It’s always a good sign when a product is worth writing books about. Pliniu Arbizu and Ashok Aggarwal’s 276 page book came out a few weeks ago, in September 2010, published by Packt. To the authors’ credit, this is the first book about WebCenter written by “outsiders”; a team of non-Oracle employees, who are users of the product just like you are. Packt Publishing contacted me a while ago to review the new, Web 2.0 Solutions with Oracle WebCenter eBook, and as part of it (disclaimer comes here) I was glad to receive an environmentally friendly, kindle and ipad compatible, ultra-green, digitally dedicated PDF copy.
The book is very easy to read and follow, thanks to the many-many screen shots; pretty much every major statement or step in the book is supported by a product image. This helps you understand the product even if you don’t follow the steps on your computer: you’re on a train, a flight, or cruise.
The first chapter attempts to answer what WebCenter is. As a product manager of WebCenter, this is one of the hard questions we get asked every so often. It’s tough to answer it mainly because WebCenter has so many faces, the problem space it provides solutions for is so big. I found this chapter a little short, especially when you start at the very basics like PC, operating systems, and office tools. But again, maybe it’s just the product manager of me talking. . .
When it comes to enterprise software, the first challenge is installation. Colorful screen shots of the PDF copy bring color to the otherwise gray topic.
Chapter 3 walks you through the installation steps of JDeveloper, the WebCenter extension, and a subversion source control system. By the end of the chapter you have JDeveloper up and running, and testing the pre-deployed portlets in your development environment.
Chapter 4 provides an excellent way of familiarizing you with the development environment: it has you build a Web service, consume it in a standards-based (JSR 168) portlet; and finally, consume the portlet in a WebCenter application.
Chapter 5 covers page templates and ADF BC; so I was a little puzzled by the chapter title: Design and Personalization.
Chapter 6 is all about portlets. It gives a nice example how the fancy DVT (Data Visualization Tool) charts can be leveraged in portlets.
Chapter 7 discusses wikis, blogs, and discussions. A novum in the chapter that I never thought about before is using the Web Clipping portlet to surface wikis on pages. I told you: WebCenter has many faces.
Chapter 8 describes search, tagging, and linking.
Chapter 9 covers Composer and the resource catalog (business dictionary).
Chapter 10, the last chapter gives a brief overview of WebCenter Spaces.
I hope Packt and the authors are OK with me posting a screen from Chapter 6, just to give an idea of what you can build by following the steps of the book.
If you are absolutely new to WebCenter and are the type who enjoys learning by example, who likes following exact steps, this book is for you.
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