ALI G6 on Ubuntu?

Some of you may be familiar with my rants on the bdg blog about how Linux just isn’t ready for the desktop. My opinion on that matter has largely changed with the release of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake), which I have been running with minimal hassle on my newish Gateway MP6954 laptop since last summer. It has a tasty coffee-colored UI (mmm), it NEVER crashes, it basically takes care of itself with updates and has equivalent — or better — software for pretty much everything you’d ever want to do with Windows or OSX at a great price: free.

Of course ALUI is only officially supported on two Linux plaforms: RHEL and Suse. But Linux is Linux, right? Well, sort of. I had all sorts of “fun” getting ALUI running on Oracle on Fedora. However, with Ubuntu, getting Oracle and ALUI up was a breeze.

First off, unless you call yourself a DBA, you don’t want to mess around with a full-blown Oracle instance. Instead, just follow these easy steps to install something called Oracle XE. It has certain limitations — the most important of which is that you can’t create more than one database.

My first — and really my only — mistake during this setup process came next (and it’s related to this one-database issue). I tried to drop the XE default database (ORACLE_SID=XE) and run the crdb1_oracle_unix.sql script to create the PLUM10 database. This was a bad idea. I poked around on Google a bit and then thought, well, I don’t really need my own database. (Had I had this epiphany before starting down that path, I could have saved two hours and had ALUI up and running on Ubuntu in fewer than 30 minutes.) So, instead of running crdb1_oracle_unix.sql, just edit create_tables_oracle.sql and remove any reference to PLUMINDEX, then run the following commands on the XE database:

$sqlplus sys as sysdba
SQL>create user plumtree identified by password
SQL>grant connect, resource, create view to plumtree

This creates the plumtree user on the XE database, which gives ALUI its own schema, which, for our purposes, is just as good as having your own DB. Now you can basically just run the out-of-the-box scripts (keeping in mind the changes I made to create_tables_oracle.sql):

$sqlplus plumtree/password@XE
SQL>@create_tables_oracle.sql
SQL>@load_seed_info_oracle.sql
SQL>@stored_procs_oracle.sql
SQL>@postinst_oracle.sql

At this point, ALUI was ready to rock. I only ran into one small snag. One of the native search libraries complained about a missing LD_LIBRARY_PATH dependency on libstdc++. This was not a showstopper. I did the following:

$ln -s /usr/lib/libstdc++.so.6.0.7 /usr/lib/libstdc++-libc6.1-1.so.2

From there I configured the bundled tomcat to host the portal and the imageserver and viola, ALUI 6.0SP1, in all its glory, was up and running on Ubuntu. (BTW, I would have used ALUI 6.1.0.1, but when I wrote this article, the RHEL and Suse versions weren’t available yet.)

Comments

Comments are listed in date ascending order (oldest first)

  • I’ve also successfully installed ALUI 6.1.1 (6.1MP1) on Ubuntu 7.04 (Server). Required one workaround for the LAX installer shared libraries problem (can’t find libc.so.6 etc):
    $cp AquaLogicInteraction_v6-1_MP1 AquaLogicInteraction_v6-1_MP1.bak
    $cat AquaLogicInteraction_v6-1_MP1.bak | sed "s/export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL/#xport LD_ASSUME_KERNEL/" > AquaLogicInteraction_v6-1_MP1

    Posted by: rdouglas on May 7, 2007 at 10:45 AM

  • hey Chris, appreciate the post! just wanted to give the hint that to change the plumindex on the create_tables script, you can do this in vi: :1,$s/PLUMINDEX/USERS/g

    Posted by: jbell on June 2, 2007 at 8:57 PM

  • Chris, nice post…I referenced this post while trying to get the new ALUI 6.1 quickstart installer to correctly intall the portal on windows xp. I’ve tried the installer on several xp machines but it is still failing…i think the error has to do with the way the installer is setting up the paths/environmental variables – when i run the diagnostics tool i get an invalid entry point…my paths look correct and i’ve tried re-installing multiple times on multiple machines…any ideas? Thanks.

    Posted by: phil- on September 10, 2007 at 8:41 AM

  • Well, after some troubleshooting I figured it out…here is the solution…I hope this is helpful to someone in the future…I needed to rename the icuuc30.dll in C:WINXPsystem32 to icuuc30_from_system32.dll and paste the icuuc30.dll from C:beaaluicommoninxight3.7.6binnative into the C:WINXPsystem32 directory before the installation would work.

    I did try just moving the INXIGHT_PATH variable so that it is loaded on the PATH before the C:WINXPsystem32 but the error still occured. BTW – icuuc30.dll is a component for Unicode version 3.0

    Posted by: phil- on September 12, 2007 at 11:47 AM

  • Thank you so much for this post, I had the same problem on XP. I’m just curious, how were you able to debug this problem? What pointed you to icuuc30.dll?

    Posted by: fhkoetje on December 4, 2007 at 9:31 AM

Say hello world to comet

A couple of weekends ago I inflicted upon myself a quest to discover what all the buzz was about regarding Comet. What I discovered is that there is quite a bit of code out there to help you get started but the documentation around that code, and about Comet in general, is severely lacking. All I really wanted to find was a Comet-based Hello World, which as any developer knows, is the cornerstone of any programming language or methodology.

