Wayne Beaton recently mentioned a program on his blog which keeps Eclipse in memory for better handling and performance. I recently did something similar with Tivoli Performance Viewer. By using the -Xms and -Xmx parameters on the Java command I was able to increase the default memory allocation pool used by the JRE. This simple increase made my life much easier during a recent run of performance tests for a new portal we were putting into production. The tool was especially sluggish when trying to log the results of some of our tests to create a baseline, and this memory increase helped a lot.
So, what does this have to do with Portal? Actually, quite a bit. Because WebSphere Portal sits on top of WebSphere Application Server it's important to understand that your knowledge shouldn't just stop at portal. The more you know about WAS, J2EE, IBM tools, and related technologies, the better your portal architecture and design will be. Many times I see portal teams building some custom security or caching framework because they don't know what is already available on the platform. WAS supports a number of APIs and contains additions that are proven and supportable for use in your application. Because these technologies are not always described in the Portal InfoCenter, many teams believe it is part of the WebSphere Administrators domain. As a portal practitioner I know that as I learn more about WebSphere performance and security and how to leverage existing technology, my designs continues to improve.
The moral here would be to start to learn more about the underlying technologies associated with WebSphere Portal. Yes, I know it's hard. There is already too much to learn about portal as it is. Start at a high level, and simply be aware of things that might be useful to you as you plan your project or design. Try and start a brown bag program with your colleagues and have someone brings new knowledge to the table every month. You can do what I do and try to spend one hour a week reviewing what is new on the developerWorks WebSphere and WebSphere Portal Zone. Try and bookmark interesting columns for later study. I'd be happy to hear your comments about what you do to stay abreast of technology as it continues to speed past us as if we were standing still.
Building a Foundation