Now I know that SiteStudio 10gR4 is hardly brand new but for my own work I’m really starting to dig into it. We’re running a version of Oracle UCM here at ImageSource that, well, not to put too fine a point on it, is getting a bit long in the tooth. So, in order for me to play around with it, I ended up installing Oracle UCM 10gR3 on a development system. I got to say that playing with all the new goodies is pushing getting our production system updated much higher up on my personal priority list!
There are so many new features that SiteStudio 10gR4 brings to the table that to go over them all in detail would take more time than I can spare. With that in mind I’m going to focus on a new feature that really excites me: External Application Integration.
Oracle has provided us two brand spanking new services in this latest release: the WCM_PLACEHOLDER service, and the WCM_BEGIN_EDIT_SESSION service. Now, with names like that I can forgive you if you are wondering where the sexiness is located. Let me assure you, it’s in there in spades.
WCM_PLACEHOLDER lets any external application you can think of, be it a custom thick-client, a web portal, or a mashup, get at any piece of content stored in UCM. Wow! Not only that but you can specify a rendering template (also stored in UCM) to format the data that’s returned. Double Wow! So let’s say that you are creating a web portal and want to pull out, say, a word document that happens to contain a press release so you can extol the new virtues of Product 2.0 on the portal page. With WCM_PLACEHOLDER you could load a link like the following using a standard HTTPRequest on the portal page:
And get a fully rendered HTML fragment returned to you. Even though it was a Word document, since we’re pulling it from UCM and using a region template that uses the DynamicConverter to convert that document into HTML, we don’t have to worry about it. Because this is all done over HTTP we can leverage all the powerful AJAX methods that really are what modern website programming is all about.
You might be saying at this point “Okay, getting HTML back is okay I guess, but man, I really wish I could just get it in some easier format to work with it just as data and let my custom application do what I want with it.” Luckily, WCM_PLACEHOLDER still has us covered. Continue reading