Sunday, April 5, 2009

Integrate portal ,forms and process server

As a lively and flexible SOA MVC solution, Lotus Forms to document the Form embedded in the Portlet in the Portal front-end and then through the Form to call the business layer flow on the server or service flow has been more and more SOA projects. This paper summarizes the author in the project integrated the above three products encountered in the design, installation and deployment of the application of problem that needs to be considered and give the author's experience and lessons for the same need to integrate the above three product development and design to provide a valuable reference design, as well as the experience of actual deployment.
Bird's-eye view solutions
In daily life, you may often come across such a situation: you want to apply for bank accounts or apply for a telecom business of the new business, to the counters, the front desk Miss you give a detailed form, you put all relevant information verbatim fill the form to the front after the young lady, she reviewed your information, tell you how long it can be opened within the Service, you smiled and turned to leave, this form will be the future Miss on a grid in front of her yard (one yard put a business grid application form). After a period of time the service personnel went Backgrounds Miss prospects here, take away your form, At this point, your application has been dealt with operational staff.
Well, in network-based society, and how all of it running? sitting in front of the computer browser information, when you have received a company a notice of new services, you decide to apply for this service immediately. So, you visit the Company's customized for your Portal page, and after landing to see their concern to all the relevant information (the latest discount promotions, your stock quotes, company's performance news, you subscribe to a variety of Service status, etc.). Click the button to apply for services, when, with the traditional application process, you still need to provide your personal information in detail, but this time you are faced with an electronic form (Form), when you fill in a good electron form, and click the submit button, you left the page to continue browsing other news. Backgrounds At the same time a "battle" has just started. Lotus Forms Server from the electronic form to extract the business-related information, and then re-combined into the system can identify the application request and put the request has been passed to the system ( "legacy systems" is very broad, it generally refers to the all need to be SOA solution to integrate existing traditional computer systems, which provide the traditional support of commercial operation of applications, including WebSphere ® Business Integration as the provision of workflow applications, DB2 ® Universal Database/DB2 Content Manager provided database applications, as well as some other types of flow applications, and so on).
At this time, as a company's CIO, he / she may be raised is the question, you said very dizzy, but it is in the end what kind of a solution so that its system architecture are what look like? It and other solutions have what difference will it make? Give users with such a solution then? To provide these solutions for the entire company's IT architecture affects how many? And as a technical staff, you are most concerned about the problem and the different: such a good user experience is how to achieve it? What kind of products to how to reach such an integrated effect? Achieve at such a solution is what I need to pay attention to some questions? This article will start this series of questions to answer and in accordance with the application of the author in the past experience and practice to make some helpful comments and suggestions.

This in the end are what kind of a solution? Its architecture is what the? Give users with such a solution then?
Are as follows shown in Figure 1, the solution using the MVC structure. It is a set of WebSphere Portal to provide single sign-on, safe, reliable, and can be customized for different roles of the flexible page. Lotus Form provided by standards-based e-forms, as well as the WebSphere Process Server for service-oriented architecture to support the functions. Through this set of integrated solutions, users can take advantage of these three products, all the advantages. They can at Portal page to find what they need clear standards for electronic forms, fill out and submit their required business needs, rather than legacy systems need to consider the complex business processes, WebSphere Process Server Since the flow of service completed in the background all of the action, and this flow of services click on their e-forms at the moment is automatically triggered, that is, customers need a clear easy and efficient business.
Such a solution based on the real implementation of the enterprise:
• To provide users with a unified public front-end to shield out all of the difference of the back-end implementation (using Portal to realize the "people" as the SOA entry point)
o Single sign-on, the standardization of user information
o Consistent browser navigation mode, topic styles
• At the right time people in the right display the corresponding content (with the role-related tasks, information and so on)
o For different users at different levels of access to support (employees, customers, partners)
• Saving application development and maintenance expenditure
o Because of sharing with a unified user interface, you will probably have to share the same set of SOA Stack, as well as the implementation of hardware and software platform for the sharing of
o Portal because of standards-based, you will have the opportunity to develop new applications to save expenses
• Set up a modular, hierarchical system architecture (to comply with software development best practices)
o For different layers of software design patterns to comply with a consistent definition of the design idea
• Provides a standards-based electronic forms services
• Provide services based on the flow treatment systems Backgrounds

