Mythics Blog

WebCenter Portal:  Building Your Own. Part 1

Posted on July 8, 2014 by Nathan Tsang

Tags: Mythics Consulting, Oracle, Oracle Software

In this blog, I will share my recent successful experience and the lessons learned from building my first WebCenter Portal.  In the end, you should be able build one or at least understand what building a WebCenter Portal entails.   

So, let’s start with building the development environment.  The following graphic details an example of a complete development and testing environment.  This environment actually consists of two parts: a portable environment and a server environment. The portable environment is installed in a notebook computer and goes wherever the user goes. The server environment is installed in a desktop computer on a home LAN network and is only accessible via Secure Shell (SSH), Virtual Network Computing (VNC), or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).

Both machines run on Oracle VirtualBox. Oracle VirtualBox is a virtualization software package for x86 and AMD64/Intel64-based computers.  It runs on a host operating system like Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, and Solaris.  It supports multiple virtual machines (VM) with Guest Operating Systems including Windows, Linux, BSD, OS/2, Solaris, Haiku, and others.  Currently, Oracle VirtualBox is the only professional VM solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Running a development environment on a virtual machine may have several advantages:

  1.  There are many pre-built Oracle VirtualBox virtual machines free for download at Oracle Technology Network (OTN);
  2. You can build your own, duplicate it, share it, or customize it for difference purposes.
  3. All you need to install on your desktop/laptop is Oracle VM VirtualBox.

The easiest way to obtain a development environment is by using a pre-built virtual machine. VirtualBox appliance contains a fully configured, ready-to-use SOA/BPM 11.1.1.7.1 installation. This VM is quite large; it has 6 (2 GB each) OVA files for downloading and assembles into a single large OVA file.  You will need at least 37GB of free disk space (not including the downloaded files and .ova file) on your computer to import this virtual machine.  You will also need minimum of 5GB free memory in your computer to run this VM.  Once the VM is up and running, select Desktop to start the graphical desktop.  For detailed instructions on how to use this VirtualBox image, download this README file. 

Build a smaller VM for only a portable environment by following these steps:

  1. Create a VM with Microsoft Windows XP (32 bit) as the Guest OS.
  2. Configure it with dual processor, 3GB RAM, 30 GB virtual disk (VDI), and a Network Address Translation (NAT) network.

Note:  You may use a later version of Windows; however, it will require more memory with no apparent benefits.  As a note, the VirtualBox is free but the Guest OS may still require a license.  Also, you can use freely available Linux like Ubuntu, Fedora, or Oracle Linux for the Guest OS. Just download the OS and follow the instruction for installation. Once you have the Guest OS up and running, fire up your browser and download a copy of JDeveloper at OTN.

At this writing, you will need to download the JDeveloper Studio Edition 11.1.1.7.0 for WebCenter Portal development. There are several selections available, so select the one that works for your Guest OS.  After downloading, follow the Installation Guides to install. You will also need to install several additional extensions as listed below and available through JDeveloper Help->Check for Updates:

  • Oracle BPM Studio 11g
  • Oracle SOA Composite Editor
  • WebCenter Framework and Services Design Time
  • WebCenter Customization Framework Design Time
  • Oracle Enterprise Repository Adapter

Now you have JDeveloper configured and you should be able to start your first portal app. Please see Tutorial for Oracle WebCenter Portal Developers for more details. You will also need to access the releases of Oracle WebCenter Portal Documentation.  Following the tutorial to further setting up the development environment; however, you will still need the content server and the application server in order to properly deploy your portal application. In the next installment of this article series, I will discuss more details about configuring the Content and Portal components, as well as, walk through a deployment scenario.

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