Monday, April 04, 2005

To hell with the Weblogic Workshop

With the development of JSR 168, we had seen some really beautiful dreams. There will be a world where vendor neutralization will be everywhere. Anyone will be able to take portlets from one portal and will be able to deploy it in another portal. It will be as good as web application porting. And during this beautiful dream, here comes the devil – the spec violation and making so many additions to make interoperability non-interoperable.

Why I am talking about my nightmare here. Isn't I am using the Weblogic workshop for a while now? What happened, have they said 'no' to sponsor some of my project? :-) Though we are using the Weblogic workshop for portlet development for quite a while, but I was not directly involved in the development. I mostly use IBM WSAD or Eclipse for JSR 168 portlet development. The real reason behind this sudden agony is that I had to deploy the portlet developed using Weblogic workshop into the WebSphere portal. First and the most interesting one - Workshop uses Weblogic specific ".portal" and ".portlet" files for storing configuration. It keeps hell lot of files related to skins and skeleton and the framework. It uses Struts and EJB automatically in the portal - use it or not use it. The web.xml will be of over 100 lines. And especially you will not find any option for exporting to the web archive (".war") format. What a pity!!!!

It taken my more than one hour to convert a medium size portlet and to make that workable in WebSphere Portal and remove all unnecessary files. The problem with Weblogic portal is its design. In Weblogic Workshop, you are never developing portlet, rather you always develop portal and it is the reason of having hundreds of unnecessary files. (Worshop has one benefit too of this approach i.e. you can directly test you portal inside the IDE) Though there is a command line tool to convert Weblogic format portal into web archive ".war" format, but this tool proved nearly useless to me. I would rather have copied the files in the WebSphere Portlet folder structure and debugged there only.

So if you are using Weblogic Workshop for croos-platform portlet deployment, be warned. It can create your life more difficult. Though it provides all those trendy debugging and testing features but it destroys all standard codes. The release of Weblogic 9.0 is round the corner and I hope this problem will be solved with a better design. Till the time use some other product and be happy.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:04 PM

    Welcome to my hell. WebLogic is the most frustrating development environment I've ever used. It has problems with the simplest of tasks, external javascripts, refactoring, deploying, forget it all. I have resorted to emacs instead.

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  2. Anonymous2:46 AM

    I believe you are trying to stick a round peg into a square hole. Workshop is made for build on BEA Portal not a cross platform tool - why would they make their tool do that - especially when they do not charge for their IDE - unlike IBM...

    One of the good things about Portal/Workshop is that you don't ahve to "develop" your portal app - you just take your JSP drag it to the portal and it generates the necessary xml, portlet whatever for you.

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  3. Anonymous8:26 PM

    Just to ensure that everyone has correct information. IBM DOES NOT charge for Rational Application Developer V6.0 (next release of WebSphere Studio Application Developer v5) as it is provided free with every licence of WebSphere Portal.

    The catch is that FREE RAD is restricted for development to portal only. If you want to use RAD for development of other J2EE application server, one needs to purchase a full license.

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