Using the First steps console
The WebSphere Application Server installation process can automatically start a First steps console to help you familiarize yourself with WebSphere Application Server and perform some initial configuration tasks. Figure 10 shows the initial screen of the First steps console.
Figure 10. First steps console
As shown in Figure 10, the First steps console provides links to a number of convenient tasks that you may want to perform immediately after installation, including:
- Installation verification: Checks your WebSphere Application Server installation to verify that it is installed correctly and starts the application server as part of this check.
- Start the Server: Starts the WebSphere Application Server, displaying the output of the startup process in a separate window for convenience and diagnostic purposes. When the application server is running, this link changes to a Stop the server link, which provides a convenient way to stop the server and displays the output of the server shutdown process in a separate window. Stopping the server requires the administrative password that you set during the installation process and provides a convenient check that the application server's internal authentication mechanism is working correctly.
- Administrative console: Starts the WebSphere Administrative console in a browser window, enabling you to perform configuration tasks that are outside the scope of the installation process. Starting the administrative console also requires the administrative password that you set during the installation process.
- Profile management tool: Enables you to create additional execution profiles, each of which can be for use with specific enterprise Web applications, port configurations, and so on. If you did not specify a target server environment during the installation process and are not migrating server configuration information from an existing WebSphere Application Server installation, use this option to create at least one WebSphere Application Server profile. You cannot start WebSphere Application Server without at least one profile—each profile provides the configuration information required to start the application server in a specific context.
- Samples gallery: Provides access to the sample applications you installed during the installation process.
- Information center for WebSphere Application Server: Opens the WebSphere Application Server Library Web site in a browser to provide detailed information about WebSphere Application Server in a variety of enterprise application scenarios.
- Migration wizard: Starts a wizard that simplifies migrating configuration information and applications from earlier versions of WebSphere Application Server.
The next few sections provide highlights of using selected options from the First steps console.
Though error messages would have displayed had any problems occurred during the WebSphere Application Server installation process, it's always comforting to be able to double-check that your application server installation is complete and that all the necessary configuration files were created correctly during that process.
To verify that WebSphere Application Server was installed correctly on your system and start it as part of the testing process, click the Installation verification link in the First steps console. A window like the one shown in Figure 11 displays.
Figure 11. Output of the verification process
As you can see from this figure, the verification process first starts the application server with your default profile and then connects to the application server to verify the Servlet engine, JavaServer pages, and enterprise bean configuration. It then examines the authentication of the key stores that are used to provide secure connections between WebSphere components.
When the verification process completes, you can click the close button in the upper right-hand corner of the output window to close that window and return to the First steps console. Note that the Start the server link has been replaced by a Stop the server link because the WebSphere Application Server was started as part of the verification process.
If you choose not to verify your WebSphere Application Server installation as described in the previous section, you can start the WebSphere Application Server manually by clicking the Start the server link in the First steps console. Clicking this link displays an output window much like the one shown in Figure 11, except that it only shows the initial text about starting the server and does not probe the configuration of your server.
Note: If the First steps console does not show a Start the server link, but instead displays only a Stop the server link, your WebSphere Application Server is already running.
After a line like
ADMU3000I: Server NAME open
for e-business... displays in the output window, you can
click the close box in the upper right-hand corner of the
output window to close that window and return to the First steps
The WebSphere Application Server Administrative console is the primary mechanism for configuring the application server, integrating the application server with external applications such as database systems, and installing WebSphere applications. If you are new to WebSphere Application Server and want to explore the administrative console or want to install new WebSphere applications immediately after installing WebSphere, you may want to start the Administrative console from the First steps console.
Click Administrative console to start the WebSphere Administrative console from the First steps console. The login screen for the Administrative console opens in a browser window, as shown in Figure 12.
Figure 12. Administrative console login screen
The Administrative console requires a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) HTTP connection, generally referred to as a Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Sockets Layer (HTTPS) connection. The page shown in Figure 12 only displays if a valid third-party SSL certificate is installed on your system. If the system on which you installed WebSphere Application Server does not have a valid certificate issued by a third party, you will see a warning dialog like that shown in Figure 13 instead.
