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Hi SAP Portal Community,

Creating external facing portals is quite an important topic for many companies and there are lots of things to consider regarding architecture, security, user access etc. Today, I would like to take a closer look at how you can use SAP Portal Site Management by Opentext (PSM) with the SAP NetWeaver Portal to create even better, more appealing sites with a maximum of flexibility.

PSM provides customers with a rich set of features and functions to enable non-technical business experts to easily manage their content within the SAP Portal. To benefit from the close integration between Portal and OpenText Web Site Management and the advanced Site Management features of the product, you first need to install the OpenText Services and deploy the PSM Portal components.

From the Portal side of the solution, you get lots of functionality for providing an external facing site out of the box like navigation via short URLs or quicklinks, a navigation cache, a light framework page, and a resource-sensitive page builder. You can find more about this topic in the SAP help portal at http://help.sap.com/saphelp_nw73ehp1/helpdata/en/48/1d0555a4ef4e6fe10000000a42189c/content.htm?frameset=/en/48/1d054fa4ef4e6fe10000000a42189c/frameset.htm. For general information on SAP NetWeaver Portal, please take a look at the SAP NetWeaver Portal space in SCN where you can find for example a Getting Started blog and a roadmap presentation, or watch the portfolio video.

With the usage of PSM, you gain all features of a best-of-breed web site management solution for administrators and an easy-to-handle, quick editing tool for site editors in addition. Besides, PSM offers Asset Management to manage images you used on your web-sites, support for the whole content process and, very importantly, lots of options for building dynamic sites. For more detailed information on PSM in general, take a look at this presentation.

Well, how do PSM and Portal work together when building up an external site? Let’s take a look at different important decisions you have to make, when building up your site:

  1. Access: The OpenText Delivery Server, the powerful, XML-based tool for dynamic delivery of web site content to the Portal, has its own anonymous user. SAP Portal Site Management by OpenText automatically recognizes if the portal user is an anonymous user and then maps it the Delivery Server anonymous user without any configuration needed.
  2. Navigation: Since your external site will be first of all a portal, you can use the normal SAP NetWeaver portal concept to provide a role-based navigation structure. With PSM you can complement the role navigation by adding either single pages or complete navigation trees to a portal role and very easily link between pages. In addition, you can choose between static and dynamic links when adding pages or page structures to a role, so that in the second case, even after having connected the page to a role, all changes to the page structures will be automatically visible in the portal once they are published. You can see how to add pages to a role in this video.
  3. Look and Feel: In many cases, SAP Portal customers will create their own portal desktops and framework pages based on the Ajax framework page to shape the portal design according to their needs. You can easily integrate the same css and if needed js file both in the OpenText Management Server as part of the portal framework to attain a seamless experience both in your External Facing site and in your editing environment.
    To ensure a consistent look of Portal/PSM pages, the OpenText Management Server (the part of the solution where the actual page creation, editing and publishing workflow is handled) offers also a clear separation of content and layout and helps to enforce strict adherence to a predefined design, even when content creation is delegated to content experts in the LOB. To reach this, the whole content creation process heavily on templates that can be created in a way to fit seamlessly into your portal environment.
  4. Portal Content: In many cases, you will decide to bring together structured and unstructured content on the same page. In fact, this can be done easily by using the Application Integration feature of PSM. Thus, PSM pages are not just nice web pages created using cool templates and based on a stylish css, but they can also contain any application that is available in your portal as an iView, so that you can for example display the list of current purchase orders next to some information on the purchasing process in your supplier portal. The application integration is done in the template, so power users can provide a set of templates including different applications and add red dots to the template to modify iView properties of the application, e.g. root node and display options for a document list or transaction code for an SAP transaction.
  5. You can easily provide a mobile version of your external facing site, but that will be the topic of my next blog. To see an overview of the complete series about creating sites with SAP NetWeaver Portal, go the introductory blog.

Stay tuned!

