Posts Tagged ‘10gR3’

Running Plumtree Portal on IIS7 and Windows Server 2008

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

The latest version of WebCenter Interaction (aka Neo, or 10gR4) officially added support for IIS7 and Windows Server 2008. But WCI 10gR3 – or (gasp!) Aqualogic User Interaction or Plumtree don’t since IIS 7 didn’t exist way back then. We’ve discussed how to get these older revisions working on 64-bit Windows, but many of you don’t have the luxury of upgrading Plumtree or have cancelled your support and maintenance contracts (and, if you haven’t, why not?) .

Still, time marches on, new application servers and operating systems are introduced, and your server team is antsy to get you to upgrade what you can. So, today’s post is about getting older versions of WCI working on IIS7 and Windows Server 2008. It’s – of course – not officially supported, but from my testing with WCI 10gR3 it seems to work OK. Your mileage may vary, and I can’t say I’ve actually supported a production environment running 10gR3 in this configuration yet, so proceed at your own risk.

The problem starts with the portal installer – you’re likely to see something like the following lines in your error logs:

“E:\bea\alui\installlogs\portalappserver_deployment.log”(51,13): [echo] ERROR: Web Site Default Web Site does not exist. Virtual directory cannot be created.
“E:\bea\alui\installlogs\WebCenter_Interaction_InstallLog.log”(38038,51): Additional Notes: FATAL ERROR – ANT post-installation action returned an error. See e:\bea\alui\uninstall\ptportal\10.3.0\register\configmgr_config-setup.log for details.
ANT Post-install Check:
Status: FATAL ERROR
Additional Notes: FATAL ERROR – ANT post-installation action returned an error. See e:\bea\alui\uninstall\ptportal\10.3.0\register\configmgr_config-setup.log for details.
ANT Post-install Check:
Status: FATAL ERROR
Additional Notes: FATAL ERROR – ANT post-installation action returned an error. See e:\bea\alui\uninstall\ptportal\10.3.0\register\configmgr_setup-service.log for details.
e:\bea\alui\uninstall\ptportal\10.3.0\register\configmgr_setup-service.log:
BUILD FAILED
E:\bea\alui\uninstall\ptportal\10.3.0\register\register-configuration-manager.xml:191: java.io.FileNotFoundException: E:\bea\alui\configmgr\2.0\bin\configmgr.url (The system cannot find the path specified)

Basically, this is telling you that the installer wasn’t able to deploy the web app to IIS7. But, it does copy all of the appropriate files, so they’re ready to be deployed manually. Read on for the steps to get started in getting your old portal working with the latest IIS Application Server… (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

Cool Tools 6: IE Web Developer 2

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

After upgrading from ALUI 6.1 to WCI 10gR3, all of our portlets looked … wrong.  The background color had reverted the blue, and they were cutting off on the right side so you couldn’t see the toolbar buttons.  Strangely, this was only happening in IE, so we weren’t able to use Firefox’s FireBug.  Fortunately, there’s a similar type of tool offered by IEInspector Software called IE Web Developer 2.

Similar to FireBug, it offers basic HTTP tracing, JavaScript debugging, and, in this case, DOM/CSS analysis.  This allows you to higlight an item on the page – in this case, a portlet – and view all the styles applied to that item.  it also shows you where the style definitions are coming from:

Using it, we were able to determine that the CSS files had changed, and there was an addition of “table-layout:fixed’ and a ’background-color’ definition in the CSS definitions for the column layouts.  Removing these definitions from the CSS restored the look and feel back to the way we had prior to the upgrade.

How did we update the hundreds of CSS files we had?  Well, that’s a post for another day… (more…)

WebCenter Patch and Hotfix Round-up

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

I’m tempted to put Oracle’s support center (support.oracle.com) on my Wall of Shame. It really is ridiculous. It’s slow, buggy, Flash-based, un-indexable by major search engines, unorganized, and overwhelming because it includes ALL Oracle products without any way to filter on only the ones you want.

But today I’m in a good mood, and am going to be a “glass-is-half-full” kind of guy. If you can get past the ridiculousness, there is a lot of good information up there. In particular, if you know how and where to look, there are a bunch of patches and hotfixes that you may not even know exist.

So first, to find hotfixes, log in to http://support.oracle.com/, then click “Patches and Upgrades” (or you can search by Patch IDs, listed below). Next, click “Product or Family (Advanced Search)” in the “Patch Search” portlet. Start typing WebCenter and you’ll get a list of WCI products to click on:

Choose a product, then pick a release and OS, and you’ll get a decent list of patches:

Because of the whole Flash thing, you can’t just Google these things, which is personally my biggest complaint. And you have to use this kludgy interface to go through each product one at a time. So after the break, I’ve compiled a handy list of the latest WebCenter Interaction 10gR3 patches that you might not be aware of. Happy patching! (more…)

“I’m nawt dead yet!”: WCI getting some love at Oracle?

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Woah, what’s this?  Perhaps rumors of WebCenter Interaction’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.  The Little Portal That Could seems to have gained a foothold – however slight – in an Oracle site at communities.oracle.com.

I don’t really know how long this has been available – or even if it’s an official Oracle site - and maybe you’ve already heard of it.  But I think it’s promising that at least the old AquaLogic User Interaction is getting some mindshare over at the Oracle mothership.

Ironically, this portal is still BEA’s ALUI version 6.5:

alui-6-5

.. and not Oracle’s WebCenter Interaction (10gR3).  It would have been even neater if this was a preview release of the much-fabled 11g, but I’m not complaining.  The site does look pretty interesting in an “Enterprise 2.0-y” kind of way and appears to have some neat social features such as tagging, profiles, and a much more integrated Collab (if it’s even Collaboration Server at all?).  Maybe this will some day replace that terrible flash-based support.oracle.com site?  A person can hope…

Check it out at http://communities.oracle.com/ - your support credentials should work to get you logged in:

oracle-communities

Finally, special thanks to Monty Pyton, Mark Twain, and, uh, The Little Engine That Could for providing the mixed metaphore fodder above…

(more…)