Posts Tagged ‘Tomcat’

A fix for WCI Collaboration WebEdit using Office 2010

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

As we saw a couple days ago, WebCenter Collaboration Server doesn’t work with Office 2010. The problem is rooted in the fact that WebDAV calls to Collab from Office 2010 aren’t strictly RFC-compliant because they’re missing a Content-Length header, and Tomcat rejects them because of that – even before Collab gets the HTTP requests.

Which got me to thinking: what if we could create an intermediate server that would add this header for us?   Then Tomcat would accept the connection and we’d be able to tell if Collab was able to “do its thing”. I started down the path of creating an Apache ProxyPass to do just this, when a friend and fellow Hak’er (Brian Hak) – who has been fighting his own fires with Collab these days – suggested that I try AJP. Even better, he pointed out, Collab’s default configuration settings allow you to turn this on by just flipping a switch; with it, we could then use mod_headers to add the Content-Length header.

Tip o’ the the hat to Brian for the AJP idea – it turns out that if Apache and AJP are handling the HTTP requests rather than Tomcat and its embedded web server, we don’t even need to muck with HTTP headers, as the request does NOT get blocked:

… and WebEdit (mostly) works in Office 2010!

I should warn you before proceeding: While I can absolutely say that WebEdit works in my test environment with Office 2010, .NET WCI Portal 10.3.0, on IIS 6, your mileage may vary, and I can’t guarantee this will work. I’ve found that Office 2007 has its own quirks – it works with the Collab Office Tools plugin in the ribbon bar, but not the out-of-the-box “save” implementation using Office’s own WebDAV calls. Perhaps that’s a post for another day, but early results show that while this hack doesn’t hurt Office 2007 support, it doesn’t seem to help either. Obviously, do extensive testing before even considering moving to a production environment.  Stay tuned for the next update in these pages, as there’s yet another database hack needed to make it fully functional.

Disclaimers out of the way, let’s dig in. Basically, what we’re going to do is:

  1. Install Apache Web Server on the Collab Machine, with the AJP plugin
  2. Configure Collab to accept AJP calls
  3. Configure the portal to send requests to Apache instead of directly to Collab (Tomcat)


WCI Collaboration Server Not Working in Office 2010

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

I’ve blogged a LOT about Collaboration Server, and have spent countless hours fighting with the WebEdit features – it’s the “bane of my existence“, a term I used because I thought “crime against humanity” was a little too strong.  More often than not I’ve thrown up my hands and said “sorry, fella, nothing to see here – it just plain don’t work”.  The problem is there are a near-infinite number of combinations, between the different versions of:

  • Plumtree / ALUI / WebCenter Interaction Portal (6.1, 6.5, 10.3.0,, 10.3/Neo)
  • Collaboration Server (4.2, 4.5, 10.3.0,, 10.3/Neo)
  • Windows (XP, Vista, 7), plus various patches
  • Office (2003, 2007, 2010), plus various patches
  • Application Servers (IIS, WebLogic, Tomcat)
  • Web Browsers (IE7 and IE8 – good luck if you have IE9, FireFox or Chrome)

Officially, Oracle only supports the following for WebEdit with version – the latest publicly available version: MS Office 2003 on Windows XP SP2; MS Office 2007 on Windows XP SP2. No Office 2010, no Windows 7. Even Office 2007 is patchy at best.

I’d heard enough complaints, and decided to dig in and try to figure out why one very specific combination doesn’t work: Office 2010 running on Windows 7 against an IIS 6 .NET portal running WebCenter Collaboration 10.3.0.  Here’s what the out-of-the-box install shows when trying to save a file opened through WebDAV:

Your changes were saved but could not be uploaded because of an error.  You may be able to upload this file using the server Web page.

Having not accepted that it was impossible to get WebDAV working in Office 2010, I’ve spent countless hours reverse-engineering Office’s WebDAV protocol, WebCenter Interaction gateway calls, Apache Tomcat protocol handling, and everything in between.

Based on my research, this hack may be helpful for other versions of Office, Windows, and Collab, but I can’t even guarantee the hack I’ll discuss in the next couple of days is perfect, even with these very specific versions.  Proceed at your own risk, and drop me a line if you’d like to discuss your specific situation.