Since I couldn’t find one on Google, I ascertained that no Hello World exists for Comet and therefore I took it upon myself to write one.

For those of you who are new to Comet, the first thing you should do is read Alex Russell’s seminal blog post on the topic. At its core, Comet is really just a message bus for browser clients. In one browser, you can subscribe to a message and in another you can publish a message. When a message gets published, every browser that’s subscribed (almost) instantaneously receives it.

What? I thought clients (browsers) had to initiate communication per the HTTP spec. How does this work?

Under the covers, Comet implementations use a little-known feature of some web server implementations called continuations (or hanging gets). I won’t go into details here, but at a high level, a continuation initiates from the browser (as all HTTP requests must do) and then, when it’s received by the server, the thread handling it basically goes to sleep until it gets a message or times out. When it times out, it wakes up and sends a response back to the browser asking for a new request. When the thread on the server receives a message, it wakes up and sends the message payload sent back to the browser (which also implies that it’s time to send a new request). Via this mechanism, HTTP is more or less “inverted” so that the server is essentially messaging the client instead of vice-versa.

A few questions immediately pop into mind, so let’s just deal with them right now:

Why is this better than Ajax alone?

It boils down to latency and users’ tolerance for it. In the worst case, traditional web applications force entire page refreshes. Ajax applications are a little better, because they can refresh smaller parts of a page in response to users’ actions, but the upshot is that the users are still waiting for responses, right? A Comet-driven application has essentially removed the user from the picture. Instead of the user asking for fresh data, the server just sends it along as soon as it changes, given the application more of a “realtime” feel and removing virtually all perceived latency.

So are we back to client server again?

Sort of. Comet gives you the benefit of server-to-client messaging without the deployment issues associated with fat clients.

Can’t applets do this?

Of course they can. But who wants to download an applet when some lightweight Javascript will do the trick?

Why the name Comet?

Well, clearly it’s a pun on Ajax. But it’s not the only name for this sort of technology. There’s something out there called pushlets which claims to do the same thing as Comet, but which didn’t seem to catch on, I guess.

Back to the whole point of this post: my hello world. I pieced this example together using dojo.io.cometd and a recent version of Tomcat that into which I dropped the relevant parts of Jetty to provide support for continuations.

It’s finally time to say “hello world” to my hello world.

First off, download one of the more recent dojo builds that contains support for dojo.io.cometd. Drop dojo.js on your Java-based web/application server. (I used Tomcat, but you can use JBoss, Jetty, Weblogic, Websphere or any other web server with support for servlets.) Add this page in the root of your application:

<script src="js/dojo.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">//<![CDATA[
  dojo.require("dojo.io.cometd");
  cometd.init({}, "cometd");
  cometd.subscribe("/hello/world", false, "publishHandler");
  publishHandler = function(msg) { alert(msg.data.test); }
// ]]></script>
<input type="button" value="Click Me!" />

Without a cometd-enabled web server behind it, the above page does absolutely nothing.

So, to make this work, I needed to find a Java-based web/application server with support for continuations. I’m sure there are many ways to skin this cat, but I picked Jetty. You can get Jetty source and binaries if you’d like to follow along. Since all of our customers who embrace open source are lightyears more comfortable with Tomcat than they are with any other open source web/application server (ahem . . . Jetty), I decided to embed Jetty in Tomcat rather than run everything on Jetty alone. It’s all just Java, right?

Here I ran into a few snags. The maven build file for Jetty didn’t work for me, so I dropped everything in org.mortbay.cometd and org.mortbay.cometd.filter into my Eclipse project and just integrated it with the ant build.xml I was already using to build my web application. Here’s the relevant portion of my build.xml:

<javac srcdir="${srcdir}" destdir="${classdir}" debug="true" debuglevel="lines,vars,source">
<classpath>
<pathelement location="${jetty.home}/lib/jetty-util-6.0.1.jar"/>
<pathelement location="${jetty.home}/lib/servlet-api-2.5-6.0.1.jar"/>
</classpath>
</javac>

Once Jetty was essentially hacked into Tomcat, the rest was smooth sailing. I just wrote a JSP that dropped a “goodbye world” message onto the same old queue that I used in the last example, but I did so using server-side code. Here’s the JSP:

<%@page import="org.mortbay.cometd.*"%>
<%@page import="java.util.*"%>
<%
Bayeux b = (Bayeux)getServletContext().getAttribute(CometdServlet.ORG_MORTBAY_BAYEUX);
Channel c = b.getChannel("/hello/world");
Map message = new HashMap();
message.put("test", "goodbye world");
c.publish(message, b.newClient());
%>

This page does not produce any output of its own; rather, it just drops the “goodbye world” message on the queue. When you hit this page in a browser, any other browser listening to the /hello/world queue will get the message. The above JSP, along with the dojo page you created in the first step, should be enough to wire together two different flavors of Comet messaging: browser to server to browser and just plain old server to browser.

I’m curious 1) if this was helpful and 2) if you’d like to share what you’re doing with Comet with me (and please don’t say cleaning your kitchen).

