Fatwire / Oracle WebCenter Sites

June 10th, 2013

I have started a new blog to cover Fatwire specific posts.

http://sites.shishank.info

I hope you enjoy my experience with future tense/ Open market / Divine/ Fatwire / Oracle WebCenter site.

Best Practices for developing CQ components/ tips and tricks

August 13th, 2012

CQ community is growing many folds in recent times and so is the demand to reach to the right content. As an initiative, Adobe is trying to collaborate information from various resources to a common platform. Here are some useful urls where I have contributed:

Tips and tricks from the CQ community

Developing CQ components | Best practices

Enjoy reading !

How context is getting all the more important

January 11th, 2012

Recently, in one of the blog posts, Kashyap @realstorygroup quoted: ”

Content may be king but Context will be emperor

” and its truely the case with the changing nature of how we access information. Typically, there are three ways in which a user arraive at a site:

  • Through direct URL
  • Search engine
  • Through reference or link from other Site

And context is different for all the scenario’s, especially with the tabletization of the world. It has made every pixel of screen count to present information which the user is looking for. Lets look at the above three scenarios:

Direct URL - Users expectation is that site needs to present personalised content based on their previous behaviour and/or user clicks to present most relevant information. People are always saying: “Present me what I am looking for else I will go and find it else where.” This has driven lot of companies to adopt through anonymous user journeys and present a level of personalised content.

Search engine - This is becoming critically important, as search engines is the main traffic generator for a normal site. Search engine context is the the most important one but has not been explored to the fully. Assume that someone is searching a phrase ‘Fatwire Oracle’ and the site get listed in top ten search results. Now from the query, its not obvious what the user is looking for and so search engine will present a link to the site. When the user clicks on the sits URL, it goes the the specific page ln the site. While the information might be relevant, it is quite possible that it is not relevant for him. But if the user is presented with all the other relevant links around Fatwire Oracle, it is possible that user gets deeper into the site and becomes as regular visitor.

Through reference or link from other Site - This pretty much falls in the same bucket as search engine and the above information holds good.

To add another dimension to the context, mobilization and tabletisation present more challenges to maintain websites and present context based information. So, if the user comes to the site from search, the information presented on a mobile phone needs to vary with what is presented on the website, though they need to be context aware.

With the internet world moving towards tabletisation and mobilisation, its time to re-think before starting any project. How it is going to fit on all the possible context the site falls.

CQ – Tips and Tricks

January 6th, 2012

I have recently started a sub-domain to cover Adobe Day CQ specific information, pertaining from design options, to components to various tips and tricks I came across during my CQ experience.

CQ Tips and Tricks

I hope it will be useful for Adobe CQ world !

Happy New Year 2012

January 2nd, 2012
Happy New Year 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Cherishing the happy moments, learning from the difficult ones, and looking forward to a successful 2012, say Good Bye to 2011 !

May 2012 bring fun, happiness, prosperity and success to you and your family! Wish you and your family a very happy year 2012 !

Oracle/Fatwire CSDT (Content Server Developer Tools) : Part 2

November 14th, 2011

Content Server Developer Tools are the latest and the first ever supported tools from Oracle (Fatwire) which provides plugin to eclipse and command line utility to help manage Fatwire artefacts in a file system. Once the artefacts are in file system, it opens a whole new doors to managing them. I covered about CSDT in my previous post and this is extention to the original post.

CSDT has been designed keeping in my the new development as the priority with not much thought around the projects upgrading to CS 761. But in my view the focus should have been other way around as there will be lot more upgrades than new implementations as the initial use case for CSDT.

    If you are planning to use CSDT across developers setup, here are some pointers to be aware:

  • CSDT V1 has a limitation that it expects the work space name to be cs_workspace at the location /export/envision. So, one option to make csdt work is to create a project with the same name at expected location.
  • CSDT expects the same folder structure within workspace, src/_metadata and src/jsp. So it is important that if you are trying to manage CSDT export within CVS, setup the same project structure
  • When you have all the artefacts you want to manage within CVS, make sure everyone sync their local instances with the CVS export so that everyone are at the same code level before starting any development
  • Word ‘Exception’ causes CSDT import to fail. Make sure that during development, do not specify name/ description fields with it. Or use Excaption :)
    If you are upgrading to CS761, there are number of issues which you need to be aware of:

  • Fw_uids need to be same across all the upgraded environments otherwise csdt deployments will fail
  • As part of best practice, if you have extracted element as cselement to make code go through the publishing process, make sure that all such dependencies are changed manually in Meta information. (.main.XML) file else the import will fail
    General CSDT issues:

  • Workflows can not be exported and imported through CSDT so there is need to either mirror to server the workflows or use catalog mover to move them
  • Categories can not be exported using CSDT
  • If Treetabs or start menus or any other artefact is enabled for any site, it is not exported out when we export artefacts for specific site, though they are part of the at site
  • modified date command line parameter doesn’t work as expected
  • Not applicable for no asset tables. A classic example is usage of SystemLocateString.
  • Incremental deployments are tough to achieve and its more manual work to arrive at the dependency set. Full deployment is the easiest way to achieve code drop.
  • CSDT doesn’t check if the asset has actually modified and updates all the assets which are part of workspace. So, if you carry out full deployment everytime, one drawback is that it will invalidate whole of the cache.
  • Etc..etc.

Even though there are number of issues with the current version of CSDT, it is a good to start using it as it will provide a platform which is going to improve over time. And hopefully version 2 of CSDT is not far which will definitely address some of the above issues, it not all.

