Vivek Agarwal’s Portal/Java Blog

An IBM Gold Consultant’s weblog about IBM, Lotus, WebSphere, J2EE, IT Processes, and other IT technologies

WebSphere Portal v6 Cluster Theme Update Issue (“Random”)

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on May 24, 2007


Our team is in midst of wrapping up a project around a WP upgrade from v5.1 to v6, and we are in the process of finalizing functionality on our staging environment – hence all the cluster related issues are coming to the fore! A WP “feature” (present since v5.1 at least) around theme deployment and updates in a cluster absolutely bugs the heck out of me! All themes and skins are bundled as part of the wps ear, and updating the themes in a clusters requires you to unzip the contents of the ear, add/update your theme files, zip the files up, and update the wps ear. We have had occasional issues with theme updates in v5.1 and now in v6.0 that for some reason the wps ear process does not go smoothly on the cluster and the deployment manager ends up deleting key WP files such that Portal will no longer start up successfully. We are absolutely sure that the unzipped ear and the re-zipped ear did contain all the files that we found to be missing after the ear update failed. However, I have not seen any reports of other people encountering this issue. Anybody else out there who has had the same experience?

This whole process seems seriously flawed to me from a design perspective. If I were building WP as a product, I certainly would not want my user base updating the enterprise application that comprises my core product functionality. I would have rather expected the themes and skins to be deployed as separate web applications (similar to portlets) that could be updated by my customers without fear of blowing away half my core ear! IBM, are you listening?

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