Services

Services

Are you looking for an expert resource to fast-track your project? Need assistance supporting your existing IBM WCM implementation?

Pete specialises in IBM Web Content Manager (WCM) for Java and IBM WebSphere Portal Server. He also has a vast knowledge and experience of IBM Lotus Workplace Web Content Management (ILWWCM) (formerly known as Aptrix Content Server) for Lotus Notes (Domino Server).

He also has a very strong background in web standards & web technologies (HTML5 / Javascript / CSS3).

Pete can assist with the following processes:

IBM Web Content Manager Project

Whether you're planning a “proof-of-concept” design, you've recently purchased IBM WCM, or about to update an existing website, you need to have the right resources. You also need to be able to manage those resources efficiently, in order to meet project timeframes and get your website project up and running as quickly as possible.

Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.
— Thomas Alva Edison

Pete has been involved in several projects from the get-go, and is able to assist during all stages of a web project:

  • Analysis & Design - defining the Project Deliverables and Business Requirements.
  • Proof-of-Concept - proving whether or not the Project Deliverables can be achieved.
  • Installation & Configuration - integration with the existing Database & Security infrastructure.
  • Development - Components / Authoring Template / Presentation Template design.
  • Custom Development - bespoke functionality achievable through the use of the public API.
  • Deployment - syndication of the website Libraries from the Authoring to the Production environment.
  • Performance Tuning & Analytics - ensuring the installation is running efficiently.
  • Support and Maintenance - deployment of fixes & updates. Fixing content issues.

Analysis & Design

These sub-stages usually include:

  • Business Requirements - including operational, long term and website objectives. What will make the project a success? What is "In" / "Out of Scope"?
  • User Requirements - the Content Authors, Content Administrators and the visitors to the website. Have they been included in the discussions?
  • Site Navigation - how the content is structured within the website. Are the Content Authors able to find their content easily? Are the visitors to the website able to find the information quickly?
  • Content Taxonomy - the type of content being managed, and how it relates to other content. Are there variations of similarly grouped content? Example: News, Local News, International News, Financial News, Sport News, Technology News.
  • Workflows - the process by which the content is published. Who needs to approve the content? Does the content expire? Does the content need to be published on a certain date? Is versioning required? How many versions should be kept?
  • Library Architecture - depending on the security and the number of websites, one or several libraries may need to be created. Is it possible to re-use part or all of the design components? A common library perhaps?
  • Template Design - this includes the structure of the Authoring Template (the fields that the Content Authors populate) and the layout of the Presentation Template (how the fields of the Authoring Template are displayed).
  • Deployment - Development / Staging / Production (including Disaster Recovery / Failover) environments. How often should the Content be deployed and is pre-rendering an option?
  • Security Model - whether security is required to access some or all of the Content. Is anyone able to access the website - Anonymously? Also ties in with the Workflows, but should define the Groups responsible for Administering and maintaining the Content.
  • Language Options - language support and locale support. Dates / times and time zones displayed in the correct format.
  • Personalised Content - also related to the Security Model. Allows visitors to view a Personalised version of the website (MySite) or to present targeted information spots, based on a user profile.

Analysis and design is a key stage, which is often overlooked. Done properly, it can result in a website that is more maintainable and more efficient, saving money over the long term. Pete can offer assistance in all of the above areas.

Proof-Of-Concepts

Based on the above Business Requirements, timeframes and budget, is there functionality that may need to be “proven”?

Pete can either set-up a demonstration installation using the “Out-Of-the-Box” (OOB) default settings, or a suitable VMImage can be acquired from IBM (depending on hardware availability). This can be used to demonstrate the IBM Web Content Manager functionality, saving considerable time later in the project and ensures that what is listed as a deliverable, is actually deliverable.

The advantage of a VMImage is a self-contained data file, which can be backed up using the standard backup procedures. There is also no need for a dedicated server tying up resources.

Installation & Configuration

Pete can perform or assist with, the installation and configuration of IBM Web Content Manager. Any documentation produced can then be used to build the other environments (Staging / Production / Disaster Recovery) to minimise the installation costs and ensure correct knowledge transfer of the new system.

Each client's environment is often unique, however, these activities may include:

  • Installation of IBM WebSphere Application Server, IBM WebSphere Portal Server and IBM Web Content Manager
  • Integration of WebSphere Portal with an LDAP Server (Microsoft Exchange Server, Domino Directory, Active Directory, etc). Including Group / User lookups.
  • Integration and transfer of WebSphere Portal with a SQL Database Server (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2).
  • Fix Pack / Cumulative Fix installation
  • Email Integration
  • Ephox EditLive! Rich Text Editor enablement
  • Ephox Textbox.io Editor enablement
  • Versioning enablement / disablement
  • Web Content Integrator configuration for importing Content directly into IBM WCM
  • Configuration of Portal locale setting
  • Multi-threaded pre-rendering using WCM Render
  • Clustering

Development

Bear in mind that even though it isn't a requirement for Content Creators to have HTML skills, the Developers building the site need to know HTML and depending on the complexity of the site, JavaScript and Java (or JSP).

