Delivering Exeptional Web Experiences with ILWCM ebook

An "ebook" was released by Ascendant Technology in conjunction with IBM on using IBM Web Content Manager as the basis for delivering exceptional web experiences.  I quoted the word ebook because this is more of an advertising slick or marketing white paper than an ebook.

Being 20 pages long including the cover and back, it walks you through 5 steps:
  1. Introduction
  2. Create & Design
  3. Collaborate
  4. Target & Optimize
  5. Resources

It does a good summary of why IBM Web Content Management can help the lifecycle and process of managing web content for your site. With the premise of ebook I expected more technical detail and less marketing inside.
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    On Monday, April 18th, 2011   by Chris Miller        


Well the 4 day training class on the Java version is over.  The last day covered security, some talks on staging and covering what was missing.

  • No view was there for just users or just groups.  They were all placed in one index.
  • The actual documentation for the class suggests putting "(  )" around the names to help sort groups to the top.  Not a good way to do things.  I should have a user, group and all view available from the index.
  • Two people could edit the same group at the same time. There was no locking and the last person to save got an error warning of a conflict.  Confusing at best
  • A cache problem with the browser, across numerous machines.  You would find that after using the interface a long time during the day, no amount of refresh would update the index you needed to access.  Preventing you from grabbing some component, group or area you just added.  A restart and logging back in the browser was necessary..

  • You can lock a document when pushing it back though the approval process.  However, only one copy at a time may be back in draft status for the same part of the published site.
  • As I mentioned before, everything you do needs a refresh as you go along.  So to have good practice, just refresh everytime you have added items and wish to leave an index in the navigation.
  • Security can be added to any part of a site, workflow, stage or design can be done.  In order to get to see a portion of content, a person or group needs access to all the components that make the page.

Staging was particularly interesting as you could have multiple development areas in one installation or totally separate servers.  Partial content may be places on staging servers allowing only certain users access.  The help files did not accurately give instructions on configuring this architecture, but synchronization and syndication seemed to be a large part.

To summarize, I like the product and can't wait to see the enhancements that will and can be done.

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    On Tuesday, June 21st, 2005   by Chris Miller        

ILWWCM Days #2 and #3

Some areas went quite well as we deployed and customized more components, content and areas of the site.  Other areas were not quite so lucky.  Read back a couple days if you missed the posting on Day #1

  • The search never did work right.  Even the demo site that comes gave the exact result we were getting.  I took this as a good sign that we created the necessary components and design, but something on the server end wasn't acting right.
  • Next up was the dynamic menus.  They are supposed to build as you go along and change as you modify site areas.  With the proper filters they are quite powerful.  Now they do eat more resource than some navigators, but you have to weigh which one is appropriate for your usage on the site.  We had some trouble getting the menus to appear at first.  Even after going back over the config about 3 times.  Then they just suddenly appeared.  Wierd.
  • Not enough error checking.  You are able to type in forms, components and other items even if they are spelled wrong or do not exist.  Sure, that is good while building, but something information at least would be a benefit.  You try to paste as much code as possible that you grab from other places, but when entering new, it is up to you to recall "/> is the way to close certain tags.
  • The desire for multiple instances of the same document in draft status while in workflow.  We found instances where this would be appropriate.
  • The constant refresh necessary bit us more than once today.  Sometimes you have to entirely close your browser because even though you can see it in the view, ti won't show in selections.  Restarting the browser takes care of that.

  • The power of the software showed through today as we applied workflow and pushed pages to "Next Stage" throughout the machines.  The site administrator can come in at any time and move things along if necessary which is a nice touch.  In case someone takes their time or even goes on vacation.  Of course, a timed stage could be used, but it was not appropriate for the workflow we were building.
  • Browser-based work for most everything (outside of developing Java and other components) makes life easy
  • The template based approach makes changing entire sites awesome.  The ability to change the template on the fly works great for testing.
  • The stages that wrap security inside make working with drafts nice
  • The ability to grab a component for a full page layout/design or randomly pull components in as content on pages.  That allows some cool things to be tossed in where needed
  • The dynamic and content driven navigators!!  I can't say much more there.  If you format them properly, they give off some stunning effect.  Plus as site areas change, you never had to go back to the navigator component and update unless you are providing some filtering.
  • Version control and the ability to push a version back into production
  • The ability to manipulate multiple sites and share some common components and design all at the same time.
  • You know, there is some more but wait for tomorrow's posting on this.

