Sunday, 14 June 2009

Progress!

So now I at last understand how to customise Jetspeed. There are four basic areas you can tweak:

  1. The administration portlets. Here under 'Portal Site Manager' you can select a page and configure it to some extent. Crucially you can't alter the layout of the stuff in the middle. For that you need:
  2. The .pgsml files. These specify in simple XML how to lay out the portlets on a page. Or you can edit a page directly in the portal by clicking on the pencil icon if you have admin privileges.
  3. The decorations/layout and decorations/portal folders in the jetspeed or (in my case 'dv' application) folder contain stylesheets for tweaking the appearance of the header, footer and portlet decorations. Overall layout is determined by choosing and manipulating:
  4. The header.vm, footer.vm Velocity templates. These are basically HTML files with embedded stuff that boggles the mind where it comes from. I wasted considerable time trying to trace it back through the Java and Velocity macros and eventually gave up. Familiarity will come in time, but it ain't easy.

But, hey, it's starting to look like the portal I wanted, and that's progress! Here's a peek at my first embarrassing effort:

Obviously I haven't finished colouring it correctly or even giving it a main menu or any content yet. But hold on, this my first effort at building a portal and I am as proud of it as a toddler with his first painting. We're actually only going to support four languages (unless we can find someone to do a German or Hindi version) namely French, Italian, Spanish and English, so don't get carried away.

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