Jan 3, 2010

Drawbacks of IBM Workplace Web Content Management (WWCM) Version 6.x

This article is to highlight not so good features of IBM Workplace Web Content Management (WWCM). This article will provide architects/designers with information which will help them to judge if IBM WWCM is the right fit for the requirements.

Drawbacks of IBM WWCM 6.x

Based on my experience in IBM WWCM usage and comparing with basic WCM features, here is a list of features which are lacking in IBM WWCM:

  • Tight integration with WebSphere Portal Server
    • IBM WWCM requires base installation of Portal Server as it inherits Portal functionalities to work. For Example: Security model etc.
  • Versioning:
    • No control of number of versions to be maintained at content type level. It’s all or none
    • No control over which content type needs versioning and which not. Its either all or none
    • No versioning at component (Image, Menu, Navigator etc.) level.
  • Syndication/ Content Publish:
    • All the syndicators will be either scheduled or none of them. You cannot choose few syndicators to be automated while leaving others as manual process
    • Once the content becomes live/published it is moved across from one to other environment. There is no way to control approval of the content for specific publisher/syndicator as with other products
    • Tough to debug the cause of failure of syndicator
    • If there are some failed items with syndicator, it is tough to determine which content items failed
    • Lack of customization
    • Syndication/Publish history view is not available
  • WCM Portlets
    • Out of the Box WCM authoring and rendering portlets are legacy IBM portlets and are not JSR standards
    • Customization is painful as it uses IBM specific code and it is not exposed.
  • Customizations are
    • Tough as they are IBM legacy portlets
    • Limited set of API and taglibs available which prevents customization
  • Rendition Services
    • No rendition service available out of the box
  • Workflows
    • Basic workflows can be defined
    • Parallel workflows I do not think are possible
    • Workflows available only for Authoring templates but not for components
    • Granular level privileges not possible to implement Example: Controlling function privileges at each stage
    • No funda of voting and group approvals and rejects
  • Caching
    • No Database caching
    • If using JSP components for a functionality through Presentation Templates, there is no Out of the Box caching available
  • Rich Text Editor
    • Out of the Box RTE adds unnecessary HTML tags while creating content. Example: Adding <p> tags
    • Out of the Box RTE doesn’t provide features like copy from word which is quite common these days
  • Context upload and Extract
    • No Out of the Box facility to import content to WWCM. We need to write a custom module to upload
    • No Out of the Box facility to export content in readable format. Example: XML
  • Reporting:
    • Custom build is needed for any reporting. Example: Content extract between dates to a specified format, Content changes between two dates, content status between two servers etc.
  • Secured binaries (like images, documents etc. ) are stored in database than file system
  • No basic Web Services available for Content Services

7 comments:

Savas Duvan said...

Hi Vinay,

Thank you for the article.

Scanning quickly through your article, I found some statements which need correction that I want to share.

1. Versioning:
- No versioning at component (Image, Menu, Navigator etc.) level.
This is not out of the box, but it is configurable by changing /wcm/shared/app/config/wcmservices/WCMConfigService.properties

# enable version control for the following types.
# options are always | never
versioningStrategy.AuthoringTemplate=always
versioningStrategy.Component=always
versioningStrategy.PresentationTemplate always
versioningStrategy.Site=always
versioningStrategy.Taxonomy=always
versioningStrategy.Workflow=always

2.Syndication/ Content Publish
- Lack of customization
Since WebSphere Portal 6.1 (WP) the Syndication API is available

Syndication/Publish history view is not available
WP 6.1 comes with Syndication System reports and views.

3. WCM Portlets
- Out of the Box WCM authoring and rendering portlets are legacy IBM portlets and are not JSR standards
As of WP 6.1.5 Local Rendering Portlets are JSR168 based.

4. Workflows
- Workflows available only for Authoring templates but not for components
See point 1, in this case the file should look like:
# control properties
control.Style=com.aptrix.pluto.workflow.WorkflowControl
control.Template=com.aptrix.pluto.workflow.WorkflowControl
control.Taxonomy=com.aptrix.pluto.workflow.WorkflowControl
control.Category=com.aptrix.pluto.workflow.WorkflowControl
control.Site=com.aptrix.pluto.workflow.WorkflowControl
control.SiteArea=com.aptrix.pluto.workflow.WorkflowControl
control.Cmpnt=com.aptrix.pluto.workflow.WorkflowControl

Kind regards

Savas Duvan
IBM WebSphere Portal Specialist

Vinay said...

Thanks a lot Savas

Anonymous said...

As of WCM 6.1.5, a new Rich Text Editor has been integrated (From Ephox). It provides considerable improvements to the authoring interface, including pasting from Word, and full XHTML compliance.

WCM 6.1.5 also includes WCI (Web Content Integrator) which is an RSS consumer application for the import of content.

What sort of "out-of-the-box" facility are you looking for when exporting content? Why can you not use a Menu component (which is out-of-the-box) and display all Content items wrapped with the required tags? The Presentation Template containing the Menu component would take care of the XML header code.

Soren said...

Either you have not used a recent version of WCM, or you have not given yourself time to get to know the product.

1. Tight integration with Portal is a benefit. You need not use Portal for content delivery (pre-rendered site).

2 Versioning - as already pointed out by Savas, versioning can be enabled through workflow for components.

3 Syndication - simply leave syndicators "disabled" to prevent automated syndication and re-enable to perform "manual" syndication.
In case of a failure, you can click the syndicator and get a list of the items that were not syndicated.

4. Portlets - There are both 168 and 286 portlets available. The 286 content viewer portlet is becoming the standard.

5. Rendition services - Pre-rendering is available out of the box. Check the info center.

6. (As answered by Savas) Workflows are available for all types (apart from workflow elements).

7. (As answered by Anonymous) WCM 6.1.5 comes out of the box with the OEM version of the Ephox editor which has good support for cut'n'paste from Word.

8. Upload and extract - WCM 6.1.5 comes with the Web Content Integrator for automated import of content.

9. Binaries in database - benefits of this approach include security and management across cluster.

Anonymous said...

It seems as though we have some very knowledgeable IBM WCM experts on board good to see. WCM is becoming a good tool but lacks the flexibility and functionality to compete even with some of the Open source tools available.

Why can WCM have pre-built modules for simple things like RSS feeds like many of the out of the box functionality open source systems provide?

I also find WCM inputs crappy code and mostly where I have used it the companies chose to use external tools to devlop and lastly paste into WCM (sometimes more than once depending on WCM's mood)

Sorry to be a cynic but lets be honest guys WCM is inflexible as a Web 2.0 WCMS.

barani said...

Syndication doesnot allow only selected content/item to move to other environment.

No Multilingual support.

Anonymous said...

I need to migrate static content website to IBM Web Content Manager.

Basically we have a large number of HTML pages. Also there a lot of Word and PDF documents referenced from HTML pages.

We would need to extract content with crawlers and then integrate than import that data to IBM Web Content Manager.

What would be the best practices to successfully accomplish this migration?

Is there bulk import feature in IBM WCM?

Is it possible to automate process of creating pages and components via some API or service?

Is it possible to create NEW pages via WCM RSS Endpoint?

How to bulk import Word Documents and PDFs, store them as a components that can be referenced from migrated pages. Regards.

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