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The SAP NetWeaver Portal has a fundamental unit of content called an iView. This is effectively a link, or URL, to the web application that is to be accessed when the user accesses the portal menu.

iViews can have some options appear in the top right hand corner. For example, it is possible to open the iView in a new window. One little used option is to enable a link to a help page.

I believe there are a few reasons why this feature is not used at most sites.

The first is that the option is not obvious. Most portal users wouldn’t think to click the icon to find the options, let alone know that Help was available. This comes down to appropriate training of portal end users. Also, with the lighter framework pages available in recent releases of the portal, the Help option can be more easily viewed.

The next reason for non-use is that setting the URL to be used is a challenge. It appears the portal development team assumed that the linked page for the help would be static and in most cases it is not possible to use relative links.

Huh? Relative links? What’s he talking about?

Most people use absolute links in their browser. For example, when they use SDN, they would enter in their browser address bar https://sdn.sap.com. That’s an absolute URL. A relative link could appear on a web page that “knows” it’s already on a particular web server. So, a developer could have a link to “/wiki” and that would magically become https://sdn.sap.com/wiki.

Back to the URL that needs to be entered for an iView’s help. If I am developing my iView on a portal accessed as http://mydevportal.mycompany.com:50000/irj, if I wanted my little help application to execute on the same portal, I would need to enter a help URL of http://mydevportal.mycompany.com:50000/myHelpApp… As a relative URL it would handy to enter just the /myHelpApp, but that is not possible.

With an absolute URL, when I move my iView from the development portal to the QA portal and finally to production, my iView’s help URL is still pointing to the development portal. This is probably not ideal.

This wiki page contains a code snippet to assist in developing a tool to assist in the process. It allows a portal administrator to browse the PCD (Portal Content Directory) to easily view and set the help URL for some iViews. It looks for the hostname and port number of the development portal (set as an iView parameter) and replaces that with %host:port%. When the administrator uses the Update button, it replaces %host:port% with the curent portal’s hostname and port number. So, after the iViews have been moved to the QA or production portal, it should be quite easy to replace the URL.

Are there any other solutions?

Long term I’d like to see relative URLs supported. In the mean time, a few other possibilities include:

  • Adding help iViews as related links
  • Creating small (30 pixel high) iViews with no tray that have a link to the help page and add them to the portal pages.
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3 Comments

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  1. Matthew Harding
    Thanks Mike.  I posted this exact question last week, didn’t get the response I was after, then when I was about to give up and contact you, you had responded to someone with exactly this information.
    Good news to have the answer, but let’s hope the Portal team change the approach in the near future (aka support pack, not enhancement pack).
    In regards to the help…My client had the exact problem you mentioned, and the solution was to remove the Options tab and simply have the Help button which is much more intuitive.

    Thanks for the forum post and the blog.

    Cheers,
    Matt

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    1. Michael Nicholls Post author
      Hi Kai
      I don’t think you can put that syntax in the help URL property. I just tried it on an SP18 portal and got the “no help available” message.
      Cheers
      (0) 

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