Sunday, 30 March 2008

Ooops, I did it again

Quickr on Linux - wierd problems, pages not loading, SystemErr.log full of scary messages ?

Well, why don't I read my own notes ?

Yep, the old ulimit problem.

Can you say "Doh" ?

"The friendly URL you have chosen is syntactically incorrect."

Now you have to admit it - that is a very very nice error message; much better than "Redo from start" or "Abort / Retry / Ignore" - it's almost as good as "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that. ".


Lotus Quickr 8.1 - All installed ...

After three attempts, it's good to go. To be fair, the first failure was
my fault - I didn't clean up my Linux VMware image before attempting the

The second time failed due to the aforementioned problem with the /tmp
directory - still not sure why it seemed to lose the Write attribute but
...... c'est la vie.

Third time was lucky - and it's now installed and running.

Just starting to play now ...........

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Hmmm, DB2 UDB problem during Quickr 8.1 installation

Haven't cracked it yet, but the installation has failed twice with: -

SQL0970N The system attempted to write to a read-only file. SQLSTATE=55009

when trying to create the WPSDB database: -


This is a DB2, rather than Quickr, problem as I see the same error when
I run the command: -


whilst logged in as wpdb2ins: -

db2sampl -verbose

Creating database "SAMPLE"...
Attempt to create the database "SAMPLE" failed.
SQL0970N The system attempted to write to a read-only file.

'db2sampl' processing complete.

Permissions for the wpdb2ins user's home directory seem OK: -

ls -al /home

-> drwxr-xr-x 5 wpdb2ins wpdb2iad 4096 Mar 29 08:31 wpdb2ins

ls -al /home/wpdb2ins

-> drwxrwxr-x 3 wpdb2ins wpdb2iad 4096 Mar 29 08:31 wpdb2ins

ls -al /home/wpdb2ins/wpdb2ins

-> drwxrwxr-x 3 wpdb2ins wpdb2iad 4096 Mar 29 08:43 NODE0000

ls -al /home/wpdb2ins/wpdb2ins/NODE0000

-> drwxrwxr-x 2 wpdb2ins wpdb2iad 4096 Mar 29 08:31 sqldbdir


Will compare these permissions against my working WebSphere Portal 6.0
and 6.1 installations, and see where the difference lies.

More to follow ............

Stu's back .....

and he's working all the hours to get the Quickr blog updated.

Yay to Stuart

Friday, 28 March 2008

Welcome ... to the desert

Big ~~~ to my colleague, John Wylie, who has joined the blogging
community; check out what he thinks here.

Lotus Quickr 8.1 is out

and I'm downloading as I type - am going for the Linux options this time
around, and will install Quickr Services for WebSphere Portal into my
favourite Red Hat Enterprise Linux VMware image.


Wednesday, 26 March 2008

No peace for the innocent, let alone the wicked

Just when you thought you'd get some peace and quiet - you're NEVER
alone with a mobile phone.

Picture Dom Joly shouting "Hello, can you hear me, I'M ON THE PLANE"

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

More on the WP61 Beta

Forgot to mention that, for some wierd beta reason, some of the
installation scripts weren't set as executable. As a Linux geek, it
wasn't difficult to see/resolve.

In the end ( on the second installation ), I simply ran: -

chmod +x /tmp/IL-Setup/PortalExpress/

and used that script to start the GUI installer ( rather than going
through the Launchpad ).

PS I'd previously used a script to unpack the ZIP files into my /tmp
folder as IL-Setup, IL-1 etc.

WebSphere Portal Express 6.1 Beta - So far, so good

Well, the installation went smoothly ( the second time 'cos the disk on
which the VMware image resides ran out of space ). Unlike previous
iterations of the beta, I've chosen to download and install the Linux
code, and am using Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Points of Interest: -

* Logs have finally been tidied up in a consistent manner - in my
case, they are now in
* Older log directories still exist but appear to be mainly unused
e.g. /opt/WebSphere/PortalServer/log and
/opt/WebSphere/AppServer/logs remain but are empty
* Just when I got used to WebSphere Portal 6.0 listening on 10038,
they've gone and moved it to 10040 - hey, change is good, right ?
* The user interface is much sharper - more use of tabbed pages, and
lots of Ajax in the default pages
* The launch menu/button has been moved and is now called More.. -
the most commonly used pages e.g. Home, Administration, Web
Content have their own tabs
* JSPs appear to be precompiled by default, meaning that there is
less wait time on the initial page load - this used to be a pain
with earlier versions of WP; one had to remember to hit all the
pages in advance of a custmer demo :-)

Will post screenshots shortly ....

