Highlights of the new and enhanced features
The Rational Application Developer portal development tools in Version 8.5 have been enhanced to take advantage of IBM® WebSphere® Portal Version 8.0 capabilities. You also get revamped support for developing portlets that will be access from mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.
WebSphere Portal 8.0 runtime support to create and test portlet projects
Rational Application Developer 8.5 has a new server runtime environment (shown in Figure 1), server type (Figure 2), and stubs for WebSphere Portal 8.0 support.
Figure 1. New Server Runtime Environment wizard
You can create portlets targeted to WebSphere Portal Version 8.0 runtime and then publish or deploy to it, as well. This allows creation of portlets that leverage new features in the WebSphere Portal Version 8.0.
Figure 2. New Server wizard
JavaServer Faces 2.0 portlets support
Rational Application Developer 8.5 provides tools for creating a JavaServer Faces (JSF) 2.0 portlet application by using the New Portlet Project wizard shown in Figure 3. The portlet project created generates a default Facelet and the entire configuration required for deploying a JSF 2.0 portlet on WebSphere Portal 8.0. The default JavaServer Faces facet version is 2.0 for the Faces portlet project, with target runtime as WebSphere Portal 8.0, as shown in Figure 4 You can drag the standard JSF components and portlet palette items onto the Facelet page to generate Java code automatically, following coding best practices. All new JSF 2.0 features can be used seamlessly in portlet applications created in Rational Application Developer.
The JSF 2.0 portlet bridge acts as a broker between a portlet container and a JSF container to render a portlet on a portal page. You can use it to create portlets based on JSF 2.0 specifications and publish them on IBM WebSphere Portal 8.0. The JSF 2.0 portlet bridge is included in WebSphere Application Server Version 184.108.40.206 and later versions.
Figure 3. New Portlet Project dialog window
The Manage Features wizard lists the project facets, including all facet names and versions. This makes using all new features of JSF 2.0 on WebSphere Portal very convenient
Figure 4. Project Facets page
Rich page Editor for portlet development with CSS3 and HTML5
The browser-based editor introduced in Version 8.5 helps you preview the Facelet or JavaServer Page (JSP), as they would appear in a web browser. The rich page editor provides WYSIWYG (preview) designing capabilities and supports HTML5 and CSS3 editing. It also offers instant preview and Content Assist help. You can create and edit JSP portlet files using the rich page editor. It shows different representations of your portlet page, with Source, Split, and Design view options. The editor uses embedded browsers to produce a visual representation of a page in the design view. For example, you drag any palette item onto a Border Container, as shown in Figure 5, and use the Split view to see both the Design (preview) and Source (code) views.
Figure 5. Rich page editor
Single-click enablement of Web 2.0 features
The New Portlet Project wizard has been redesigned (see Figure 6) to provide single-click enablement for various Web 2.0 features that you can use in portlets. This is both intuitive and easier than having to enable these through project facets.
Figure 6. Web 2.0 features in the New Portlet Project creation wizard
Mobile browser simulator
Rational Application Developer provides a fast and easy way to test multichannel portlet applications by using a mobile browser simulator. You can test the output view of the portlet on this simulator without having to install any separate device simulator. You can view the output on various mobile devices in a mobile browser simulator, and you can do all of this by staying within the integrated development environment (IDE).
To run a portlet project on a mobile browser simulator, right-click on the portlet project, select Run As, and then select Run on Mobile Browser Simulator (see Figure 7). The mobile browser simulator offers other features, such as switching orientation of the device, adding multiple devices simultaneously, mapping devices to their actual physical sizes. It is a very convenient and effective new feature to aid you in mobile portlet application testing.
Figure 7. How to access a mobile browser simulator
Improved smartphone and tablet portlet support
The improved smartphone and tablet support enables you to work on separate views for smartphones and tablets, rather than using a single portlet view page for both of those devices, as in earlier versions.