I know I am listing some of the downsides also, but I am just playing fair.

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    On Thursday, June 16th, 2005   by Chris Miller        

ILWWCM day #1

Here we start with IBM Lotus Workplace Web Content Management (ILWWCM) postings.  This is the first day of instructing a 4 day class on the Java version of the product.  There is a Domino based one I teach in August (I think).  Take all these, as I ramble through, with more than a grain of salt, but an appreciation for the product so far.

The good
  • Overall, I love what the product offers in terms of site management.  The ability to define numerous sites, and then site areas is a great beginning.  But if you do not plan out the site architecture and the taxonomy, it is all a waste of time.
  • You can create numerous, or better yet, a single site plan.  Then let the users only update content.  What a win.  Content management without opening the ability to change layout.  Also, divisions, departments and even subsidiaries can be forced to follow this common theme and layout while taking the workload off of you to update it all.

The bad
  • No logout button as one would expect in an application this powerful.  No really, none.  You close the browser to log out.
  • If you accidentally close the launch window, you also close out the administration panels.  A couple students did that
  • This one should stand out.  The navigator does not fit the way you should work through implementing a site.  To have it make some sense, here is a quote.
When planning and designing a site with the Lotus Workplace Web Content Management, the Information Architecture (IA) of your Web site must be defined.

Unfortunately this is not the first section in the navigator for the product.  It happens to be the third.  Where I am going with this is that the layout of the administration navigator should follow the way a site is implemented. (this is all subjective to me of course)

Image:ILWWCM  day #1

The ugly
  • One nerve racking thing is the refresh. If you do not remember to refresh everytime you add some element to the product, it is not available as a selection anywhere else.  Confusing at best.
  • While working in Content Templates, I accidentally found you can save things with the same exact name with no prompt or warning.  This occurs all over the product.

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    On Tuesday, June 14th, 2005   by Chris Miller        

Theme blogging

I have done this once before when I did a string of Dynamic Client Configuration (ndyncfg.exe or DCC for those counting) topic postings in a single week time.  It proved to be highly successful and is still one of the highest hit topics for Google and site searches on here.  So I decided that every so often I will continue that idea of theme blogging.

I am basing that on the possibility I am working on a project, customer inquiries or I have been reading/learning a new piece.  So sit back and relax as this week we will dip into IBM Lotus Workplace Web Content Management - Java side.  Installation, configuration and just general management.

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    On Monday, June 13th, 2005   by Chris Miller        

ILWWCM and your JRE version

I figured I should finish out some more words on ILWWCM since it was a nice running topic with far too much to talk about.  During the install last week for 2.0 there was some notations for supported JRE versions for the product.  They had a list of 'supported', but one that was 'recommended'.  Well the machine I was working on already had a higher supported version installed so I went with that.  Now it all seemed to work well, but others complained of some things not functioning.  So I went and grabbed the list of JRE versions but product version for ILWWCM.  Here you go:
Lotus Workplace Web Content Management 1.1
  • JRE 1.3.1_03
  • JRE 1.3.1_06
  • JRE 1.3.1_08
  • JRE 1.3.1_09
  • JRE 1.4.0_01
  • JRE 1.4.1_05

Lotus Workplace Web Content Management 1.1.1
  • JRE 1.3.1_03
  • JRE 1.3.1_06
  • JRE 1.3.1_08
  • JRE 1.3.1_09
  • JRE 1.3.1_11
  • JRE 1.4.0_01
  • JRE 1.4.0_04
  • JRE 1.4.1_05
  • JRE 1.4.1_07
  • JRE 1.4.2_03
  • JRE 1.4.2_04

Lotus Workplace Web Content Management 2.0
  • JRE 1.3.1_03
  • JRE 1.3.1_06
  • JRE 1.3.1_08
  • JRE 1.3.1_09
  • JRE 1.3.1_11
  • JRE 1.4.0_01
  • JRE 1.4.0_04
  • JRE 1.4.1_05
  • JRE 1.4.1_07
  • JRE 1.4.2_03
  • JRE 1.4.2_04

Almost a mouthful isn't it?