Pete has an excellent HTML5, Javascript, CSS3 and Java knowledge, as well as a clear understanding of how the IBM WCM Components operate both individually and when combined with other Components within Presentation Templates. He's able to quickly:

  • Create the required Libraries
  • Apply the correct Library security
  • Define a suitable set of naming conventions for Components
  • Create the required Workflows - including the Actions to perform, and Stages
  • Create the required Authoring Templates
  • Create the required Components and ensure they are reusable where possible
  • Design and implement the required Presentation Templates
  • Define a suitable set of CSS styles to be used throughout the site
  • Create the inline Authoring Tools
  • Enable Search

Custom Development

Occasionally, custom functionality is required in order to meet some of the Business Requirements. This may require the development of custom code (JSP) to be developed based on the IBM WCM API.

Pete has developed several custom JSP pages for clients and can either provide custom code for you, or provide pseudo-code for an “in-house” Java Developer to follow.

Deployment

Syndication is the process by which Content is moved from one environment (Development) to another (Production). This can be a troublesome process for many clients due to various reasons.

Pete is adept at troubleshooting the Syndication process. From communication failures, to detecting cyclic references and individual content item failures.

Performance Tuning & Analytics

This is a very important phase that is sometimes overlooked until after the website is launched. Performance Testing should be done as early as possible, preferably once Integration Testing in the Production Environment has been completed.

Pete can assist with the enablement and configuration of DynaCache, including JSP scripts to pre-populate the cache after a server restart.

Support and Maintenance

Updates to the software in the form of Cumulative Fixes and Fix Packs are released on a regular basis by the IBM Support Team. It is important to allocate time during the development phase and once the website has been launched. This ensures that the software is kept up to date. This is because:

  1. kept within IBM's Support Lifecycle - http://www-01.ibm.com/software/support/lifecycle/
  2. software bugs are fixed that could cause delays during the Development Phase
  3. functionality could be included “Out-Of-the-Box”, and therefore negates the need for Custom Development/div>

Pete has considerable experience in raising Problem Management Records (PMR) with IBM Support via the IBM Support Portal. Supporting documentation needs to accompany each PMR, detailing the steps required in order to reproduce the problem. If these are considered a bug, then a fix can be developed. If it is considered an enhancement to the product, then it can be raised via the IBM Software Representative.

Fix Packs often have a minimum Software Requirement, which needs to be met, in order for the product to upgrade successfully. Depending on the complexity of the Fix, the Custom Code and/or configuration settings need to be re-deployed once the upgrade is complete. Pete can advise which files need to be backed up to streamline the upgrade process.

Website Analysis

Is your website under performing or are your visitors frustrated that they are unable to find information quickly? Do changes to the website take a long time to implement? Is your website slow? Do you have a large number of Authoring Templates or Presentation Templates but only a relatively small amount of Content?

There are several important optimisations that can be implemented to improve performance. These may include ensuring the IBM WCM installation is correctly configured, the LDAP and Databases are tuned and that the standard WCM Components have been optimised to reduce the CPU overhead during rendering.

Pete can perform analysis of your existing implementation and recommend what improvements can be made. He has been involved in several redesigns of IBM Web Content Manager websites previously.

Domino Migration

Do you have a web-enabled Domino Database for your website storage? Have you moved to an alternative email system (Microsoft Exchange) but still have legacy Domino Databases that need to be migrated?

Pete has developed an exporter specifically to export an Aptrix or IBM Lotus Workplace Web Content Manager (ILWWCM) database into an XML or RSS feed file. This is RSS feed file is then processed by IBM's Web Content Integrator to import the Content items into IBM WCM.

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With a small amount of development, it could easily be modified to extract information from any Lotus Notes Database. Or any data source for that matter.

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Web Accessibility / Mobile Devices

It has been a legal requirement for UK websites to be accessible since 1999. Since then all websites have been expected to make "reasonable adjustments" to ensure their websites accommodate all users regardless of ability, disability.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) v2.0 document was published in December 2008 - http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/:

... Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general ...

Considering how your customers access your website is also still very important. Tablets and smart-phones are becoming more popular as functionality increases and prices decrease. Optimisation of website images, and separation of Presentation from Content alone can substantially decrease load times of pages across wireless networks, and reduce storage requirements for your website.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.
— Chinese Proverb

Pete has a very good understanding of the WCAG standards and can advise what checks should be performed on your website, to make it more accessible to user. He can also check that the HTML or XHTML produced, is correctly formatted and valid. Desktop web browsers can be very relaxed to formatting errors, however, for ongoing compatibility with mobile devices (including future technologies), the best time to start is now!