Archive for the ‘WebCenter Interaction’ Category

Simplify WCI 10gR4 installs in IIS7 by dodging this bug

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Years ago I wrote about manually deploying WCI to IIS7 because the installer simply fails to do it, without reporting any error. In doing a recent 10gR4 upgrade, I came across this issue again and found that it’s actually a documented bug (login required):

When installing WebCenter Interaction 10.3.3 on IIS7 on Windows 2008 Server, the installer fails to configure the IIS application pool, web site, and virtual directory. The installer returns no error and there are none in the Windows event logs.

Turns out that the workaround is simple enough to get the installer to automatically deploy the portal to IIS7 – just enable the “IIS 6 Management Compatibility” service:
iis7-role-service-wci

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WebCenter Interaction and Internet Explorer 11

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

In our last post, we hacked support for IE11 into Collaboration Server. Today, we’ll look at a small tweak to fix some UI issues with Internet Explorer 11, because, you know, technically Oracle WebCenter Interaction only supports up to IE9 (forget about Chrome!):

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0, 6.0 SP1, 6.0 SP2 (on XP), 7.0 (on Vista), 7.0 SP2 (on XP SP2), or 8.0

Internet Explorer has followed a long tradition of screwing up web sites by changing the way it renders pages, and IE11 is no exception. For example, one of the sites I manage started rendering a squished navigation bar in IE11:
squished-navigation-webcenter-interaction

Rather than trying to hack code or anything, we’re left with a pretty good solution: force IE to use its old IE9 rendering engine. You do this by adding an HTTP response header to your portal pages:

X-UA-Compatible: IE=EmulateIE9

ie11-iis-wci

WCI 10gR4 (10.3.3) won’t work without a hotfix

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

I was recently helping a client upgrade from Plumtree 5.0.4 (!) to WebCenter Interaction 10gR4 (aka 10.3.3), and after running through all the DB upgrade scripts, the classic navigation was still showing this error:

Error displaying the Category tabs: -2147205114 – Invalid community id provided: 123 . The community does not exist or the user does not have access to it.

The strange thing about the error was that the “Community ID” shown in the error message is actually the ObjectID of the first PAGE in the community, not the community itself.

wci-10gR4-hotfix

After doing all the standard debugging and ruling out the DB upgrade scripts, it turns out that this is a known issue (KB article 1422352.1, Bug 13775312 – login required). It is resolved with Hotfix 14745949 (login required), which addresses other issues such as:

  1. UNINSTALLING ONLY AUTOMATION SERVICE CAUSES THE PTPORTAL DIRECTORY TO BE REMOVED (Issue 14745949)
  2. FIX FOR BUG 9691984 CAUSES PERFORMANCE DEGRADATION IN AUTH SYNC (Issue 14565631)
  3. COMMUNITIES WITH MORE THAN ONE PAGE WILL ERROR IN CLASSIC UI (Issue 13775312)
  4. ORACLE WCI PORTAL CANNOT COMMUNICATE WITH PORTLET REMOTE SERVER VIA SSL (Issue 13332531)
  5. PORTAL MEMORY LEAK IN SEARCH CLIENT – BASIC/ADV SEARCH, SNAPSHOT QUERIES (Issue 12988569)
  6. HTTPSTREAMPARSER CANT FIND END OF RESPONSE HEADERS CAUSING NETWORK FAILURES (Issue 12677959)
  7. HIGH CPU USAGE FROM QUERYD WHEN ONE OF THE NODES IS RESTARTED (Issue 12578166)
  8. ENABLE FUNCTION TRACING AND CLEAN UP LOGGING FOR FUTURE EASIER DEBUGGING (Issue 12382745)
  9. ADVANCED LAYOUT EDITOR: WIDE PORTLETS ARE NOT ACKNOWLEDGED IN ONE-COLUMN LAYOUT (Issue 10199005)
  10. LDAP PWS SYNC JOB PERFORMANCE AND STABILITY IMPROVEMENTS (Issue 7822564)

Happy New Year 2013! Y2k13 bug time…

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

From your friends at Integryst, Happy New Year!