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    On Monday, November 15th, 2004   by Chris Miller        

ILWWCM dreams and some reader feedback

I received a few emails on people dealing with the IBM Lotus Workplace Web Content Manager (ILWWCM) installations and wondering the best path to take.  But the best was an email telling what might be expected in future releases.  Keep in mind these are written in stone yet though.
it provides an automated installer amongst other new features - a Portal-based authoring UI, LDAP support for authors (through Portal)

So there is one thing I really would like to see, and I even commented on.  A more automated install.  I would rather have a nice long set of GUI screens where I enter data, that I can guarantee will go in the right place in the config files.  This way there is no guessing and missing.  Plus, there can be a nice final screen showing all the choices I made that should be easily comparable to a sheet from the install guide showing a sample basic installation.

Imagine a world free of touching config files? Almost like a Willy Wonka story isn't it?

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    On Thursday, November 11th, 2004   by Chris Miller        

ILWWCM question follow-up from the comments

Declan Lynch posted a good question in response to my posting yesterday.  He asked the following:
I'm currently doing a lot of work on the Domino version of LWWCM. The installation is a lot easier and is the better option if you already have a Domino infrastructure to take advantage of.  In terms of failover and load balancing how does the Java edition fair out ?

That is a fair question to ask actually and the answer can be the same depending on how you are storing the back end content.  Keeping in mind that the actual server itself still relies on Websphere, you must cluster there also to have the same availability that you would expect from Domino.  We won't even consider network issues yet.

I think that this part of the product has not been explored or addressed fully yet by IBM/Lotus.  They do get into caching, but not nearly enough for me to be comfortable with configurations and expectations of caching yet.

So to answer the question in simple terms before my brain wanders, I think they fair exactly the same at this point.  This reminds me of Sametime before Community Clusters were fully understood but yet people were looking to this to scale.

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    On Tuesday, November 9th, 2004   by Chris Miller        

ILWWCM installation completed and my thoughts

I started talking about the IBM Lotus Workplace Web Content Management 2 installation last week.  At that point in time I was incredibly frustrated also since the Citrix servers we were using for the installations decided to go AWOL on me.  Later on Thursday evening it was back and I was back to work.

After a brief walk, much "shoot the monster' on the PS2, my head was clearer and I could get back to working with the configuration files.  I don't much like the effort of having to go into text editor for .properties and .cfg files to place absolute paths.  There was even a large environment variable that had to be manually entered into the Windows system.  That to me just seems wrong that the install package doesn't account for that yet.  Troubleshooting a typographic error there could take some time.  Troubleshooting ones in the text editor is much simpler.

So, getting back to the story.  You have to place the path where you place ILWWCM files, the node information for Websphere in some places, the host name (for gosh sakes) and definitely the port information over and over.  I would think it should come with the host name (pulled from what you type in during install) and append the port.  Then there could be specific instructions on how to modify it outside of the standard if you so desire.  I did a lot of Find-Replace commands with Wordpad as I went through the instructions.

There are also lines that you comment and uncomment with the # sign, but that is not so unusual and did not concern me as much since this is not a GUI type managed configuration.

But once installed, the management screen was consistent throughout the steps I went through on customization.  Some of the menu items were not easy to grasp at first why you only saw certain documents, but flipping around I could find what I wanted.

More later, phone........

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    On Monday, November 8th, 2004   by Chris Miller        

IBM Lotus Workplace Web Content Manager 2 install

I am going through my first ILWWCM 2 installation.  This in turn brings back headaches and memories of my Lotus Workplace Messaging installation I talked about here.  So I am finding that the config files in the documentation still need a bunch of work and much of this should be automated.  There is too many config file changes that should be configured through GUI or part of the install itself.
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    On Thursday, November 4th, 2004   by Chris Miller