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J2EE Journal: Article

Working with the Enterprise Portal

An Overview Part 1

The evaluation version comes with Apache's Tomcat, the servlet container used in the official Reference Implementation for the Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages technologies developed by Sun. That's good enough for playing around and developing some simple portlets. The users access rights are stored in an Adaptive Server Anywhere database, which is already delivered by Sybase (so you don't have to create your own). You have had a lot to read so far; it's time to take an up-close look at it now.

Download the evaluation version from http://crm.sybase.com/sybase/www/eBD/EP5EvalDnld.jsp. It's a ZIP file about 37MB in size.

This evaluation version is designed for a single-machine install on Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows XP. These are the platforms on which it will run.

The following browsers are supported: IE 5.0, 5.5, and 6.0. Known stability issues arise with Netscape because the Sybase Enterprise Portal is heavily based on JavaScript, which doesn't work very well with Netscape. Sybase didn't take care of this issue, maybe because most users nowadays use Internet Explorer anyway.

Major Features
To sum it up, the major features of the evaluation version are as follows:

  • Very easy installation. We will start installing it in the next paragraph; you will see that this takes only a few minutes.
  • Users can create their own pages and portlets. You will immediately get the idea what's behind a portal, even if you are totally new to this type of application and you will be prepared to use the full blown version.
  • The version is free. It doesn't cost you a cent. This is the cheapest way to get a portal up and running. I'm sure you'll have fun with it. The whole example provided in this chapter (which we will start with soon) has been created with this version. You'll agree that you can create professional-looking pages in minutes.
Keep in mind that for a real production environment you should use the Enterprise version. Sybase EAServer and Sybase Enterprise Portal with all its services (search, authentication, clustering) is developed and tested by Sybase for a lot of page hits and where stability and uptime is an issue. The evaluation version is more for playing around.

Installing the Evaluation Version
When I was installing an Enterprise Portal for the first time, I locked my door for the whole day and turned off the telephone to be alone. I wanted it to be just the machine, some CDs, and me. Yes, I was really afraid. But now with the availability of the Evaluation Version, the installation is so easy that we can't really speak about installing something, it's more of unzipping it and running it without any configuration. But decide for yourself if that's true. This section covers the pertinent steps to alleviate the fear you might also feel when it comes to installing a portal. After playing around with this product, you might feel prepared to have a look at the "big brother," the full-blown version of the Sybase Enterprise Portal.

Installation Steps

  1. Extract the file to your hard drive (I recommend using the directory c:\EP5-InfoEd so you won't have to change anything on the sample available on the book's Web site).
  2. The evaluation version uses the name demo.sybase.com in the URL. To make your machine recognize it, edit your hosts file. You will find it on your hard disk at \winnt\system32\drivers\etc\hosts. Open the file with your preferred editor and add this line: 127.0.0.1 demo.sybase.com
  3. Go to the directory where you unzipped the files and run the file startdb.bat. You will initially see a few messages with "Ping server failed-Database server not found." This is okay because the script pings the database during startup. Wait until you see the message "Ping server successful." The icon of the SQL ASA database then appears in your taskbar.
  4. In the same directory, run the file starttomcat.bat. A new window is launched, and you will see several messages starting with "Starting service Tomcat-Standalone." You will also see "Tomcat connecting to our ASA database." Wait until you see the message "Apache Tomcat/4.0.4." You can minimize this window.
  5. To run the evaluation version of the Sybase Enterprise Portal go to http://demo.sybase.com:4040/onepage/index.jsp.
After these steps your browser should come up with a page like the one displayed in Figure 1.

You might also use the URL http://demo.sybase.com:4040/onepage because index.jsp is the default page. That's it - this downloads the Web application installed in Tomcat. If you click on the Join Now link, you can register for the portal (see Figure 2).

Running the Portal Studio
Now your portal should be up and running. Feel free to create a user for your portal and play around a little bit. The next step is to create a portlet and pages that should be available for all users. This is where the Sybase Portal Studio comes into the picture. To run the evaluation version of the Sybase Portal Studio, go to http://demo.sybase.com:4040/onepage/index.html.

Note that you must use index.html in your URL or you won't start in Portal Studio (compare with Figure 3); instead you'll be presented with the login page of the portal itself. To enter Portal Studio, use the existing login account for the administrator. The username is opsuper; use the password 0psuper. (Note that the first character of the password is a zero.)

More Stories By Berndt Hamboeck

Berndt Hamboeck is a senior consultant for BHITCON (www.bhitcon.net). He's a CSI, SCAPC8, EASAC, SCJP2, and started his Sybase development using PB5. You can reach him under [email protected]

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