How to Integrate PKI Certs or CAC Cards with ALI

In his 1947 speech to the House of Commons, Winston Churchill quipped, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried.”

I’m not nearly as pithy as Sir Winston (nor as portly — at least not yet), but yet I feel the same way about passwords being used to protect web sites or other enterprise systems. In many ways, they’re the worst form of security out there except for everything else that’s been tried. Part of this has something to do with what I’ve coined Bucchere’s Axiom of Strong Passwords, which is a derivative of Murphy’s Law (which states that whatever can go wrong will). It goes something like this: the stronger a password is, the easier it is to hack. Why? Because if you force users into using a strong password, they’re more likely to write it down. And writing a password down defeats its purpose entirely.

The bottom line: passwords suck. But they’ve become the de-facto standard because they’re easier and cheaper than everything else we’ve tried, including PKI certs, biometrics (e.g. fingerprints, retina-scans), CAC cards, RSA secure IDs, etc. (Even for a cert-based authentication scheme, you still need a key to generate your cert, which is essentially just a glorified password.)

Just because passwords are the de-facto standard for authentication does not mean that we should quit trying to use other, ostensibly better forms of security, especially if 1) you’re protecting particularly sensitive data, 2) you’re open to the internet and 3) you have the resources (e.g. $$$) to invest in more robust forms of security. And I’m not talking about just buying an SSL cert from Verisign and continuing to have your users write down their passwords on post-it notes attached to their monitors. (Note to self: remove the post it note on your monitor with your password on it when you get back to the office.) I’m talking about using some sort of “soft” cert (e.g. PKI) or “hard” cert (e.g. CAC) to protect your system and your data.

Now if your system is ALI (formerly known as Plumtree Foundation or Plumtree Portal), you’re in luck, because the eggheads at what was once known as Plumtree have made this particularly easy to do. In fact, the hardest part is just getting the user’s identity out of the cert (see below the code snippet for some suggestions). Once you’ve done that, just drop a class into a jar that implements the ISSOProvider interface. (For those of you running on Windows, please don’t ask me to “port” this to C# — just take the Java code, drop it into Visual Studio.NET and then fix the syntax errors.)

But wait, SSO stands for “Single Sign On,” right? And what you’re really doing here is passing credentials from a cert to Plumtree and that has little or nothing to do with SSO. That’s a true statement. The subtlety here is that ISSOProvider, while it contains the letters SSO in its name, can be used for pretty much any form of authentication, whether you are using an SSO product or not.

CertIntegration.java

package com.bdgportal.alui.auth;

import com.plumtree.openfoundation.util.*;
import com.plumtree.openfoundation.web.*;
import com.plumtree.portaluiinfrastructure.sso.*;

public class CertIntegration implements ISSOIntegration {
 
   private XPHashtable settings;
 
   public CertIntegration() {
     ;
   }
 
   public boolean Initialize(XPHashtable settings) {
     this.settings = settings;       
     //String exampleSetting = ((XPArrayList)settings.GetElement("SettingName")).GetElement(0);
   }

   public String GetSSOProductName() {
     return "My Favorite Cert Integration";
   }

   /**
    * Gets the username from the cert and returns it to Plumtree. This will fail if the username
    * does not have a matching account in Plumtree. This can be a Plumtree database user or a user
    * imported from an authentication source, in which case you need to include the auth source
    * prefix in the username, e.g. "MyAuthSource/cbucchere"
    *
    * @param request The wrapped HttpServletRequest from the web container.
    * @return The object passed back to Plumtree for authentication with the portal.
    */
   public SSOLoginInfo GetLoginInfo(IXPRequest request) {
     String userName = ((XPRequest)request).GetUnderlyingObject().getUserPrincipal().getName();
     return new SSOLoginInfo(userName);
   }

   public String[] GetSecureCookies() {
     return null;
   }

   public String[] GetSecureHeaders() {
     return null;
   }

   public boolean OnLogout(IXPResponse response, String returnURI) {
     return false;
   }   
}

The hardest part about all this, as I said above, is getting the user name out of the PLI cert/CAC card/retina scan/etc. In the example above, I made MANY assumptions. First, I assumed that your portal is running on Weblogic, which understands and correctly implements Principal, which is a Java Servlet’s way of knowing who’s using it. Weblogic lets you plug custom implementations of the Principal class into its security infrastructure. All you need to do is extend java.security.Principal and then walk through a bunch of magical configuration steps to enable it.

Speaking of magical configuration, I neglected to mention that there are two small configuration steps that you need to perform in order to get your shiny new ISSOIntegration working in ALI. In portalconfig.xml, you need to set the value of SSOVendor setting to 100 (or greater) and then set the CustomSSOClass to the fully qualified name of the class you wrote that implements ISSOIntegration. For our Java example above, that would be com.bdgportal.alui.auth.CertIntegration and for .NET, it would the the name of your C# class.

Speaking of .NET . . . as many of you know, it is an entirely different animal with its own way of provisioning security to web applications (e.g. System.Web.Security).

Regardless of your platform, you need to get the user name out of whatever authentication method you’re using. Once you’ve accomplished that, just drop the code above into your project and replace the getUserPricipal().getName() with whatever mechanism you can find for getting your users’ names.

