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Branding ADF Applications

Author: Infomentum

Author: Nabil Makhout

Nabil presented his tips on branding ADF applications at UKOUG’s Apps 15 conference.

Every new application created with the WebCenter Portal framework and ADF comes with default styling that you extend from an out-of-the-box skin, like Skyros. But if every time we created an application with the default style, it would be a very boring and monotonous digital world. That’s where skinning comes in to brand your application to your company guidelines!

Why branding?

First of all, it promotes recognition of your brand and sets you apart from the competition. A brand is something you build over the years; customers know what to expect from your company when they recognise your brand. Strong brands build trust and customer satisfaction. Brands give potential clients a firm idea of what they are buying before they buy it, making the purchasing decision easier. Font-family, animations, colours, layouts and so many more factors contribute to building a brand. So branding has so many benefits for your company and your application. Now, let’s have a look how to do it.

Workflow to brand your application?

Use a build tool like gulp to automate part of your workflow. This helps you to stay focused on your code without needing to pay attention to the important, but repetitive, details. These tools allow you to write your code (hopefully) once, and reuse it throughout the development process. Build tools take care of minification, different versions for different environments, and while you are writing code you can get notifications that you have an error, etc. This is just scratching the surface. There is so many more things you can do with it. Have a look at gulpjs for more information.

You can also use SVG as icons. Personally, I like to use font-icons also known as glyphicons. Essentially, you combine SVGs into a font file and you can refer them in the CSS. The nice thing about this method is that you always have a JSON backup and the images are vector based. So you can make it bigger or smaller without losing quality! The annoying thing with a sprite is that you need to recalculate the background positions sometimes. Well, that’s history with your font-icons.

Dos and don’ts in development

- Do try dropping old versions of IE
- ADF comes with a lot of interactive components, so do try to stay away from js and do try to use best practices to get the solution you need
- Don’t use inline styles

I hope this helps other developers to brand your applications to your company’s style!

Becoming a 2.0 Enterprise with Oracle WebCenter Portal

Author: Infomentum

In this post, we going to take a technical look at how a WebCenter Portal can enable effective collaboration throughout an organisation, starting with the simple integration of a discussion forum.

Forget stocks, shares and even bricks and mortar. In today’s information age, a company’s knowledge is its most important asset.

But if that knowledge isn’t shared – so everyone who needs it has access to it at all times – it can be next to useless.

Take when someone leaves for example. If what’s in their head hasn’t been distributed to the rest of the team, you not only lose the person’s skills, you lose their valuable knowledge too.

But that needn’t be the case with a WebCenter Portal.

Unlocking the power of collaboration

A WebCenter is a single point of access designed to share resources throughout a company. So every interaction a company has with its customers, partners, employees and suppliers can be recorded and evaluated via a single source.

Being an Enterprise Portal 2.0, WebCenter enables powerful collaboration tools throughout any organisation. As such, it includes out-of-the-box components for team collaboration and enterprise social networking that are ready to plug into your enterprise portal.

For the purposes of this post, we’re going to focus on just one of those components: how to integrate a discussion forum.

A step-by-step guide to integrating a discussion forum into your WebCenter portal

Step 1:

Run the Managed Server WC_Collaboration. This is the server that allocates collaboration services as discussions and announcements.

Step 2:

Login in to: http://PortalURL:8890/owc_discussions/admin

Step 3:

Select Content from the menu and create the Categories and Subcategories you need. This will generate an ID for each category, making for simple integration later.

Step 4:

In JDeveloper, go to your Portal Application. In the Application Resources, right-click Connections then click Discussion Forums.

Step 5:

Type the name for your connection and ensure you select: Set As Default Connection.

Step 6:

In the next screen, type the URL of your Discussion Service, for example: http://PortalURL:8890/owc_discussions.

Note for admin user: if the security of your portal is set to default then set weblogic as the admin user.

Step 7:

Create a Page inside your Portal Project. This page is where you will integrate the Discussion Service.

Step 8:

Go to Resources Palette –> My Catalogs –> WebCenter Portal –> Service Catalog –> TaskFlows. Then drag and drop Discussion Forums to your Discussions Page.

Step 9:

You will need to set up at least one of the parameters shown in the taskflow property popup, for example:

  • categoryId: set the Category ID from the category you created at the beginning (recommended).
  • forumId: Setting this parameter will force the taskflow to show only the threads of this forum.

Step 10:

That’s it. You’re now ready to invite your colleagues to join the discussion.

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