WebSphere Portal FAQ - Part I


Here is the first list of interview questions on WebSphere Portal Server and related technologies.

Q1. What is the difference between Application Server and Portal Server ?

Application servers extend the ability of a Web server to handle Web application requests, and enables a server to generate a dynamic, customized response to a client request. A portal server extends the application server by providing a portlet container that can run portlets and to create portal a website that provides users with a single point of access to Web-based resources by aggregating those resources in one place.

Q2. What are the steps involved in deploying themes and skins in a clustered production WebSphere portal environment ?

  • Export the WebSphere wps.ear (Portal EAR) using wsadmin.
  • Use Ear Expander tool to expand the exported wps.ear file.
  • Copy the updated themes and skins into ../themes/html, ../skins/html folder.
  • Use Ear Expander tool to collapse the EAR directory into an EAR file.
  • Use wsadmin to update the wps.ear to complete the deployment of updated themes and skins.

Q3. What changes needs to be done to view changes to your theme and skins JSPs without restarting the portal server ?

You need to enable automatic JSP loading by setting reloadingEnabled property to true in ibm-web-ext.xmi file of the wps.ear.

Q4. What are the 3 different ways of installing a portlet application in WebSphere Portal ?
  • Install a portlet using the portal administration page using Web Modules portlet.
  • Install a portlet using xmlaccess tool.
  • Pre-deploy a portlet as a standard EAR by installing the portlet WAR file in WAS console and then registering the portlet using xmlaccess.
Q5. What is the purpose of XML Access configuration file Export.xml & ExportRelease.xml ? What is the difference ? & When will you use one over the other ?
  • Export.xml exports the complete portal configuration and useful when transferring configurations between development installations.
  • ExportRelease.xml exports the complete portal configuration from the release domain as required by the portal Release Builder tool and useful when transferring different release configurations between staging and production environments.
Q6. List me the steps involved in building a release in WebSphere Portal ?
  • If you have a completely new installation of the staging server and the production server:
  • Install the staging server, then install the production server.
  • Develop a release on the staging server.
  • Build the release on the staging server.
  • Empty portal contents on the production server by running the WPSconfig.sh|bat action-empty-portal task.
  • Import that release onto the production server. Refer to Transferring a complete configuration for information.
  • If you already have a production server without a staging system:
  • Export the release of your production server.
  • Install an empty staging server using one of the following two methods:
  • Install the staging server with the flag -W emptyPortal.active=True.
  • After installing and configuring the staging server, run the WPSconfig.sh|bat action-empty-portal task.
  • Import the production release onto the staging server. Refer to Transferring a complete configuration for information.
  • Develop and build a new release on the staging server.
  • Export that new release from the staging server.
  • Use Release Builder to generate the differential between the two releases.
  • Import the differential onto the production server.
Q7. What is the purpose of Release Builder tool in WebSphere Portal ?

Release Builder enables management of release configurations independent of user configurations and used during staging of follow-on releases of WebSphere portals, configurations, and artifacts need to be moved between systems.

Q8. What are the steps involved in editing Web Sphere Member Manager (wmm.xml) files on a federated node ?

  • On the primary node of the WebSphere Portal cluster, check out the files using ./WPSconfig.sh check-out-wmm-cfg-files-from-dmgr task.
  • Make any changes to the Member Manager files. The files can be edited in the portal_server_root/wmm directory on the WebSphere Portal node.
  • When you have completed your changes, check the files back in using ./WPSconfig.sh check-in-wmm-cfg-files-to-dmgr.

Q9. How to change the default portal URI /wps/portal after installation ?

Set the property WpsContextRoot to the new URI and run ./WPSConfig.sh modify-servlet-path task.

Q10. List different types of user registry supported by WebSphere Portal ?
  • LDAP (includes LDAP with an optional database user registry).
  • Database user registry.
  • Custom User registry, (non-LDAP, non-database).
Q11. What is LDAP realm support and why would I want to use it?

A Realm allows you to group users from one or more LDAP trees of one user registry and expose them as a coherent user population to WebSphere Portal; this is also referred to as horizontal partitioning. Realms allow a flexible user management with various configuration options; for example, you can combine principals from one or more corporate LDAP tree. A realm must be mapped to a Virtual Portal to allow the realm's defined user population to login to the Virtual Portal.

Q12. What is an Application group and why would I want to use it ?

Application groups is a concept that allows you to define user groups within the database user registry with members (users or groups) contained in the LDAP user registry you configured. The benefit of application groups is that you can create Groups that are only used in WebSphere Portal particularly in scenarios where there is Read-only LDAP or special group setup specific to the portal.

Q13. What are the two methods to install the empty staging WebSphere portal server ?

Empty portal contents on the staging server by running the ./WPSconfig.sh action-empty-portal.
Install portal with the ./install.sh -W emptyPortal.active="True" option.

Q14. How do you stop portal traffic to the node being upgraded in 24x7 cluster upgrade process ?

Locate the cluster member being upgraded, and change the value in the Configured weight column from a value to zero and make sure the plugin config information is propagated to webserver to stop traffic.

Q15. How to set limits on searches for users and groups ?

Setting a maximum number of search results maximumSearchResults="200" in wmm.xml

Q16. What portal resources are scoped for virtual portal ?
  • Portal pages.
  • Portlet instances.
  • Portal Search Engine search services and search collections. This includes the search content sources.
Q17. What portal resources can't be separated for virtual portal ?
  • Themes and skins.
  • Vault segments and vault slots.
  • Supported clients and markups.
  • Composite applications and templates.
  • Policies.
Q18. How do you enable temporary and extended trace logging for WebSphere Portal ?

Temporary traces can be set for a temporary period by using the administration portlet Enable Tracing or the IBM WebSphere Application Server administrative console and also using the Enable Tracing portlet in the portal administration page.

To enable extended trace settings for a longer period of time, that is, for more than one session, switch them on in the WebSphere Application Server configuration, save the updates and restart the portal server.

Q19. What are the different states of the syndication process ?
  • Idle: No syndication is occurring.
  • Pending: A request has been made to the syndicator, but it has yet to initiate a request to the syndication application.
  • Queued: The syndicator has sent a request to the syndication application, but syndication is not yet active.
  • Active: Syndication is occurring between the syndicator and subscriber.
  • Disabled: Syndication is currently disabled.
Q20. What are the two types of rendering portlets ?

Local rendering portlet and Remote rendering portlet.

Q21. What are virtual portals?

Virtual portal is same as base portal which can run on same JVM. We can have as many as 150 virtual portals in single installation. It will be separate in all respects but share the same system resource of the server.

Q22.What is syndication?

Syndication, (Web syndication in particular) is a ability to provide users updates of the content from the site. The most popular formats of web syndication are RSS and ATOM feeds.

Q23. What is local rendering and remote rendering?

The web content management portlets can be rendered local or remotely. A local rendering portlet displays content on the same portal as the instance where the web content manager is installed. A remote rendering portlet displays Web content on a different portal server than the instance where Web Content Manager is installed.

Q24. What are different steps in creating content for WebSphere portal WCM ?

The following are different steps involved in creating the content for the WebSphere portal WCM
  • Create Library
  • Create Workflow
  • Create Site area (Sites are removed in WebSphere Portal 7.0 and later versions)
  • Create Authoring templates
  • Create Presentation templates
  • Map authoring and presentation templates
Q25. What is the difference between personalization and customization ?

Personalization - It means to serve the user or consumer with user specific data depending on his interests collected over a time. A real world example would be google serving ads basing on the recent search you made.

Customization - It is ability provided to the user to change the layout, styling of the page and save it.

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