Assuming you trust your authentication mechanism to return the appropriate user name, you’ll have users getting logged into the portal via pretty much however you would like — CAC, PKI, biometrics, etc.

If only implementing a democracy were this easy . . . .

Comments

Comments are listed in date ascending order (oldest first)

  • This is wonderful article. How ever I’ve researched for a long time but still can not figure out what to do with Bea Weblogic to use Costom Identify Assertion. I wish this artical to have link to the document of how to “do the magical configuration steps”.

    Posted by: minh.tran on January 9, 2007 at 9:04 AM

  • This article was intended to be application server independent, but if you’re using BEA WebLogic, there’s a great article on how to set up custom identity providers which should work with this ALUI SSO solution.

    Posted by: bucchere on January 10, 2007 at 6:44 PM

  • NOTE: 1. the user’s password in the portal must be empty string. 2. jar should be put in portal.war and lib/java.

    Posted by: luotuoci on April 28, 2007 at 8:31 PM

UUID Object Opener, The Coolest ALI Taglib Yet

Anyone who’s ever done a major Plumtree/ALUI deployment knows of this problem: You create a portlet or community (or any other object) in Dev and then you migrate it to Test and on to Production. The problem is that you’ve also written some code in your navigation portlet or in another portlet that depends on an ObjectID (e.g. you’ve used a pt:standard:opener tag) and now, in each environment, your ObjectID has changed and you’re basically hosed.

Pre-G6, I came up with a solution described (somewhat hastily) in this post, but it requires a lot of leg work and — worse yet — manual configuration in each environment.

Enter G6 and the magic of taglibs. (Am I beginning to sound like a broken record? Yes, I know, you can’t fix every problem with a taglib, just 95% of them, right?) With this new taglib I wrote today, I extend AOpenerLinkTag and simply convert a UUID to an ObjectID and ClassID so that you can use the same taglib invocation in every environment. I don’t want to toot my own horn too much here, but honestly, this is pretty much the most useful taglib I’ve ever encountered, and once again, it took under 30 minutes to write.

Before I dive into the source, let me back up and say that I had to bend the rules a bit. OOTB, there are two subclasses of ATagAttribute: RequiredTagAttribute and OptionalTagAttribute. I added a third: MutableTagAttribute. It looks and smells like a tag attribute, but under the covers it’s not. Instead of grabbing its value out of the tag invocation, it allows you to set/change the value at runtime inside the taglib code. Granted, this is a little weird, but it’s what I needed to do in order to subclass AOpenerLinkTag and keep it happy dappy.

MutableTagAttribute.java:

package com.bdgportal.alui.taglibs;

import com.plumtree.portaluiinfrastructure.tags.metadata.*;

public class MutableTagAttribute extends ATagAttribute {

  private String value;
  
  public MutableTagAttribute(String name, String desc, AttributeType type) {
    super(name, desc, type);
  }
  
  public String GetDefaultValue() {
    return value;
  }

  public void SetDefaultValue(String value) {
    this.value = value;
  }
  
  public boolean GetIsRequired() {
    return false;
  }
}

Now that we have a tag attribute that we can change on-the-fly, writing the taglib was a snap.

UUIDObjectOpener.java:

package com.bdgportal.alui.taglibs;

import com.plumtree.portaluiinfrastructure.tags.*;
import com.plumtree.portaluiinfrastructure.tags.metadata.*;
import com.plumtree.xpshared.htmlelements.*;
import com.plumtree.taglib.standard.basetags.*;
import com.plumtree.server.*;

public class UUIDObjectOpener extends AOpenerLinkTag
{
  public static final RequiredTagAttribute UUID;
  private MutableTagAttribute OBJECT_ID;
  private MutableTagAttribute CLASS_ID;


  public UUIDObjectOpener() {
    OBJECT_ID = new MutableTagAttribute("objectid", "Not used -- do not set a value for this!", AttributeType.INT);
    CLASS_ID = new MutableTagAttribute("classid", "Not used -- do not set a value for this!", AttributeType.INT);
  }

  public ATagAttribute GetObjectIDAttribute()
  {
    return OBJECT_ID;
  }

  public ATagAttribute GetClassIDAttribute()
  {
    return CLASS_ID;
  }

  public static final ITagMetaData TAG;

  static
  {
    TAG = new TagMetaData("uuidobjectopener", "Opens an object based on its UUID.");
    UUID = new RequiredTagAttribute("uuid", "The UUID for the object you want to open.", AttributeType.STRING);
  }

  public HTMLElement DisplayTag()
  {
    Object[] objectAndClassId = ((IPTMigrationManager)(((IPTSession)GetEnvironment().GetUserSession()).OpenGlobalObject(PT_GLOBALOBJECTS.PT_GLOBAL_MIGRATION_MANAGER,
          false))).UUIDToObjectID(GetTagAttributeAsString(UUID));
  
OBJECT_ID.SetDefaultValue(objectAndClassId[PT_MIGRATION_OBJECT_COLS.PT_MOC_OBJECTID].toString());
    CLASS_ID.SetDefaultValue(objectAndClassId[PT_MIGRATION_OBJECT_COLS.PT_MOC_CLASSID].toString());
    return super.DisplayTag();
  }

  public ATag Create()
  {
    return new UUIDObjectOpener();
  }
}

To deploy this code, see the excellent section on edocs about creating custom Adaptive Tags.

