This is more a Websphere Portal issue than specifically Workplace Collaboration Services (WCS), but when you install WCS and go to the homepage, all you see is a masthead and links at the top to sign-up and login with the rest of the page completely blank. All the functions of WCS are hidden behind the sign-in challenge. This initial view that users get can be confusing - very often leading them to believe that there was an error in loading the page. The screenshot below shows the initial view.


To me this is annoying. However, there is a relatively "quick" way to make the first page be a little more user friendly that Michael Bourak showed me (and saved me hours of research).. To do this, login to the WCS as the admin and in the top right click on Administration, followed by "Manage Pages" link on the left. In the content space you will see a list which starts with "My Portal". Click on My Portal and this will show you the hierarchy of pages within the portal. For a fresh install of WCS you should see "My Work". Click on My Work and then on "New Page" to create a new page. Give it a Title - this is the text that is going to appear in the left navigation space after you're done. After giving a name hit OK. You should see your page in the list as shown in the screenshot below. You can move it up or down in the list by clicking on the arrow icons to the right of the title. Since we're going to make this page visible only for anonymous users it doesn't really matter where in the list it appears. You now need to set permissions to allow anonymous users and you need to decide which portlet you want to show within that page.


Click on the button to set page permissions. You will be taken to another page that has different user roles listed. The last one is "User". Click on the button to the right to set the permissions for user, then the Add button, and check the anonymous portal user option. Click on Done and then OK on the resource permissions portlet and it will take you back to the list as shown above. Now that you've made the page available to anonymous users, you can then click on the Edit Layout button as shown above. This will take let you add portlets to this page you just created. Choose a layout that you want, and click on Add Portlet to add any portlet you want to show on the public page. For my testing purposes, I downloaded and installed the Web Page portlet from the IBM Portal Solutions catalog. Once you've added the portlet you want save the page and return to the list of pages.

You're almost done - the last two steps are to set the security on the portlet to allow anonymous access and to configure the contents of the portlet. To do so, click on Administration in the top right of WCS, followed by Access and then Resource Permissions in the left nav. Then click on Portlets in the list, which will take you to a list of portlets on your server. Scroll through the list till you get to the one you added to your page and click on the key button to set permissions. Just as you did for the page, select User and set permissions as anonymous portal user and hit OK. Now if 've done this right you should be able to open a new browser window where you're not logged into WCS and access WCS. If you've used the Page portlet that I did, you should see something like the screenshot below


Keep in mind that this only controls the content whitespace - it doesn't control the masthead/footer which are controlled by the Theme. Configuring a theme is a whole different effort that I'm not going to talk about in this blog (mainly because I have no idea how to do that yet!). Another point to note is that for some reason if you don't add the page under My Work, it doesn't show up on the public non-logged in view. Maybe somebody can comment on this.

It seems like a lot of work - let's compare this to Domino. The fastest way is probably to create a flat HTML file and throw it in the Domino data\domino\html directory and then update the NAB to point to this as the default, or create a database with a Page, add in whatever you want there and point to the database. Of course the result isn't the same as the solution above, which allows for any portlet to be represented on the public page. If anyone has a better way to set the default page in WCS do let me know.

comments powered byDisqus