To provide these solutions for the entire company's IT architecture affects how many? Compared with other solutions, this solution has what advantage?
SOA solution stack used a progressive approach to solve the problems faced by the system, here superimposed gradual approach is easy to say that first of all legacy systems through the application from the bottom-up analysis, application packaging and re-composition of Service (Service Components) was deployed to the WebSphere Process Sever. Use of superposition, a progressive approach to provide SOA solutions will not bring any burden on IT architecture, the original system applications do not need to modify will be able to reuse, and the new generation of service components can meet the additional requirements of protocol platform . IBM Lotus Forms family of products can provide the technology to make business deal with a more streamlined, reducing some of the inefficient flow of activities. As the most front-end window-Portal is not making any changes to existing systems, for the entire IT organization to provide a role-based management of the organization. In short, this solution enables IT staff, business organizations and even the users have the proceeds. It simplifies the management of flow, speed up application development speed, enhanced data integration, and increased availability.
To meet customer demand for services for the applications can have a variety of implementation methods, such as JSP prepared using traditional HTML-style form, the preparation of the business logic code in the Web, and so on. Can also be like the above-mentioned solutions, we are talking about the use of Lotus Forms as a form of Portlet components on at Portal to provide users with a unified interface services. 1 The following table lists several different applications for customer implementation services, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, it is clear description of the article at the beginning of solutions (corresponding to table Forms Zero Footprint solution) holds all the limelight .

Table 1. E-forms implementation approach comparative table
No Lotus Forms, prepared using traditional HTML spreadsheet The use of Lotus Forms provides an electronic form
• Only for a specific environment, specific equipment;
• Unable to meet the use of machinery and automation, internationalization and localization;
• Poor accessibility;
• Complex procedures required to support the preparation of input validation;
• Exist between data transmission and other issues; Multiple environments, multi-device support, the use of machinery and automation, internationalization and localization, accessibility, input validation, to avoid transmission of data to and from
IBM Lotus Forms Viewer IBM Lotus Forms Server

Forms Rich Client Solutions Forms Zero Footprint Solutions

• Can provide a lot of Zero Footprint Solution should not provide the function;
• Can work offline;

If the user base is not very extensive and very complicated form, or be required to work offline using this approach. • Do not need to install, but must have maintained a link between the server;
• Do not support rich-client solutions support the electronic signature technology.

When the user base may be distributed in a wide range of scope should be used in this way. Servlet and Portlet support in two ways Form of solutions.

At the back of the chapter we will progressively introduce such a good user experience is how to achieve and to set out implementation at such a solution when we need to pay attention to some problems.

Environment to install the necessary attention to some of the issues
Integration of these products, the first thing to consider a good solution for the deployment of the entire structure, and version compatibility issues, and then install the corresponding respective products, and then click integration required configuration property settings, parameters and variables, such as. Integrated Lotus Forms and WebSphere Portal and WebSphere Process Server detailed steps please refer to Forms and Portal Information Center, this article will not repeat the relevant content, are listed below in the required pre-installation environment consider two important reference point for a number of questions, please readers see the hands prior to installation.
Deployment problem
Recommend the installation of a typical installation are distributed (Figure 2), that is, Lotus Forms Server, WebSphere Portal Server and WebSphere Process Server separately in their respective WebSphere Application Server on the server (Note: Lotus Forms Server, WebSphere Portal Server and WebSphere Process Server are installed on the required WebSphere Application Server on top), and the Form of your application (Servlet / Portlet) installed on a separate WebSphere Application Server on. This is because Lotus Form Server, WebSphere Portal Server and WebSphere Process Server are consuming resources, if integrated with the three servers are installed on one machine will cause the allocation of resources and performance issues.

Version problem
Integration required to install all products should also pay attention to the issue of compatibility of products, The following table lists the integrated version of the minimum version requirements and recommend the version requirements, a reference work:

Table 2. Version compatibility table
WebSphere Portal
WebSphere Process Server
Lotus Form Server Aggregate

WebSphere Portal Version 6.0 WPS 6.0.1 (Business Process Choreographer 6.0.1) Lotus Form 2.5 or Later Minimum configuration
WebSphere Portal Version 6.0.1 WebSphere Process Server 6.0.2 (Business Process Choreographer 6.0.2) IBM Lotus Form 3.0.1 Recommend configuration

Note: If we want to XFDL Forms Application Portlet inside must use version 2.5 or above IBM Lotus Forms product.

Configuration required the deployment of attention to some of the issues
Document the deployment of e-forms
Want to file e-forms embedded inside the Portlet to display to users, it is easy to think of a question is put me in the form of electronic files on there? How to load, analytic as well as submit a tim e-forms do well?
In order to ensure the completion of the electronic form document Portlet load analysis, you need Lotus Form Server implementation has provided IBMWorkplaceFormsServerPortlet categories, e-forms load analysis by such methods in doViewEx completed (you will need to specify the Ways load of papers, as well as location), the electronic form of the implementation of Action is another method such processActionEx completed (at the back of the method will be discussed in the chapter). DoViewEx as well as how to achieve doViewEx working principle is not the focus of this article, you can refer to Lotus Forms Information Center Learn more relevant content.
We form the following documents for electronic storage location for discussion of small, in fact your electronic form documents can be stored in any location, as long as you doViewEx can be found at this location and find the file specified. However, under normal circumstances we will consider implementation Portlet following two options, according to its own projects readers can weigh the pros and cons of the situation, choose either:

Table 3. E-forms deployment table
Deployment location Advantages
Adapt to scene

Deployment to the Lotus Forms Server in an absolute position Translator paper and electronic form at the same machine, load faster; Electronic form of each document should be modified to re-upload new documents to electronic form server-side; Electronic form document fixed, will not make a lot of modifications, but the Portlet may be modified in accordance with business needs (such as modification of the treatment for Action, etc.);
Implementation of the Portlet packaged in WAR Electronic form documents and Portlet applications bound together, business logic and achieve a more modular; Each for the Portlet to modify the code when they have to put together electronic form documents simultaneously re-deployment; Portlet logic code fixed, will not make a lot of changes often do not want to e-forms server changes;

Calling Web Service Notes
Completion of the WebSphere Portal Server and Lotus Forms Server integration, a new swing at the question again in front of you, how to use this electronic form to call the background flow does?
Lotus Forms Product Group support for Web services call flow, but you want to expose the Web Service has a number of requirements, you will be exposed to flow into Web services must pay attention to these problems, the following is a list of the most common issues :
1. Web Service's Service and port names can not contain "_"; this is the longest encounter a problem, because RSA, RAD and WID automatically generated most of the service name and port name contains "_", the programmer at Prior to the use of these Web Service must be reconstructed on these names or on the Web Service before further Mapping into does not contain "_" service;
2. Web Service can not contain mandatory Headers, such as soap: mustUnderstand etc.;
3. Web Service can only use 46 kinds of simple data types, can not be easy to contain the definition of third-party types of extended data types;
More about Web Service restrictions please refer to Guide to Building and Integrating a Sample Workplace Forms Application.
XForms Submissions
Electronic form such as the deployment of a document described in resolving the location of the mission to resolve the electronic form, the next question before us is how to submit Web service requests. Lotus Form Viewer has a built-in Web Service Consumer support for Web Service calls, but Lotus Form Server does not support such a mechanism. However, Lotus Form Viewer and Lotus Form Server will support the use of XForms Submission to implementation of the Web Service call mechanism. The mechanism through HTTP messages (GET, POST or PUT) will be XML-compatible data transfer line into a Web Service request and response. Submission regarding how to define each property as well as directly related to property and Submission of data model instances (data model instance) the definition of methods please refer to Guide to Building and Integrating a Sample Workplace Forms Application As well as Lotus Forms Information Center.
Submission regarding the following chapters are the author of this e-form at debugging program called Web Services experience a problem.
At an embedded debug XForms Submission of electronic form document (one of the Submission is defined as Figure 3), I encountered a strange problem: in the Lotus Form Designer with built-in Viewer can be transferred to Web Service, but the switch to Lotus Form Server when Web Service is not fail. Because it requires the customer to submit a form in the post, it is necessary to update the entire Portlet page form prompts the user to submit status (success or failure), I would replace the property settings Submission for all, in order to achieve this demand. However, Lotus Forms Viewer and submit directly to the data passed to the URL (regardless of the value replace Dr Fu-cheng value) different, Lotus Forms Server will automatically replace = all ignored all the submission of the request URL. When all set to replace, the author of the URL will automatically be transferred to your written Portlet, so when you need to replace = all of the property, and your application scenes are Zero-Print Form (without Viewer), you will must be at Portlet Communication in Analytical Writing section of the data from the code examples or use DOMActivate to define the case.

At Portlet to remove some unnecessary buttons
The contents of this section is a study on the optimization problem of implementation. When the e-forms integration in Portal environment, you may no longer be required to access the electronic form may, at any time of its own (Save, Open) function, because for a particular business processes, with a fixed form requires users to fill in staff do not want to give the user too much permissions, and then collected a pile of garbage and not knowing what form. At this time you will need to turn off some of the features of Form button, such as one shown in the following list, you can form in the Form of Global Page Settings section, like the example set ufv_settings property as Save and Open button to turn off. This method also applies to same, such as turn off Print button. More about the optimal way ufv_settings See XFDL specification.

List 1. Shielded form the functional code


This article sums up to your integrated WebSphere Portal, Lotus Forms and WebSphere Process Server's experience and recommendations of the readers would like to have a certain degree of enlightenment.