To use this code in a portlet, do the following.

myportlet.htm:

<span xmlns:pt='http://www.plumtree.com/xmlschemas/ptui/'>
   <pt:mytaglibns.uuidobjectopener pt:uuid="{00000-0000-0000-000000}" pt:mode="2">Open My
   Object</pt:mytablibns.uuidobjectopener>
</span>

I did actually test this taglib and it worked swimmingly. Of course you need to substitute a real UUID for all those Os.

In closing, here’s a little shameless plug: I’ve been asked by BEA to give a short, 20-minute talk at BEA World on my favorite subject (duh, taglibs) at the ALUI Developer User Group on Monday, September 18th in Moscone Center, San Francisco. It will happen some time between 1 and 5:30 PM. The ALUI User Groups are free for conference attendees. I hope to see you there or at the bdg booth. Please come on up and introduce yourself — I always like to meet members of this great community in person.

Enjoy!

Comments

Comments are listed in date ascending order (oldest first)

  • Will there be any performance issues using this tag as it involves additional operations of getting Object ID and Class ID from the UUID?

    Posted by: psudhir_it on February 6, 2007 at 10:15 PM

  • From what I can tell, the tag makes a single SQL query (something like select objectid, classid from ptmigration where uuid = ?) which should be a pretty darn fast query, especially since there’s probably an index on uuid.

    The portal is making database calls left and right when you’re displaying a portal page, so making one more database call to generate an opener link shouldn’t really be a performance factor. Nonetheless, it’s definitely something to think about and I’m glad you brought it up.

    Posted by: bucchere on February 7, 2007 at 5:53 PM

  • Hi Chris! Am attempting to move this over to .NET; can you tell me which reference I need to add to resolve com.plumtree.taglib.standard and the AOpenerLinkTag? I’m not sure how to convert this Java fragment, which appears to have two seperate definitions of TAG: public static final ITagMetaData TAG; static { TAG = new TagMetaData(“uuidobjectopener”, “… UUID.”); …can you tell me what it means, and any tips on converting to C# ? Should have an opportunity to throw some load at this later on; will post my results here. My customer is already sensitive to performance problems caused by header portlets making DB calls; so I will also be looking into the caching possibilities. Cheers, Rob

    Posted by: rwagner on October 10, 2007 at 11:04 AM

  • Here is another option. The little known server.pt?uuID={XYZ-UUID} syntax. We use this in our public site which is not gatewayed to deep link into portal content without the need for an adaptive tag. We also use this to establish fqdns in apache that redirect to portal pages. For example in apache setup a fqdn of docs.bea.com which points to portal.bea.com/portal/server.pt?uuID={XYZ-UUID}.

    Posted by: ryanyoder on February 11, 2008 at 6:18 AM

  • Wow, very cool! I totally didn’t know that syntax even existed. If it’s supported, it ought to be documented, because it’s quite handy.

    One gotcha is that you need to pass mode=2 if you want to open the object in view mode because the default is edit mode, e.g.: /portal/server.pt?uuID={46514C0F-0187-4340-AA24-84E41C00C60F}&mode=2

    Posted by: bucchere on February 11, 2008 at 6:31 AM

My Love Affair with ALI Taglibs

There’s been some recent activity on this very old thread in the newsgroups regarding displaying the help link in a portlet. Until G6, this could only be done with native code AFAIK. But, if you supress the portlet title bar, there really aren’t many places where you can put native code in a portlet.

Enter G6 and the extensible taglib support, a quiet little feature that (without any fanfare or marketing by BID) has seriously changed my life.

The source speaks for itself. It look 15 minutes to write. (Granted, I already had my ALUI development environment all set up.)

HelpURL.java:

package com.bdgportal.alui.taglibs;

import com.plumtree.openfoundation.util.*;
import com.plumtree.portaluiinfrastructure.tags.*;
import com.plumtree.portaluiinfrastructure.tags.metadata.*;
import com.plumtree.server.*;
import com.plumtree.xpshared.htmlelements.*;

public class HelpURL extends ATag {

public static final ITagMetaData TAG;
public static final RequiredTagAttribute PORTLET_ID;
  public static final RequiredTagAttribute ID;
  public static final OptionalTagAttribute SCOPE;

static
{
 TAG = new TagMetaData("helpurl",
   "Puts the help URL for this portlet into the variable specified by the ID attribute.");

 PORTLET_ID = new RequiredTagAttribute("portletid",
   "The portlet ID.",
   AttributeType.INT);

 ID = new RequiredTagAttribute("id",
   "The name of the variable in which the help link should be stored.",
   AttributeType.STRING);

 SCOPE = new OptionalTagAttribute("scope",
   "The scope used to store the the help link.",
   AttributeType.STRING, Scope.PORTLET_REQUEST.toString());
}

public HTMLElement DisplayTag() {
 ((IXPList)GetState().GetSharedVariable(GetTagAttributeAsString(ID),
  Scope.GetScope(GetTagAttributeAsString(SCOPE)))).Add(
     ((IPTWebService)((IPTSession)GetEnvironment().GetUserSession()).GetWebServices()
  .Open(((IPTGadget)((IPTSession)GetEnvironment().GetUserSession()).GetGadgets()
  .Open(GetTagAttributeAsInt(PORTLET_ID), false)).GetWebServiceID(), false))
  .GetProviderInfo().ReadAsString("PTC_HTTPGADGET_HELPURL"));
 return null;
}

public ATag Create() {
 return new HelpURL();
}
}

To deploy this code, see the excellent section on edocs about creating custom Adaptive Tags.

To use this code in a portlet, do the following.

myportlet.htm:

<span xmlns:pt='http://www.plumtree.com/xmlschemas/ptui/'>
	<pt:mytaglibns.helpurl pt:portletid="234" pt:id="helplink"/>
	<pt:core.html pt:tag="a" href="$helplink">Help</pt:core.html>
</span>

I didn’t test this, so YMMV. Have fun!

Comments

Comments are listed in date ascending order (oldest first)

  • That’s slick, Chris – that’ll be handy for porting between devstageprod where objectids may be different 🙂

    Posted by: ewwhitley on September 13, 2006 at 6:20 AM

  • Hi, This code makes ten database requests just to get the the IPTWebService object for given portlet. Is there any better way to do this?

    Posted by: Piotr Dudkiewicz on May 18, 2007 at 6:48 AM

  • Sorry, but there’s no better way to get the help URL out of the web service. ALUI is optimized to make calls to its database and the UI code does that everywhere — it’s a dynamic web application, so that should be expected.

    Posted by: bucchere on May 29, 2007 at 2:03 PM

  • It seems that ALUI is optimized to do as many database calls as it’s possible;) Thanks.

    Posted by: Piotr Dudkiewicz on June 1, 2007 at 2:46 AM

Searching Intrinsic ALI Properties Using the PRC

There’s a problem with the IDK PRC API for search that’s tripped up users in the dev2dev forums and that stymied me for the first time today while coding up a custom search application for one of our customers.

The problem is that there’s a hardcoded limitation in the IDK that prevents you from calling PortalField.forID if the passed in object ID is less than 100. This prevents you from searching on some really useful properties, including e-mail address! For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this limitation was imposed.

The good news is that I found a workaround. It involves a quick two-file IDK patch that entails subclassing two classes. The only catch is that you need to put the child classes in the same package as the IDK (because the parent classes have package-private constructors).

Here’s the source code that does the trick.

com.plumtree.remote.prc.search.IntrinsicPortalField.java:

package com.plumtree.remote.prc.search;

import com.plumtree.remote.prc.search.PortalField;
import com.plumtree.remote.prc.search.xp.*;

public class IntrinsicPortalField extends PortalField {
  private IntrinsicPortalField(IntrinsicXPPortalField xpField) {
    super(xpField);
  }

  public static final IntrinsicPortalField EMAIL_ADDRESS;

  static {
    EMAIL_ADDRESS = new IntrinsicPortalField(IntrinsicXPPortalField.forID(26));
  }
}

com.plumtree.remote.prc.search.xp.IntrinsicXPPortalField.java:

package com.plumtree.remote.prc.search.xp;

import com.plumtree.openfoundation.util.XPIllegalArgumentException;

public class IntrinsicXPPortalField extends XPPortalField {

  private IntrinsicXPPortalField(String name, boolean isSearchable, boolean isRetrievable) {
    super(name, isSearchable, isRetrievable);
  }

  public static IntrinsicXPPortalField forID(int propertyId) throws XPIllegalArgumentException {
    return new IntrinsicXPPortalField("ptportal.propertyid." + propertyId, true, true);
  }
}

I used e-mail address (ID = 26) as an example, but you can put any properties in there that you want. Then, when you’re setting up your search filter, just use IntrinsicPortalField instead of PortalField. For example:

IFilterClause filter = searchFactory.createOrFilterClause();
filter.addStatement(IntrinsicPortalField.EMAIL_ADDRESS, Operator.Contains, searchQuery);

Since IntrinsicPortalField is a subclass of PortalField, the PRC has no problem with it. I’ve tested this with e-mail address and it works flawlessly. I’m sure other properties will work perfectly well too.

Enjoy!

Comments

Comments are listed in date ascending order (oldest first)

  • Thank you, Chris 🙂 Now that Chris has kindly posted a workaround, any possibility of having this put into an IDK hotfix?

    Posted by: ewwhitley on August 27, 2006 at 2:39 PM

  • I second Eric’s opinion. Can you guys just remove the artificial restriction of 100 from the IDK in the next release? Seems to work fine without it and it would obviate the need for my silly patch.

    Posted by: bucchere on August 30, 2006 at 2:31 PM

  • Here is an e-mail I received from a person who attempted to use my patch:

     

    I found your blog because I am having the same problem you describe with searching Intrinsic properties. However, I am now having trouble actually “patching” the IDK. How exactly would I go about repackaging everything with these new java files included? Thank you very much for your time and help.