Happy CSDTing !

Definition of Designations for an IT project

November 13th, 2011

Here is a perfect definition why most of the IT projects go through turbulence :)

definitions of designations

definitions of designations

Oracle Web Centre (Fatwire) : Is it an old generation CMS?

November 10th, 2011

Recently Oracle acquired Fatwire, which has been one of the leaders in the WCM/WEM space. I have been tracking its progress through various releases and recently got a chance to work with Content Server 761. I had great expectation and always wanted it to do well ( may be because it was the first cms product I ever used and also worked for them during Divine days). Here are some of my ever good and no so good list which I try based on my product experience.

Good

  • Follow,to the dot, the separation of content assets from presentation templates which has been in question recently with the more newer Cms’s like Adobe Day CQ
  • Publishing mechanisms available out of the box are one of the strengths with recent addition of Real Time Publishing
  • Enhanced caching and seperating the cache to each individual nodes has been one of the great improvements to its performance questions
  • Availability of system tools in a supported version is always a nice thing to have
  • Finally that there is some respect towards developers by coming up with initial version of Content Server Developer Tools (CSDT), though there are number of shortcoming with it
  • Introduction of Central Authentication Service (CAS) is a welcome change to the stack which provides much more flexibility around development and extending it beyond stereotype implementations
  • etc. etc.

Not so good

  • Some of the basic changes within the implementation requires quite a lot of work. A good example is vanity URLs. Most of the clients now a days have this basic requirement especially around blobs but there is none out of the box URL assembler available
  • Deployment is one of the most painful area. Even with CSDT, which is just the recent addition to product, there are many area’s which it lacks. The basic use cases are not covered by CSDT
  • With CS 761, there are headless installs which is welcome change through if you are upgrading to CS 761 from version below CS 75 there is no other way apart from GUI based installers
  • Product customisation is one of the pain area’s. There is no concept of extending the existing elements into your project elements and apply changes. Which means each time you run an upgrade, there is an activity to reapply all the changes again which makes upgrades sooo much error prone and time consuming
  • CS Engage, for providing personalised content, has never been an easy product to work with and get your head around it
  • There are number of modules on top of core content server but its been utilised scarcely across the globe and tough to find a single case study when in need
  • Rollbacks are still is old 90′s fashion way of taking file system and database dump and restoring them back. Cold dumps needs to be taken to get an exact snapshot of the system at that point in time
  • Lots of documentation is there but they cover basic information and for anything beyond basic changes require folow-up on yahoo groups or through support
  • Support centre has not been supportive. It sometimes feel, just to meet their SLA’s, there are responses which doesn’t even relate back to the actual query
  • etc. etc.

Most of the not so good issues has already been addressed by the newer CMS products and what is taken for granted with a product,Fatwire has not been able to address them. It will be good to see how Oracle take them on board and how WebCentre integration brings in to overcome some of the obvious issues.

Choosing a CMS: Have you considered upgrade process?

September 27th, 2011

There are lots of sites/advisory papers which talk about how to choose a right WCM for your needs. And I am not going to re-invent the wheel here. But there is one aspect which is always given less importance and usually neglected during CMS selection and that is the upgrade process.

Usually upgrades shouldn’t be too tricky as most of the upgrade does is change some schema definition and update existing product code base. So why it needs to be considered at CMS selection process? Read on !

Most of the big WCM Implementations need customisation of some sort and so upgrade projects become more tricky when product overwrite these customisations. A lot of it depends on the under lying architecture of the product. Lets consider two well known products: Oracle WebCentre (previously Fatwire) and Adobe Day CQ. Adobe Day CQ provides facility to overwrite the default components and configurations by simply extending them within your own project. Customisations are achieved without modifying any of the system files, provided its implemented based on CQ recommendations. So, upgrade path for CQ is pretty straight forward and shouldn’t cause sleepless nights.

On the other hand, consider Oracle webcentre where customisation could be achieved only by modifying the underlying system elements. Even your implementation follows the Fatwire recommended approach for customisations, it will lead to changes to system elements. What that means is that upgrade is not straight forward and upgrade itself becomes a project in its own where time lines vary with the number of such customisations.

In a short period product A might satisfy your requirements more than product B, but its important to look at the longer picture because something which looks cool and easy to implement and run might not get you the expected returns in future. And considering the way technology is changing, no one can move away from not upgrading their products for long.

WCM solution for financial institutes

August 10th, 2011

WCM is a software system which helps organisations to create, manage and publish web content to their websites. WCM opens door for organisations to effectively manage their online presence. There are large number of pure WCM vendors in java and .net domain which provides number of attractive sales features though, in reality, most of them are not used during implementation.

financial institutes

financial institutes

WCM products fit in most of the institutions but its always tough to use any product with financial institutes. And these are the main reasons I think:

  • There is always extra layer of security applied within financial institutes which not always fits well with most of the products security models
  • Each financial institute has rigid auditing requirements of capturing each of the activity that happens within WCM. And to my knowledge, I do not think any WCM really supports required granual level for auditing
  • As part of audit requirement, there is always need to generate how the site looked on a certain past date and if we add personalisation angle, it will make all the more
    complex.

Based on my experience, deploying any WCM product within a financial institutute leads to lot of customisations within the core product functionality. And that is always scary because it raise lot of questions around the credibility of the product and its selection process. Also, managability and upgrade of such system is a nightmare.

Even though it is time and money to develop an in-house CMS system, but I think in long run it pays off and the system could be easily designed to meet the above requirements.