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As a Product Manager for Knowledge Management, I was often asked about the capability to work offline. I am now happy to say this is one of the many features of the Portal Drive.

You might first ask, what is the Portal Drive? Well, the Portal Drive is a new feature available in SAP NetWeaver 04 SP14. The Portal Drive enables KM folders to connect to Windows file explorer as a mapped network drive. It is a desktop application that needs to be installed on each computer where it will be used. However, it can be deployed via the standard SAP installation.

While the portal drive’s primary functionality is to map folders in the Portal as local drives, it also offers many other features and advanced functionality.

Features of the Portal Drive include:

  • Working Offline – Any file that has been recently accessed or marked as Always Available Offline will be accessible offline. Once you connect back to the server, The Portal Drive will automatically synchronize with the server. If a file you have edited has been updated on the server since you last synchronized, you will get prompted with a dialog asking you what actions to take. You can generally either choose to overwrite the other user’s edits, to save your changes to another location, or to discard your edits. The Synchronize Now button, within the Offline tab of the Portal Drive, enables you to manually synchronize your files. This process will update your local cache with the latest copies of your documents from the server.
  • Working with Windows Explorer – The portal drive is primarily accessed and used through Windows Explorer. Drag and drop and standard operations are supported by the portal drive. In addition, there are several other features that you can enable and use when working within Windows Explorer.
  • For example, 1) If you right-click a file or a folder, you will see a menu item for Copy URL to Clipboard. This puts the full WebDAV URL onto your clipboard. You can then paste this URL into an e-mail, an instant messaging session or into another document. 2) You can view additional information on the files and folders contained within a portal drive. This information includes locks and offline availability. To view this information, you must enable the Portal Drive Status column. 3) Edit portal drive properties – You must be connected online in order to use this feature. You can view, edit and delete custom properties for files.

  • Sharing Files and Folders – the portal drive to view, add and remove permissions from your files and folders. The permissions are controlled and maintained by the server.
  • Locking Files – You can lock files through the portal drive. This helps prevent other users from editing files that you are working on. Once you are done editing the file, you should unlock the file to allow other users to edit it.
  • Versioning – You can use the portal drive to work with versioned files. This includes enabling and disabling versioning of a file, as well as viewing the version history of a file. Versioning can only be done on files, not folders.
  • Briefly about the architecture:
    The Portal client installs a WebDAV client on your local PC. Km will act as a WebDAV server for read and write access. The Portal Drive will connect only to SAP NetWeaver Knowledge Management as other WebDAV serves are blocked. For user management and security, the Knowledge Management ACL’s are respected. Additionally SSO can be achieved via SAP logon tickets and via NTLM.

    For more information on the Portal Drive, please see the release notes for NW04 SP14 as well as the documentation at http://help.sap.com/nw04

    A presentation on the Portal Drive can be found at http://service.sap.com/nw-km -> KM in Detail -> KM in NetWeaver 2004 -> “KM Portal Drive – Connect KM to Windows file explorer”

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2 Comments

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  1. A. Acuna
    A nice idea to have access to files off-line. But what a pity this is not based in current browser posibilities. To install additional software is a disappointment and limits the web experience of being platform independent.
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    1. Clarifying: the KM’s WebDAV support is platform independent. It’s just that SAP doesn’t give away a WebDAV client for platforms other than Windows.

      Linux (davfs) and MacOS X have their own WebDAV support, although I’m not sure whether they support off-line access.

      Best regards, Julian

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