content Manager task flow. The documents tool also supports the wiki and blog functionality.

Enabling Document Management

Working with Workflow-Enabled Content

Enabling Wikis in a Portal

Enabling Blogs in 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.

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

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

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

Adding Messages and Feedback to a Portal


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

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

Adding Notifications to a Portal

People Connections

Provides the ability to establish a social network with business colleagues, allowing you to see their portal activity and contributions and them to see yours

Adding Connections 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

Adding Profiles to a Portal


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

Adding RSS Feeds to a Portal


Provides search functionality

(This includes integrating Oracle Secure Enterprise Search.)

Adding Search to a Portal


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

Adding Tagging to a Portal

41.2 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 About Tools and Services.

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

  1. In the portal administration (see Accessing Portal Administration), click Tools and Services in the left navigation pane (Figure 41-1).

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


    Figure 41-1 Tools and Services Page for a Portal

    Description of Figure 41-1 follows
    Description of "Figure 41-1 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 Managing Tools and Services 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 41-2 shows the Announcements tool as Enabled when the check box is selected.

    Figure 41-2 Announcements Tools and Services Page

    Description of Figure 41-2 follows
    Description of "Figure 41-2 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 manager.

  6. Grant appropriate permissions for each member role on the Roles page to allow portal members to access the enabled services.
  7. Make sure that portal members have access to the tools and services in any of the following ways: