What is a Theme in Portals?

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Themes represent the overall look and feel of the portal, including colors, images and fonts. Each page in the portal may have a different theme associated with it, thereby creating the appearance of virtual portals. Use the Themes and Skins under Portal User Interface to manage themes from portal console.

You can add your own elements to the HTML portal page and rearrange the layout by creating a new theme and changing the layout in Default.jsp and the JSPs that are included.

For most requests, the portal page is rendered starting with Default.jsp in the /themes directory. The only exception is when the request has been modified by a newWindow="true" parameter. In this case, the page is rendered using Plain.jsp. Plain.jsp is normally used to render portlet help or for portlets that use the iFrame skin.

Default themes

For HTML, the following themes are provided by WebSphere Portal.
  • Portal theme - This is the default theme for WebSphere Portal and is a full-featured theme that demonstrates all available theme functionality.
  • Minimal theme - This theme, located in the root themes/html directory, is a minimal "safe" fallback that includes only the minimum required to render a functioning portal. It does not include all of the functionality available in WebSphere Portal, such as drag and drop and context menus. This theme is not intended for normal use, and is not explicitly defined as a theme by name, but rather only exists as a fallback should there be a problem with the main portal theme, and also as an example of a minimal theme.
  • Portal Web 2 theme - This theme showcases Web 2.0 functionality in WebSphere Portal. Taking full advantage of AJAX and JavaScript, this theme features a rich user experience on the client with partial page updates and inline portlet editing.
Note: If the Portal theme directory is either deleted or renamed, the portal resource loader uses the themes/html/Default.jsp. In this case, you should also use the fallback skin. To do this, rename the skins directory. For example, the skins\html\IBM directory should be renamed skins\html\IBM1. If you have a broken theme, you can rename the theme and skin directories which are causing the problem to get to a working minimal theme.

Customizing themes and skins in IBM WebSphere Portal

Here is a very good article from IBM on Customizing themes and skins in IBM WebSphere Portal: A case study.

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