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Ooops, URL would be nice

IBM WebSphere Portal 6.1 Beta

Beta 3 is out, and downloaded.

Will install tomorrow ( hey, what're Bank Holidays for ? )

La Belle France

Just got back from a most excellent time in Lyon. Had a great time, and
managed to (mostly) avoid butchering the poor lingua franca more than

I did have a coupla oopsies - "Qu'est que c'est le toilette" and "Je ne
parlez vous Anglais". Thankfully, my Gallic hosts were very polite, and
only laughed a bit.

Still, not bad considered I gave up French before CSE back in the early

Still, back to life, back to reality, back to the here and now .....

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Vacation, here we come

The good news ( for me as well as you kind readers ) is that I'm getting
away on a vacation for a week.

The bad news ( for me ) is that I have to leave my laptop and associated
tech. behind. It's going to be hard, hard, hard, but I'll manage, with
kind words and symphathy from my beloved.

It will be a wrench ( spanner ? ) but I know that I only have six days
before I can come back and get stuck back in to software, hardware and
assorted stuff.

Have a good week, and enjoy the peace n' quiet.


Monday, 10 March 2008

Wierdness with WebSphere Portal

Hmmm, just hit a wierd little issue during a WebSphere Portal workshop, where some of the attendees weren't seeing the user ID and password fields on the login page ( ). In addition, the Sign Up link didn't do owt.

We're using VMware images which have worked perfectly in the past but ... for some reason, they didn't work today.

After the normal stop/start processes failed to resolve it, I tried deleting the compiled page ( _Home.class ) from the temporary page cache.

As an example, on my Linux box, that's here: -


Having restarted Portal again, all was well. The login page recompiled ( regenerating _home.class ) and we were in like Flynn.

Then saw a similar/related problem where the New Page button didn't return us back to Manage Pages. Again, the solution was to clear the cache/compiled pages. I took the big bang approach and deleted everything under the temp directory: -


Again, a restart and a wait for page recompilation, and all was well.

Not sure what happened - could've been due to network address/hostname changes or something far far wierder.

Wierd but true .......

Installing the fixpack onto WebSphere Portal Express

I spent a very happy Sunday going through this, and documenting each and every step for one of my customers. Am happy to share as required, but it's fairly pain-free, provided that you learn the lessons that I learnt the hard way.

My VMware demonstration environment is now running quite happily, alongside my Lotus Notes Standard client environment and WebSphere Portlet Factory Designer.

Looking good thus far .........

Friday, 7 March 2008

Control Key, Me Control - Anyone want a mouse ???

Now anyone that knows me is aware that I'm not a milleniard, although I do try to be a geek.

My background is green screen systems ( System i nee iSeries nee AS/400 ) and I'm at my most comfortable when using a big clacky keyboard WITH FUNCTION KEYS.

Although I mainly use a Thinkpad with a nipple ( err, Trackpoint TM ), I'm always keen to push the envelope backwards, and use the keyboard for everything, even to the point of BUYING some cool software called KeyText to allow me to record macros to do neat stuff like launch Firefox, Notepad, paste text into stuff etc.

My dichotomy ( or is a dilemma ) is that I also use, and love to use, the newest version of Lotus Notes, 8.0.1, which is ( I thought ) very mouse friendly ( being based on a Eclipse managed desktop environment ).

