Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Lotus Forms Server WebForm Server 3.5.1 and WebSphere Portal 6.1.5 together

I hit an interesting problem last week where I was finding that the Lotus Forms sample portlets were failing to render, with the error: -

Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site.
Operation aborted

I was accessing the portal using Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0, which was running on the Windows Server 2003 server on which Portal/Forms etc. was running.

It was getting late in the day, so I didn't use my nous and try accessing the portal using another browser or, even better, another browser on another device.

However, one of my more clever colleagues did suggest that I run the command netstat -aon on the Windows box whilst the error message was displayed. This showed an active connection, in SYN_SENT status, to 64.4.52.169:80, which resolved to the MSDN site -> http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/ie/default.aspx

This is the MSDN ActiveX library and, it transpired, the Lotus Forms portlet(s) were trying to download a particular ActiveX control which, due to the server being semi-locked down, could not be accessed.

When I accessed the portal via Firefox 3.6 on my own Mac desktop, I was able to access the portlets and the back-end Lotus Forms Translator server, without any problems. Given that I wasn't using Internet Explorer, I didn't have any requirement for ActiveX controls.

The moral of the story - the Lotus Forms portlets require ActiveX controls when accessed via IE and, more importantly, the netstat -aon command is absolutely invaluable :-)

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