It’s been a while since I last posted, and thought an appropriate way to kick off the new year was to share a Y2k13 bug in WebCenter Interaction. Well, it’s not a bug per se, but way back in the augts, 2013 seemed a long way away. So the wise developers at Plumtree, when faced with choosing a date infathomably far in the future, chose January 1, 2013 as the hard-coded expiration time for Automation Server Jobs:
wci-create-job

This means two things: First, when creating jobs on your ancient WebCenter Interaction/Aqualogic User Interaction/Plumtree portal, you’ll have a couple more clicks to set the “Do Not Run After” value sufficiently far in the future, or you’ll get an error saving the job because the expiration time is in the past. (2015 is plenty far, right? If you’re not feeling that lucky, I suggest 2099 so your grandkids can worry about the Y3k bug).

The second thing it means is that many of your jobs probably stopped running three days ago, because when you created them you probably left the default value in there for the expiration time. There’s no quick fix for this, but after the break I’ll share some tips on how you can reschedule these jobs. (more…)

Application Server Sessions

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

WebCenter Interaction 10gR3 included these lines in the release notes:

Security and SSO
• Session fixation vulnerability. (Issue #7824904)

But what does that mean? First, let’s take a look at how sessions work on the World Wide Interwebs. By their very nature, web browsers are “stateless”. This means the CLIENT (web browser) makes a request to the SERVER, gets its information (a web page or image, for example), and closes that connection. The next time it makes the request, the server has no context from the previous request. To get around this, Netscape is credited with inventing the session cookie, which basically works like this:

  1. Web browser makes request to server the first time.
  2. Server realizes no “session” exists, so it creates a “blob of memory” to reserve for that user. It then creates a “key” that it sends to the browser in the form of a cookie in its response.
  3. The next time the browser makes a request, it sends that cookie. The server reads it and maps the cookie to the “blob of memory” that can contain anything, such as the login information of the user, or that user’s shopping cart.
  4. After a period of time (usually 15 minutes), the server realizes it hasn’t heard from the client and clears that memory to conserve resources.

Generally that “key” that we mentioned above is known as the “session ID”, and it’s usually passed in a cookie. But because not all browsers support(ed) cookies, a workaround was to allow the cookie to be passed on the query string. The problem is, if I know that session ID, I don’t even have to log into the web site you’re accessing – I can just send your cookie to that web site, and it will map my request to that “blob of memory” on the server that belongs to you – complete with your shopping cart or access to whatever private portal resources you had access to.

This is a pretty vague oversimplification, and if you’re interested, Wikipedia has decent articles on sessions and session fixation. WCI 10gR3 took additional measures to counteract the problem. Because it’s not open-source, it’s not easy to determine exactly what their solution was, but it involves clearing a session key when the user navigates away from the portal.

The problem is: what if clearing the session isn’t expected behavior? I ran into this exact scenario with a client using AquaLogic User Interaction (ALUI) trying to upgrade to WebCenter Interaction 10gR3. They had a custom SSO solution that redirected the browser to a login page at another domain. The server would redirect the browser to the new URL and the user would login there. After login, the browser would redirect back, but the original session had been deleted.

Bottom line: for most Plumtree installations, the 10gR3 upgrade is more secure and feature-rich. But use caution when applying this patch when you’ve got a custom SSO solution in-place, and test well before go-live!

Running WebCenter Interaction on 64-bit Windows

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Technically, WCI 10gR3 and previous versions aren’t supported on 64-bit Windows. WebCenter Interaction 10gR4 does support 64-bit, but not every item in the stack got a refresh (ahem, Publisher).

But, aside from this blog, which is running WordPress, the rest of this site has been running 10gR3 on Windows 64-bit without a problem. Everything pretty much installs normally, with the exception of the portal itself on IIS. In order to get that running, you’ll need to run a tweak or two. Specifically, you’re going to want to configure IIS to run 32-bit applications.

