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Building OracleAS Portlets Using Apache Struts

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting
Mark Rittman


Building OracleAS Portlets Using Apache Struts

A while ago I worked on an Oracle Portal project, that was based around a menu calling a number of Discoverer workbooks and other reports. The menu was a portlet that was located on the left-hand side and took up around a quarter of the page. The right-hand side was a portlet that contained whatever workbook or report had been selected using the menu.

The design approach we took was to use something called the 'model-view-controller' design pattern as the basis for our application. Model-View-Controller, or 'MVC', is a way of building an application so that the data store, the business logic and the presentation logic are kept separate, with the aim being that it's easy to upgrade, extend or swap parts out without affecting the rest of the application. MVC is usually talked about in the context of Java development, but it's more of a concept than a Java-specific technology and in our case we actually built the application using PL/SQL portlets.

For this application, the model was the Oracle database, with a schema containing menu entries and of course the underlying database on which reports were run. The controller was the menu portlet, and the view was the main portlet that displayed the reports. The menu portlet contained menu items and hyperlinks which, when clicked on, reloaded the page and passed a parameter to the view portlet, which then decided which report to retrieve and display it in an IFRAME. Each menu item in the controller portlet had the same format (the portal page URL, with a 'report_id' parameter) and the view portlet just used a CASE statement to display a report from a list of possible reports.

Anyway, where this is all going is that Oracle have recently announced (link via Tim Burns' weblog) support for MVC portlets, and Apache Struts, through the OracleAS Portal Developer Kit. Apache Struts is a java framework for building model-view-controller applications, which in this case would be built using Java Server Pages and deployed as OracleAS Portlets. It's java rather than PL/SQL, but it's a pretty comprehensive framework and not all that difficult to set up, especially seeing as much of the portlet element of a JSP can be generated automatically by JDeveloper's portlet wizards. If you're building a portal application using JSPs it's worth checking out the struts support as it's an easy way to use the MVC design pattern, and it's a relatively low-cost exercise to add one or more portlets to an existing JSP and servlet application by defining the portlets as additional views.

For more information, take a look at:


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