Using IBM Web Administration for i To Configure WebSphere Portal
July 28, 2010 Pi Guang Ming
What’s IBM WebSphere Portal? Simply speaking, WebSphere Portal is a J2EE application that runs on the WebSphere Application Server. What’s the benefit of using it? Again, simply speaking, WebSphere Portal enables companies to build their own customer portal Web sites to serve different needs for employees, business partners, and customers. Why IBM Web Administration for i interface? Because WebSphere Portal is complex, but Web Administration for i makes it simple for customers. So how can it do that?
In this article, you’ll learn what IBM Web Administration for i can do to configure a WebSphere Portal on your IBM i server. IBM Web Administration for i provides an easy way to configure your WebSphere Portal server, by using the Create New WebSphere Portal wizard. This wizard reduces the time required to configure and start the portal server and reduces the complexity of the many different features of the portal server.
WebSphere Application Server
What’s the relationship between WebSphere Portal and WebSphere Application Server? Actually, WebSphere Portal is a J2EE application that runs on WebSphere Application Server. The WebSphere Application Server is the engine that drives the WebSphere Portal, and provides J2EE services for the portal environment.
The Create New WebSphere Portal wizard will create an application server. You cannot use an existing application server. In the summary page of the wizard, you can see the full WebSphere Application Server configuration information, as shown in Figure 1.
The key properties are explained as follow:
As a minimum configuration for the customer, the wizard automatically generates the other fields.
What’s the relationship between WebSphere Portal and HTTP server? The HTTP server routes the incoming dynamic requests to the application server, which then displays the required portlets.
The Create New WebSphere Portal wizard will either create an HTTP server or use an existing HTTP server. It depends on you! In the summary page of the Create New WebSphere Portal wizard, you will see the HTTP server configuration information, as shown in Figure 2.
The key properties are explained as follows:
As a minimum configuration for the customer, all of the other fields are automatically generated by the wizard.
Now, you know that the Create New WebSphere Portal wizard on the GUI can easily create both the application server and HTTP server. Let’s come back to the back-end. What did the wizard do to associate an HTTP server with the application server?
Simply, the HTTP server uses a WebSphere Application Server (WAS) plug-in module to communicate with the application server. You will find the relevant association directives by checking the HTTP configuration file /www/<http_server>/conf/httpd/conf/, where <http_server> specifies the server root.
The following lines display the HTTP server directives to communicate with the application server. Their explanations of each directive can be described as follows:
LoadModule mod_ibm_si /QSYS.LIB/QHTTPSVR.LIB/QZISI.SRVPGM LoadModule was_ap20_module /QSYS.LIB/QWAS6.LIB/QSVTAP22.SRVPGM LoadModule was_ap20_module /QSYS.LIB/QHTTPSVR.LIB/QSVT2070.SRVPGM AppServer *ALL Start End WASInstance WAS60SVR01 5733W60 2 WebSpherePluginConfig /QIBM/UserData/WebSphere/AppServer/V6/Base/ profiles/WAS60SVR01/config/cells/lwi06_WAS60SVR01/nodes/ IHS_LWI06_ZY_node/servers/IHS_LWI06_ZY/plugin-cfg.xml
Note: The LoadModule mod_ibm_si is required in the configuration prior to using the directives WASInstance and AppServer.
The LoadModule was_ap20_module is required in the configuration prior to using the directive WebSpherePluginConfig.
Now you know what the Create New WebSphere Portal wizard did to create the application server and HTTP server. But having an application server and HTTP server is not enough. You also need a database for a portal server to store information about user identities, credentials, permissions for accessing portal resources, customized Web pages, and other customized portal information.
What does a database mean to WebSphere Portal? The DB2 for IBM i database is used by WebSphere Portal as a repository for user customized pages and portal configuration information. The database can be located on the local system or remote system.