There’s a Microsoft Knowledge Base article on how this is done. Basically you just need to:

1) Enable 32-bit applications

cscript \inetpub\adminscripts\adsutil.vbs SET W3SVC/AppPools/Enable32bitAppOnWin64 1

2) Install and register 32-bit .NET 2.0

\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v2.0.50727\aspnet_regiis.exe -lk

3) Enable 32-bit .NET 2.0 in IIS Configuration manager

Go Poke Yourself

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Hear that? Listen close – do you hear that fog horn in the distance? Yeah, that’s the one. THAT, my friends, is the sound of WebCenter Interaction totally missing the boat on Enterprise Social Networking.

As proof of this, let’s take a look at the relatively new Activity Stream feature in WebCenter Interaction. It’s a fantastic concept and the core of ANY Social Media platform (ala the “Facebook Wall”) – you want to know who’s doing what to whom and when. Simple, right? And from what I’ve seen, it’s actually pretty well implemented with security and RSS feeds, and has a tiny bit of documentation. The Activity Service has always come with the User Activities Service, which is like a micro-blogging application with some of the functionality and none of the good looks of, well, ANYTHING on the market today.

WCI 10gR4 (Neo) introduced the “Enterprise Poke” application in its Portlet Suite, which is so comically bad I’m kicking myself for even looking at it and blogging about it – but hopefully this post will save you the time and effort to set it up. Really, this is pretty much all it does:

.. and when you pick one of those, it posts to the users Activity Stream so you get to see this assault on the visual cortex:

A decent sample app to show you how to build your own micro-blogging awesomeness, maybe. But this Enterprise Poke thing doesn’t even include the source code, so not only do you not get useful sample code, but you get a completely worthless application that will get you lynched by your users. Or maybe they’ll all just “throw a stapler at” you.

*sigh*. Keep on keeping on, friends, looking for WCI to live up to its Enterprise 2.0 promise.
(more…)

FREE Knowledge Directory Portlet in WebCenter 10gR4

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The Knowledge Directory has always been an instrumental part of the Plumtree / ALUI / WebCenter stack, and several vendors – Integryst included – have made strides in enhancing its functionality over the years by providing a more Windows Explorer-like interface. Adaptive Layouts were nice for getting part of the way there, but until now, Oracle never had an AJAX-type solution.

With Neo, that all changes. The new Knowledge Directory portlet – part of the new Neo Portlet bundle – is a decent portlet that provides most of the expected functionality:

It even has a pretty solid configuration screen (for both admin and personal settings) to choose a base folder, properties that you’d like to have presented, and some formatting options:

You’ll find a special offer after the break if you’re so inclined…
(more…)

WebCenter Interaction 10gR4 New Features, Still No Sign of Resolved Issues

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

When Neo (10gR4, for those who are counting) came out (and then REALLY came out), word on the street was that there were 200 “bug fixes”, but we never got official word of what those work, like we’ve seen in the past.

I wish I could tell you in the four intervening months that I’ve seen such a document, but sadly, I still haven’t. It does seem, though, that since then, some updates were made to Oracle’s What’s New section of the release notes, so, you know, there’s that.

Officially, as of this writing here are the latest updates:

  • Support for .NET 3.5 and Java 1.6
  • Support for Intel 64-bit on Windows and Linux
  • New adaptive tags supporting multi-level menus and trees, adaptive tag caching, higher level logic tags, and adaptive tag sample portlet
  • Advanced search adaptive layout page
  • Support for displaying Pagelet Producer pagelets in Oracle WebCenter Interaction
  • New KD portlet
  • Tagging Engine
  • Native RSS integration
  • New password management features

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be diving into some of these features, as well as Collaboration Server and any other new stuff we can find. Stay tuned!

Installing NEO, aka WebCenter Interaction 10gR4

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

So, now that we’ve got WebCenter Interaction 10gR4 downloaded, you’re probably wondering how things look. Well, because it’s just a point release (and probably the LAST one), don’t expect much in the way of dramatically new stuff.

The installation process for the portal will be pretty familiar to those of you who’ve done any before, although there are a LOT of new options, as Oracle has chosen to bundle together most of the new stuff into three uber-installers (Portal, Collab, Analytics).

The portal installer in particular really throws in everything and the kitchen sink – even things like the IDK and Documentum Crawlers are all bundled in there:

Details after the break. (more…)