You can also choose support for either or both tablets and smartphones for your portlets, or both. When you select either of those options while creating a portlet project, Rational Application Developer now automatically provides support for selecting the devices as well, as show n in Figure 8. This opens further new options while developing portlets for these devices.
Figure 8. Improved smartphone and tablet support
The different portlet view JSPs created for devices as shown in the project structure of a device-enabled portlet project (see Figure 9).
Figure 9. Different device-enabled portlet project views generated
Dojo Mobile widgets support
Figure 10. Dojo Mobile widgets
Dojo markup and other boilerplate content is automatically generated when any Dojo mobile widget is dragged onto a portlet JSP file. Listing 1 shows an example of code generated for Dojo mobile widgets.
Listing 1. Code generated for Dojo mobile widgets
<div id="widgetContainer_<portlet:namespace/>"> <div data-dojo-type="dojox.mobile.View" id="view_<portlet:namespace/>"> <h1 data-dojo-type="dojox.mobile.Heading"data-dojo-props="label:'Heading'" id="heading_<portlet:namespace/>"> <h2 data-dojo-type="dojox.mobile.EdgeToEdgeCategory" id="edgeToEdgeCategory_<portlet:namespace/>"> <div data-dojo-type="dojox.mobile.EdgeToEdgeList" id="edgeToEdgeList_<portlet:namespace/>"> <div data-dojo-type="dojox.mobile.ListItem" data-dojo-props="label:'Item1''"></div> <div data-dojo-type="dojox.mobile.ListItem" data-dojo-props="label:'Item2''"></div> </div> </div> </div>
Support for device classes
The multichannel smartphone and tablet support is now enhanced and standardized to include device classes. Earlier versions relied on the user agent string to detect the device from which the incoming request originated. This meant that no new device support could be added at run time, and it was also a non-uniform way of detecting devices.
Now, the WebSphere Portal runtime provides a standard API called Client profile information (CC/PP) for accessing client profiles. These APIs are exposed to the portlet developers as device classes, such as smartphone or desktop. These are referred in the portlet class to render the specific page based on the device class, as shown in Figure 11.
Figure 11. Screen capture of code generated automatically for a device class
Version 8.5 advances Rational Application Developer in both multichannel development capabilities and the tools it provides for developers to create exceptional web experiences for end users. Both the tools and the ease of using them make it a very intuitive and productive to create the next generation of portal applications that give businesses an extra edge.
- Browse the Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software page on developerWorks for links to technical articles and many related resources. Also check these resources related to this article:
- Read What's new in Rational Application Developer 8.5, and see the Rational Application Developer Version 8.5 information center for documentation.
- Check the Portal tools overview and the portal tool videos about creating a JSF 2.0 portlet project, mobile device support, plus a viewlet that demonstrates WebSphere Portal 8.0 runtime support for creating and publishing portlet.
- Explore the Optional software available that can support and enhance your work.
- Subscribe to the developerWorks weekly email newsletter, and choose the topics to follow. Stay current with developerWorks technical events and webcasts focused on a variety of IBM products and IT industry topics.
- Improve your skills. Check the Rational training and certification catalog, which includes many types of courses on a wide range of topics. You can take some of them anywhere, any time, and many of the Getting Started ones are free.
Get products and technologies
- Try Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software, free.
- Evaluate IBM software in the way that suits you best: Download it for a trial, try it online, use it in a cloud environment, or spend a few hours in the SOA sandbox learning how to implement service-oriented architecture efficiently.
- Check Rational Application Developer wiki and in the Portal tools section there to keep up with news and to contribute.
- Join the Development Tools forum to ask questions and participate in discussions.
- Rate or review Rational software. It's quick and easy.
- Share your knowledge and help others who use Rational software by writing a developerWorks article. Find out what makes a good developerWorks article and how to proceed.
- Follow Rational software on Facebook, Twitter (@ibmrational), and YouTube, and add your comments and requests.
- Ask and answer questions and increase your expertise when you get involved in the other Rational forums, cafés.