The Create New WebSphere Portal wizard will create several database schemas for Portal server use. The wizard automatically generates these database names. The naming method can be either based on their purpose, like WPEREL1, WPECST1, WPEJCR1, or based on the server name, like WP_PROFIL1, WP_PROFIL2, WP_PROFIL3.
Note: All database schemas are removed if this portal environment is deleted.
Apart from that, the Create New WebSphere Portal wizard will also create a new IBM i user profile whose only purpose is to own these database schemas. The user name cannot match any existing library names on the IBM i system. The password for this user ID is set to the same value as the Portal administrator password, which is specified later in this wizard.
In the summary page of the Create New WebSphere Portal wizard, you will see the database configuration details, as shown in Figure 3.
DB2 database schemas will be created by default on this local IBM i system to be used by this WebSphere Portal environment.
The key properties are explained as follows:
Till now, all of the elements above, including the application server, HTTP server, and database, are required for portal configuration. However, LDAP is optional. It’s mainly for security consideration.
What is an LDAP server? LDAP server is an implementation of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. The LDAP server is usually used to control who has access to the portal server.
What does LDAP mean to a portal? In the portal environment, the LDAP server stores, updates, and retrieves user-specific data related to authentication, such as users and passwords.
Configuring LDAP is optional. If you require security, you can configure LDAP via the Create New WebSphere Portal wizard. Otherwise, you can skip to the next step.
In the summary page of the wizard, you will see the LDAP server configuration information, as shown in Figure 4.
The key properties are explained as follows:
As you can see, the LDAP configuration is a little complex, which requires you have a good understanding of the relevant LDAP concepts. For more details, see the IBM redbook Understanding LDAP – Design and Implementation.
You are now armed with the knowledge of four key components created by the Portal wizard. These are WebSphere Application Server, IBM HTTP server for i, IBM DB2 for i, and IBM Tivoli Directory Server for i. The wizard starts portal configuration once you click the Finish in the wizard summary. Accordingly, the page will route to creation progress page, as Figure 5. As the portal server is configured, each icon below will fill in. The status bar over each icon will update on a regular basis showing the status of each step. Hover over each icon to see detailed information on each step and the link to the detailed table.
When Finish is clicked in the summary page, the Intro page will display. As the portal server is configured, each icon below will fill in. The status bar over each icon will update on a regular basis showing the status of each step. Hover over each icon to see detailed information on each step and the link to the detailed table.
Figure 6 shows different parts of the portal screen after portal configuration has completed. These screens need your attention to determine if the configuration was successful or if some sort of error occurred.
The key parts are explained as follows:
1. In this instance, the green icon “Running” means the application server is currently active. Some of these status include:
2. This pull-down contains the Instance/Server name of the Portal server you just configured. If you want to examine another portal or WebSphere Application Server, you could simply click on the down arrow and select the name of the server you want to examine from the resulting list.
3. This icon is yet another status of this particular portal server. There are a number of icons that you may see here:
4. The five icons at this level indicate the success or failures of the particular stages of portal configuration. If all of them are purple, all stages of configuration were successful. If any of them remain gray with a red triangle and white exclamation point, a failure of some sort occurred. In this sample, all of the stages were successful.
5. You can click on “View Logs” or “Web Log Monitor” to get more detailed configuration status information:
Now, you’ve successfully configured portal server, in our sample as indicated in Figure 6, to access your portal server click on the following URL: http://lwi07.cn.ibm.com:10039/wps/portal.
IBM Web Administration for i provides an easy-to-use wizard to configure WebSphere Portal on IBM i environment. Use of this wizard greatly simplifies the process of building web portals. Give it a try!
Pi Guang Ming is a software engineer for IBM’s i Web integration development team at the China System and Technology Lab. The i Web integration development team’s focus is on the Web-based management of middleware running on i, including WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Portal Server, Integrated Web Services Server, Integrated Application Server, and the i HTTP server. Send your questions or comments for Jon to Ted Holt via the IT Jungle Contact page.