Figure 13. Certificate not trusted alert
If you see this message, see the next section of this tutorial for information about configuring a security exception for your system's existing certificate.
If you see the Administrative console login screen as shown in Figure 12, enter the administrative username and password that you defined during the installation process and click Login or press Return. The WebSphere Application Server Administrative console displays, as shown in Figure 14. You can explore or use the Administrative console, clicking the Logout link in the header when you are done.
Figure 14. Administrative console
As discussed in the previous section, the WebSphere Application Server Administrative console requires an SSL HTTP connection, generally referred to as an HTTPS connection. According to the default security policies used by most systems, this means that the public key security certificate presented by your system must be a valid certificate issued by a trusted third-party certificate authority such as thawte, VeriSign, GeoTrust, and many others. See Resources for more information about these third-party certificate authorities.
In a production environment, you will certainly only want to use WebSphere Application Server on a system with a valid enterprise or third-party security certificate so that users of your Web applications can verify the identity of the system that they are connecting to. However, you may be installing and configuring WebSphere Application Server on a new system for which you have not yet obtained a certificate. In this case, you can temporarily or permanently define your existing certificate as a trusted one that is an exception to the standard WebSphere security policy.
Figure 15. A secure connection failure in Firefox
Click the Or you can define an exception link to begin the process of identifying your system's certificate as a valid digital public key certificate. A screen identical to the current screen displays, with the exception of two additional buttons that display at the bottom of the screen. Click Add exception to continue the process of defining the current certificate as an exception to the default certificate policy. The dialog shown in Figure 16 displays.
Note: Clicking the Get me out of here! button exits the exception definition process and returns you to your browser without establishing a connection to the WebSphere Administrative console, which isn't all that useful for the purposes of this tutorial.
Figure 16. Initial dialog for defining a security exception
Click Get Certificate to retrieve your system's current certificate, which displays information about the current certificate and enables the Confirm Security Exception button at the bottom left of the dialog shown in Figure 16, as shown in Figure 17.
Figure 17. Updated dialog for defining a security exception
The Permanently store this exception check box above the Confirm Security Exception button enables you to specify whether your system permanently stores the current certificate as an exception to the security policy, or whether it will only be accepted for the current session. When configuring systems for production use, clear this check box so that you must always go through the security exception process to prevent you from forgetting to install a valid certificate on the system that is running WebSphere Application Server. If you are working on a test system that will never be used in production, you can leave the Permanently store this exception check box selected.
Click the Confirm Security Exception button to define the current certificate as an exception to the security policy. The WebSphere Application Server Administrative console login screen displays, as shown in Figure 12. You can then enter the administrative username and password that you defined during the installation process and click Login or press Return to access the WebSphere Application Server Administrative console, as shown in Figure 14. You can explore or use the Administrative console, clicking the Logout link in the header when you are done.
Clicking the Samples gallery link in the First steps console displays the page shown in Figure 18, which enables you to experiment with the sample applications that you optionally installed during the WebSphere Application Server installation process.
Figure 18. Sample applications gallery
You can execute or modify these examples to get a feel for how to write WebSphere applications and how they will be displayed and perform in a WebSphere-based environment. The most interesting of the sample applications is an online Java Pet Store that enables you to walk through an example of browsing and purchasing products online.
When you're finished experimenting with the sample applications, you can simply close the browser window to return to the First steps console.
After experimenting with the various options provided on the First steps console, you may want to terminate the application server so that you can experiment with manually starting the application server or integrating starting and stopping the WebSphere Application Server into your system's startup and shutdown processes, as explained in the next section of this tutorial. To stop the WebSphere Application Server from the First steps console, click the Stop the server link in the First steps console. Clicking this link displays an authentication dialog like the one shown in Figure 19.
Figure 19. Authenticating to stop the application server
Enter the administrative username and password that you set during the installation process, and click OK to begin the application server shutdown process. A dialog like the one shown in Figure 20 displays, showing the output of the shutdown process.
Figure 20. Output from stopping the application server
After a line like
ADMU4000I: Server NAME
stop completed displays in the output window, you can
click the close box in the upper right-hand corner of the output
window to close that window and return to the First steps