Sunday, December 24, 2006

JSR-168 portlet and PeopleTools 8.46

Today I tried installing an open source JSR-168 portlet in our PeopleTools 8.46 development environment just to get a feel for how much work it takes to integrate a standards based portlet with PeopleSoft. I used the NotepadPortlet from the repo of free portlets:

First hurdle was that it required a CVS client so I had to download WinCVS which is a nice GUI frontend for CVSNT (but SVN still beats CVS hands down). Second hurdle was that I wasn't able to do "maven war" on the project to build because it failed to download some jar dependencies. I personally don't like Maven (much prefer plain old Ant) so I just fired up JDeveloper to build the war file. Both issues of course were due strictly to the project I was trying to use and had nothing to do with PeopleSoft, but does illustrate that there are still many different ways in which software is distributed and each can present its own challenges even before you start the real work.

The installation in our PIA environment running WebLogic 8.1 was pretty straightforward following the PeopleBooks steps and the delivered helloportletapp example. There are several xml files that need to be created/edited, so it's pretty old-school compared to most PeopleTools setup.

For now, I think my feeling is that writing JSR-168 portlets is probably best when developing a general utility application that you may at some point want to use in another portal project. The drawbacks I see currently to using portlets (besides the required knowledge of Java) are with database access and security. I'm still pretty fuzzy on the persistence mechanism that portlets use and how best to integrate security into portlet applications. It's kind of cool to be able to write a portlet and run it on any compliant portal container, but for now PeopleTools still offers the best RAD environment for developing applications.

Now to produce my newly added portlet using WSRP...

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