Wednesday, 18 July 2012

IBM WebSphere Portal Unified Task List Portlet

I'm looking at a new project to deliver a process portal using WebSphere Portal 8 and IBM Business Process Manager (BPM), and was checking on the status of the Unified Task List (UTL) Portlet.

This is a portlet that I've had cause to use in the past, so I went straight to the Catalog to download it: -

Description: The IBM WebSphere Portal Unified Task List Portlet version 5.0 for WebSphere Portal 7.0 aggregates tasks and activities from multiple systems into a single user interface. WebSphere Portal 7.0 users access the Unified Task List portlet to view all tasks relevant to them. They can then complete these tasks using task processing portlets created with the included Unified Task List Business Process Support package for Web Experience Factory. The Unified Task List portlet in this release contains a task provider for WebSphere Process Server 6, WebSphere Process Server 7.0.0.4, IBM WebSphere Lombardi Edition 7.2, IBM Business Process Manager 7.5 and 7.5.1. Also Included are two Coach portlets for Lombardi and Business Process Manager Coach processing in Portal Server.


However, having noticed that it only listed WebSphere Portal 7, I asked a colleague when the version for WebSphere Portal 8 would be released.

Imagine my surprise when she told me that it's shipped as a component with WP8, so it's already there in the box :-)

She also kindly drew my attention to the WP8 documentation that covers UTL: -


Review concepts about the Unified Task List portlet to understand the different elements.

Task providers

Task providers are services that access back-end systems to retrieve tasks. The task providers also use a Web Experience Factory Transform builder to provide a uniform data set that display in the Unified Task List user interface.

Task provider instance

Task provider instances are services that access back-end systems to retrieve tasks. Task provider instances reside in the Task Provider Instance Registry (TPIR) and contain the parameters that you specify in task providers.

Task Provider Instance Registry

The Task Provider Instance Registry (TPIR) contains task provider instance configurations. A task provider instance configuration contains a set of parameters required to connect to a back-end system and a unique ID to map the parameters to the appropriate task provider. The Task Provider Instance Registry service resides in WebSphere Application Server and stores the task provider configurations in an XML variable. The Task Provider Instance Registry service also provides a service to get and modify task provider instances.

Task dispatcher

The task dispatcher acts as a link between the Unified Task List portlet and the task providers. When an action occurs in the portlet, the task dispatcher retrieves task provider instance configurations from the task provider instance registry service and calls a getTaskList service operation on each task provider instance configuration.

Task handler

Task handlers define what the Unified Task List portlet does when users select a task to advance a workflow. The task handlers determine how the Unified Task List portlet connects to the tasks that the users must complete.

So, there you have it, UTL is now an integral part of WP8, which is nice :-)

5 comments:

puleen said...

If I had a usecase where I wanted to aggregate tasks from multiple applications, would this Unified Task List portlet be the right answer?

Also, do you know if the tasks get performed in WP8 or does the user get sent to the source application where the task gets performed?

Dave Hay said...

@Puleen, yes, the UTL portlet has the concept of a Task Provider: -

"...
You can create multiple task providers to aggregate tasks from several back-end systems. For example, you can create a task provider to access, retrieve, and format tasks from a particular back-end system. You can then create another task provider to access, retrieve, and format tasks from a different back-end system. The result of these two task providers is that a single set of tasks displays in the user interface, but originate from two different back-end systems.
..."

The tasks are performed in the back-end and/or the middleware layer with which the UTL portlet interfaces, such as IBM Business Process Manager (BPM).

Regards, Dave

Ryan Cox said...

Hi Dave, have you used the Unified Task Portlet with BPM 8.5? I'm going through the steps to configure it, and the Task Provider Instance named "IBM Business Process Manager 7.5.x" works fine for retrieving open tasks and displaying them, but the Task Handling configuration blows up when it tries to retrieve the list of process apps available in BPM. Just wondering if you ran into this, or were able to successfully get this working with BPM 8.5?

Dave Hay said...

@Ryan

Nope I'm afraid I haven't used the UTL portlet since late 2012, and that was with BPM 8.0.

Apologies, Dave

Dave Hay said...

@Ryan

Serendipitously, the BPM Wiki article on using UTL with BPM 8.5 has been added in the last few days.

I referenced it in this post here: -

http://portal2portal.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/websphere-portal-8-unified-task-list.html

Cheers, Dave