    Here was my response:

    Thanks for your note. Assuming that you’re building a Java web application, all you need to do is compile the patch along with all your other application code. You can put the class files for the patch in WEB-INF/classes or you can make a jar (e.g. myapp.jar) and put the class files for the IDK patch there and then drop the jar in WEB-INF/lib. You can then put everything into a .war or .ear (or not).

    The magic of the Java classloader is that all the .class files in WEB-INF/classes and all your .class files inside jars in WEB-INF/lib all end up loaded into the same memory. That means that if you have two class files in two different jars, but they’re both in the com.plumtree.remote.portlet package (meaning you have the line package com.plumtree.remote.portlet; at the top of your source files and your .java files live in com/plumtree/remote/portlet), then they’ll act like they’re in the same package. This means that you’ll have access to all package private member methods, which the patch needs in order to compile.

    Posted by: bucchere on August 30, 2006 at 7:23 PM

  • Hi mate, I think this is very helpfull but I was wondering where can I find corresponding ID’s for all standart and custom user properties, when I’m using

    forID(26) method? Thanks in advance!

    Posted by: ggeorgiev on September 19, 2006 at 1:16 AM

  • This gets you the standard (intrinsic) ones:
    select objectid, name from plumdbuser.ptproperties order by objectid where objectid < 200;
    1 Name
    2 Description
    3 Object Created
    4 Object Last Modified
    5 Open Document URL
    6 Content Type ID
    7 Plumtree Document Image UUID
    8 Content Language
    9 Content Tag
    26 Email Address
    50 Full Text Content
    60 Document Submit Content Source
    61 Document Upload Repository Server
    62 Document Upload DocID
    71 Related Communities
    72 Related Folders
    73 Related Portlets
    74 Related Experts
    75 Related Content Managers
    80 Snapshot Query Reference
    101 Keywords
    102 Subject
    103 Author
    104 Created
    105 Document Title
    106 URL
    107 Category
    111 Comments
    112 Modified
    152 Phone Number
    153 Title
    154 Department
    155 Manager
    156 Company
    157 Address
    158 Postal Code
    159 State or Province
    160 Country
    161 Employee ID
    162 City
    163 Address 2
    

    For the custom ones, change the where clause to >= 200.

    Posted by: bucchere on September 23, 2006 at 6:53 PM

Everyone likes a friendly URL

As part of our BEA World strategy for this year, we’re revamping our corporate web site, http://www.bdg-online.com. You should expect an unveiling in the upcoming weeks.

While there will be some revised and some additional content, this is primarily an infrastructure upgrade, including moving to more powerful virtual hosts and upgrading the backend from ASP to ASP.NET (yes, I know, it’s about time).

One of things that really bugs me about ASP and ASP.NET is the failure to include built-in support for friendly URLs. By friendly I mean something that doesn’t end in .asp, .htm, .aspx or some other extension and naturally also doesn’t have a querystring (?foo=bar&boo=moo . . . etc.). For example, http://www.bdg-online.com/customers is a lot more friendly than http://www.bdg-online.com/customers.asp and definitely more friendly than something like http://www.bdg-online.com/content.aspx?p=/customers.

Java provides a nice facility for this in the form of servlet mappings. Since a lot of people are using MVC these days, you are probably going to set up servlet mappings anyway. Here’s an example from a sample web.xml file:

<servlet>
 <servlet-name>customers</servlet-name>
 <servlet-class>com.bdg-online.www.Customers</servlet-class>
</servlet>

<servlet-mapping>
 <servlet-name>customers</servlet-name>
 <url-pattern>/customers/*</url-pattern>
</servlet-mapping>

But what about ASP or ASP.NET? No one cares about ASP any more, so I didn’t bother to research that. But for .NET, I came up with a simple and elegant solution to the friendly URL problem. All you need to do is add the following code (or something like it) to your Global.asax.cs file:

protected void Application_BeginRequest(Object sender, EventArgs e)
{
 if (!Request.RawUrl.EndsWith("htm") &&
     !Request.RawUrl.EndsWith("css") &&
     !Request.RawUrl.EndsWith("ico") &&
     !Request.RawUrl.EndsWith("jpg") &&
     !Request.RawUrl.EndsWith("js") &&
     !Request.RawUrl.EndsWith("gif"))
 {
   if ("".Equals(Request.RawUrl) || "/".Equals(Request.RawUrl))
   {
     Context.Server.Transfer("default.aspx");
   }
   else
   {
     Context.Server.Transfer(Request.RawUrl + ".aspx");
   }
 }
}

You’ll note that I forward requests to the corresponding aspx page, as long as the request isn’t for static content (images, css, etc.).

Of course you also need to do two things:

  1. Configure an .aspx page for every friendly URL you want resolved
  2. Add a wildcard mapping in IIS for * (files without extensions) to the asp.net ISAPI filter

The process for #2 is a little involved. It’s also different for IIS 5 (XP) and IIS 6 (2003). I don’t feel like posting screen shots right now, but if anyone wants to give this a trial run and can’t figure out how to do #2, just e-mail me and I’ll walk you through it.

I just came up with this a couple of hours ago and I haven’t put it through much testing, so YMMV.