Sibylle

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6 Comments

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    1. Lawrence Waterhouse

      Hi Winfried,

      I have done a POC of available CMS for SAP EP 7.31 and PSM, also PCM, by OpenText compared to antoher german CMS for EP, I want mention here by name, lately. Since 7.31 and 7.4 are using same code base in according to that Thomas Hensel have sad on the last TechEd, you shouldnt have any compatibility problems.

      My 2 cents on this topic: I was disappointed by the quality of PSM software, effort of initial setup and last but not least integrating proccess of proprietary SAP stuff through technical editors (assuming they dont have deep portal knowledge, thats in fact the reason why the most companies are thinking about using a CMS in EP, one very common scenario could be: placing of BW/BI reports). Also, the fees are higher comparing to their competitors and I wasnt able to get a list of customer references from OpenText management, excluding only one company: Salzgitter AG in Germany.

      No need to mention: they didnt won the race, my customer decided to prefer the competition. My very personal and subjective imho on that: they want get anywhere with that.

      regards

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    2. Sibylle Brehm Post author

      Hi Winfried,

      PSM and PCM will both be shortly released for SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.4. We also used this combination in all our TechEd systems this year and did not experience any problems.

      Regards,
      Sibylle

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      1. Lawrence Waterhouse

        Hi Sibylle,

        Thank you for the update. I guess you got a more stable version as we did, I worked on that in June and used the available version at that time. The PSM/PCM consultant I booked to support us on that, has mentioned (reacting to my numerous sorrows 😉 ) there will be a software update soon, that will correct many of errors.

        Also in additional: an advanced knowledge to RedDot CMS is absolutely advisable, otherwise many questions may stay open…

        regards

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      2. Sibylle Brehm Post author

        Hi Lawrence,

        yes, for TechED we used the newest version of PCM and PSM, which is SP3 and of courses offers lots of improvements, especially a nice integration to the Mobile Portal. I think you have to keep in mind that PSM is a very powerful product which offers lots of functionality for building sites, therefore, of course, you need some time to get a full understanding of it and also how to do things. I think that the fact that it works very template based makes it easier for web site professionals, but it is a completely different approach than what we knew from our own Web Page Composer and will surely need some initial setup effort. But then I think the integration is really nice and handles the navigation structure automatically.

        Anyway, things mainly depend on the customer’s requirements.

        Regards,
        Sibylle

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        1. Lawrence Waterhouse

          Hi Sibylle,

          I think you have to keep in mind that PSM is a very powerful product which offers lots of functionality for building sites, therefore, of course, you need some time to get a full understanding of it and also how to do things. I think that the fact that it works very template based makes it easier for web site professionals, but it is a completely different approach than what we knew from our own Web Page Composer and will surely need some initial setup effort.

          Yes thats true, the difference, which makes possible to make many things better, is that PSM dont use EP as a persistence layer to store data, like WPC or competing products do. Thats exactly the point, which produces high initial effort and hardware costs. Im not talking about know-how, we want to assume people are working on knows what they do. You need at least 2 extra machines for running PSM only, content server would come on top for PCM. On the other side: I needed 1 day to install and configure the competing product, because it stays, like WPC, complete in EP and uses PCD and KM to store data. Also, best CMS functionality doesnt changes anything on lack on integrating SAP content in PSM. People I talked to about, had very understandable logic about this topic: if I cant do any SAP specific stuff with a CMS in EP, why do I need a CMS integrated in Portal at all? Can you remember FirstSpirit tryed the same approach and failed?

          But then I think the integration is really nice and handles the navigation structure automatically.

          I wouldnt say something like navigation handling is an advantage or a feature, its mandatory functionality to run the stuff at all, a must. I found other stuff to be very nice, I remember specially 2 points:

          – very nice handling of delivering and customizing language dependent content. You can model the content completely independent for different languages, not only translate text

          – customizing your content, layouts etc in plain HTML. Never ever writing and deploying EP layout objects with NWDS, which is quite time consuming and annoying

          Anyway, things mainly depend on the customer’s requirements.

          You are right, the answer is: it depends. I would mainly recommend PSM/PCM for EP to people who already use OpenText products in their company landscape. Its a pitty I didnt had the time to test PCM extensive, this sounded also interesting.

          regards

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