That's until about 10 minutes ago when I was pressing various keys in order to make a Symphony ODP presentation bigger. I found some new FUNCTION KEYS 8-)

I'm sure this is documented on Mary-Beth's blog somewhere, but here they are: -

<Ctrl><F1> Brings up a help perspective
<Ctrl><F2> Nowt
<Ctrl><F3> Something but I'm not yet sure what
<Ctrl><F4> Nowt
<Ctrl><F5> Locks Notes, requiring your password to get back in - doesn't clear the screen which is a nuisance :-(
<Ctrl><F6> Nowt
<Ctrl><F7> Now that is useful - a list of available panels, including Sametime Contacts, Activities, Day-At-A-Glance, Places etc.

<Ctrl><F8> Again, cool - a list of available window tabs e.g. Mail, Calendar etc.

<Ctrl><F9> Nowt
<Ctrl><F10> Nowt
<Ctrl><F11> Nowt
<Ctrl><F12> Nowt

I can throw my mouse away .........

PS I guess I could be a millenia-nerd

BBC iPlayer for iPhone and iPod Touch is iGo

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, sweet

Right, now get home and give it a tickle ....

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Lessons learnt

I hit a few challenges yesterday which I thought I'd share: -
  • Make sure you have sufficient memory before loading a WebSphere Portal Express v6 fixpack - I was trying to apply to a Red Hat VMware image, but it was failing with a fairly meaningless message - after a bit of thought, I realized that I'd only allocated 1.5 GB to the VM, which wasn't enough - once I increased that to 2 GB, all was well.

  • On a related note, ensure that you remember to start DB2 UDB before you (a) attempt to start Portal or (b) apply the fixpack ( which will attempt to start Portal ). Again, this bit me yesterday - but I was able to recover without any major pain.

    Caveat: I'm using DB2 UDB as my underlying RDBMS because I'm using WebSphere Portal Express - DB2 is an automatic installation/configuration task. However, the point remains true whether you're using another RDBMS e.g. Cloudscape, SQL Server, Oracle as the DB needs to be started.

  • Many WebSphere tasks require you to run the setupCmdLine script. This sets a number of WebSphere-related environment variables, path statements etc. I couldn't work out why this wasn't working in my Red Hat environment - after much faffing about, I realized that I was executing the wrong script; I was executing it from /opt/WebSphere/AppServer/bin rather than /opt/WebSphere/AppServer/profiles/wp_profile/bin.

    There was a clue; the script in the former path didn't have the X bit set so it wasn't an executable script; the one in the latter path did.

    On my Windows installations, the profiles directory is normally in a separate directory tree e.g. e:\ibm\WebSphere\profiles\wp_profile whereas, on Unix, it's in a more consistent location.

    Bear in mind that I'm currently using v6.0 - in v6.1, there's even more consistency.
Hope this helps someone somewhere. Now if I can only remember this stuff ...........

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

New(ish) redbook - Portal Application Development Using WebSphere Portlet Factory

WebSphere Portlet Factory is a powerful and flexible tool for rapidly building portlets on top of a service-oriented architecture. Developers are able to quickly and easily leverage their company's core assets, automatically assembling them into custom, high-value portlets.
Within this Redbook, we show you specific techniques and a best practices approach for developing portlets using WebSphere Portlet Factory. Using a fictitious company scenario, we discuss how to build a Customer Self Service and Customer Representative application. Within this context, we cover the following topics:

- Installing and configuring the Portlet Factory development Environment,
- How to create and consume data services from SQL, Domino and a Web Service,
- Step by step guidance for creating the portlets and enabling inter-portlet communication,
- Advanced UI design techniques, including the use of AJAX for type ahead functionality and working with the DoJo Builders,
- Enabling the use of Profiling
- Deployment Production Considerations, and
- Troubleshooting and Debugging techniques

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Are you tired of self-help books ? Then try this one ...

IBM WebSphere Portal V6 Self Help Guide

This IBM Redpaper focuses on considerations for the optimal configuration and use of IBM WebSphere Portal Server. We provide you with the information you need to deploy and manage your WebSphere Portal infrastructure, with the goal of problem avoidance.

However, if issues occur, the reader is introduced to the various tools and techniques for problem determination and problem solving, including obtaining and installing fixes, how to contact support, and what type of information you should provide before engagement.

This guide is a must have resource for IT architects and administrators throughout the life cycle of a WebSphere Portal environment, from conception and planning to use and maintenance.