More adventures in desktop linux

Everything I do in linux seems to be an adventure. That couldn’t be more true for Oracle 10g. After fighting with the installer, monkeying around with the ALUI database scripts and editing the start-up script, I got the database to start, but it would only shut down immediately afterword. Drats!

This morning, I deleted every trace of Oracle 10g from my system and attempted an install of Oracle 9i. The adventure begins . . . .

First off, Oracle 9i requires JRE 1.3.1, which Sun is planning to retire very soon (as soon as Java 6 comes out). Damn, I remember working on Java 1.0 — am I getting old?

JRE 1.3.1 doesn’t install cleanly on Fedora Core 5. Then again, does anything? Java is closed-source — meaning you can’t build it yourself — so once again I was in a linux bind. When I tried to unpack the 1.3.1 JRE I downloaded from Sun, it gave me this:

tail: `-1' option is obsolete; use `-n 1' since this will be removed in the future
Unpacking...
tail: cannot open `+486' for reading: No such file or directory
Checksumming...
1 The download file appears to be corrupted. [etc]

I downloaded the file again a few times to make sure it really wasn’t corrupted. Of course it wasn’t.

Then I found this great blog post that explained exactly what was going wrong and offered an easy fix. Easy, that is, if you’re a developer. (I’m becoming more and more convinced every day that linux is not at all poised to take over the desktop unless the entire earth’s population goes out and gets a CS degree.)

Alas, the antiquated JRE was really to roll and now it was time to run the Oracle installer. Of course, that didn’t run either. Instead, it spat out JRE errors;

Error occurred during initialization of VM
Unable to load native library: /tmp/OraInstall2006-08-19_11-59-35AM/jre/lib/i386/libjava.so: symbol __libc_wait, version GLIBC_2.0 not defined in file libc.so.6 with link time reference

Nice. Back to Google.

The fix this time came (ironically) from IBM’s web site. No problem, just make a change to libcwait.c, recompile it as a shared object and then set the LD_PRELOAD variable. I’m sure my mom could do that, right?

Then of course I had the standard “this only works under X” problem, but I had already figured that one out. Here’s the error:

Xlib: connection to ":0.0" refused by server
Xlib: No protocol specified
Exception in thread "main" java.lang.InternalError: Can't connect to X11 window server using ':0.0' as the value of the DISPLAY variable.
at sun.awt.X11GraphicsEnvironment.initDisplay(Native Method)
at sun.awt.X11GraphicsEnvironment.(X11GraphicsEnvironment.java:59)
at java.lang.Class.forName0(Native Method)
at java.lang.Class.forName(Class.java:120)
at java.awt.GraphicsEnvironment.getLocalGraphicsEnvironment(GraphicsEnvironment.java:58)
at java.awt.Window.(Window.java:188)
at java.awt.Frame.(Frame.java:315)
at java.awt.Frame.(Frame.java:262)
at oracle.sysman.oii.oiic.OiicInstaller.main(OiicInstaller.java:593)

And the fix (as root):

%>xhost +
%>xterm &
%>su - oracle
%>/tmp/Disk1/runInstaller &

And finally, the Oracle 9i installer launched. Now of course it’s totally hung at 18% on “Linking Oracle Net Required Support Files” and it’s been stuck there since before I started writing this blog post.

Gotta love it.

Handy Startup Script for ALUI G6 on *nix

I just wrote a nice little startup script for ALUI G6 on *nix. If you want to use it, place a file in /etc/init.d called “plumtree” with the following contents:

#!/bin/sh

. /opt/plumtree/pthome.sh

case "$1" in
 'start')
   $PT_HOME/ptportal/6.0/bin/automationserverd.sh start
   $PT_HOME/ptws/6.0/bin/apiserviced.sh start
   $PT_HOME/ptdr/6.0/bin/drserverd.sh start
   $PT_HOME/ptsearchserver/6.0/bin/searchserverd.sh start
   $PT_HOME/ptupload/6.0/bin/plumtreefileuploadd.sh start
   /opt/httpd/bin/apachectl.pt start
   /opt/tomcat5/bin/startup.sh
   ;;

 'stop')
   $PT_HOME/ptportal/6.0/bin/automationserverd.sh stop
   $PT_HOME/ptws/6.0/bin/apiserviced.sh stop
   $PT_HOME/ptdr/6.0/bin/drserverd.sh stop
   $PT_HOME/ptsearchserver/6.0/bin/searchserverd.sh stop
   $PT_HOME/ptupload/6.0/bin/plumtreefileuploadd.sh stop
   /opt/httpd/bin/apachectl.pt stop
   /opt/tomcat5/bin/shutdown.sh
   ;;
esac

Now make the script executable:

%>chmod +x /etc/init.d/plumtree

To run all the ALUI components, type:

/etc/init.d/plumtree start

To stop them, use

/etc/init.d/plumtree stop

If you want to start ALUI automatically when the server comes up, do this (assuming you want ALUI to start at run level 3):

ln -s /etc/init.d/plumtree /etc/rc3.d/S50plumtree

Of course you need to make sure that Oracle is started first if you go this route. If you’re not running all the ALUI services on the same machine (not a recommended configuration, but good for development), you’ll need to edit the script above to start and stop only the components you have installed on each server. Enjoy!