After Aviad published his blog about the SAP NW Portal Stars he approached me and asked if I do not know someone who runs a nice SAP Portal example and if I don’t have anything to share for the NetWeaver Portal Stars. As sometimes it can be complicated to present a portal use case in a public forum like SCN (approval, what to show, legal) I’m willing to share my private SAP Portal installation.
In case you follow my blogs here on SCN you know that I do have a nice chat application in my portal, a jMeter script that runs through the default pages to fill the portal cache and to report trends. This blog is not published yet, but is part 2 of the series that contains part 1 and 1.5. My SAP Portal has a mobile interface (1st version, how it is done and a later version). I have a section where I access the flight sample from ABAP by a Web Dynpro Java, Visual Composer, Portal application and a HTML5 app. I coded some KM reports for statistics and also have some example code that reports changes to ESME, and that are also visible in the portal for keeping users updated on what is going on. For all the coding I’ve set up a continuous integration environment for portal development (Jenkins, selenium, sonar).
The problem is: not all of this is in shape. Most of this was done as a POC or to learn more about the features the SAP Portal offers. As nothing of the features is really ready to be shown (working on that) I had to come up with something else. As backend integration is not hard, having thousands of users is only possible in productive environments, heavy customization comes with costs and showing 3rd party solutions is not possible for a private portal, I thought: why not do the obvious and combine SAP Portal with fun? Ok, working with SAP Portal is always fun, but what about big screen fun?
I use XBMC for my media center, and XBMC comes with an optional web interface. The configuration if this is a little bit limited, so why not overcome the limits of normal HTML5 web pages with the use of SAP Portal? I set myself the goal to not alter the HTML code of the frontends as this would impair the portal benefit.
The files for a desktop and a mobile version are simply copied to the KM:
The rest is easy portal roles and iViews configuration. To make the access easier I’m using quicklinks for more human readable URLs like /irj/portal/xbmc. Desktop version for users accessing the portal using a normal browser:
Mobile users see the mobile version of the XBMC frontend. First, logon is done using a mobile logon.
As it’s a portal, content can be assigned dynamically to users, including roles. This allows that mobile users can get a mobile friendly version of the XBMC interface:
This allows for controlling an application that definitely was not design with SAP Portal in mind to be integrated and executed without problems from within the SAP Portal, with minimal effort.
Why is this a SAP NW Portal star?
As stated above, I didn’t have the time to clean up my portal, so I had to come up with something new in a short time. The idea emerged on 1/10, and took 2 days after work to complete. I think using SAP Portal as a frontend for a media center is something quite unique. Second, it shows that the SAP Portal can not only be used for a “dummy” front end for SAP backends. It allows you to host different kind of content while at the same time enhancing them.
The above example is pure SAP Portal. No specific 3rd party apps needed, no complex coding or additional solutions. It just use what is already there: mainly KM and navigation features (filterid, navigation zoom, iViews, desktops, quicklinks). The web interfaces are selected depending on the users’ portal configuration, the html files (js, css, images) are now managed and maintained in a KM repository that also adds more flexibility (cache, permissions, transports).
What do I want to see in new portal releases? An integrated reverse proxy with an easy to use graphical configuration, done even from inside the portal to make it easier to create links like http://portalserver/mobile. Content tagging, content transformation for previews (PDF, video), get content as PDF, DOC, TXT, PPT, test cases that I can run and use to validate the portal (incl. upgrades), intgration of navigation points and wiki, and many more.