Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Role concept in Sun Portal Server vs LifeRay Portal Server

I was with a friend today for lunch. After lunch, he asked me to help him with setting up a development environment for Sun Java System Portal Server 7.1. 

His company was engaged by a local Online Ticketing Service Provider for some change requests. The initial contract was to a big MNC, but they did not do a good job. Anyway, to his surprise, this service provider does not have a development environment for his engineers to work with. Thus, no choice... he, being always preaching for best practice, decided to set up the environment in his premise. 

They spent numerous days, but are still not able to get an identical site set up. Thus, he asked for my help.

For your information, my experience with Sun Portal Server dated back to iPlanet Portal Server version 3.  It has been 5 years. Sun Portal Server is now named as GlassFish Web Space Server. This version is not a continuous/enhancement update from previous ones. It is actually "OEM" from LifeRay Portal Server. A few portlets have been ported to Web Space Server, and that's about it. Not too much different from the default LifeRay installation.

So, back to the development environment setup, I advised his engineers on how to migrate the existing Display Profile from the production server. I also explained about the Authentication-less Anonymous Desktop and its associated Display Profile. Basically, just make sure of the following:
  1. Organization Domain is the same 
  2. Portlets to be copied over and deployed on development server
  3. Import display profile for default organization
  4. Import display profile for authless anonymous user
Fairly simple. 

When I was about to leave, one engineer asked whether or not is there a way to hide a certain tab from showing when a particular group of users log in.

He told me it was so easy to achieve this requirement using LifeRay. (Yes, they implement quite a number of LifeRay. But not Sun Portal Server)

What he needs to do in LifeRay is to navigate to Plugin Configuration and then assign the Role appropriately. Done. Single login; Integrated Administrative Module.

Yes, I do agree. I do LifeRay as well, since Sun has moved on to Glassfish Web Space Server. So, that's part of my job scope.

Anyway, I explained that the concept is slightly different in Sun Portal Server. It is basically driven by Display Profile. 

When a user logs in, the Portal Server will check in the following sequence:
  1. Does User Display Profile exist? If yes, render it.
  2. Does Role Display Profile exist? If yes, render it.
  3. Otherwise, render Organization Display Profile.
To fulfill his requirement, what he needs to do is to create a Role Display Profile. How to achieve that is more complicated:

1. Go to Sun Access Manager
  • Define a new Role. 
  • Assign users to this new Role.

2. Go to Sun Portal Server Console
  • Search for the Role Display Profile. 
  • Customize this Role Display Profile. (By default, without customizing, it will be the same as Organization Display Profile)

FYI, the EOL for Sun Java System Portal Server 7.1 is Nov 2009. If you are using this version of Portal Server and would require upgrade service, do send me an email (cheechong @ azimuthlabs.com.sg). 

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