208 eClient 101 Customization and Integration
8.1 Design considerations
Before you begin designing and implementing your customized eClient, there are
several important considerations:
Considerations for incorporating future upgrades of eClient
Considerations for working with different EIP back-end servers
EIP back-end access vs direct access to back-end servers
Maximum length of a URL
Variations in Web browsers
In the following sections, we address each of these in detail.
8.1.1 Considerations for incorporating future upgrades of eClient
One very important factor to consider when customizing the eClient is that IBM
will continue to update and enhance eClient. This may include changes to the
servlets, tag libraries, and most importantly, to the JSPs.
Since there are many JSPs that you can modify or replace with your own, it is
important to give careful consideration to how much you customize the JSPs and
how you will merge your customization with future versions of the eClient JSPs.
Keeping your changes manageable and easy to merge into new versions of the
eClient will make it easier to take advantage of new eClient functionality provided
in future versions of the eClient.
There are several things you can do to make this task easier:
1. Minimize the number of changes you make to the eClient JSPs.
This is a very simple yet important concept. While it can be tempting to begin
making small changes to lots of the JSPs to “tweak” the user interface, it is
important to remember that if you want to take advantage of new eClient
features in future releases, most likely you will need to re-apply and re-test
every customization that you make.
2. Keep as much new code as possible out of the JSPs.
Put as much custom code into new code modules outside of the JSPs as
possible. This can be in brand-new JSPs being the view for newly added
functionality (servlets) or new tag libraries. Using tag libraries reduces
complexity in the JSPs, allows implementation reuse, and simplifies migration
to a new eClient version.
3. Clearly mark your custom code in the JSPs.
You can make it easier to find your customizations by putting comments
before and after each change. This has been done in the examples in the
Chapter 8. Design and implementation considerations 209
redbook by inserting XYZ_CHG_BEGIN and XYZ_CHG_END before and after each
customization, where XYZ is the acronym for the fictional company.
Another alternative is to make each of your customizations configurable via a
properties file. This makes it easy to switch back to the default functionality of
the eClient, and also ensures that all changes are clearly marked. However,
this does require additional effort and results in more source code. Many of
the sample customizations in the later chapters of this redbook use this
We also recommend using file comparison tools to make it easier to compare
8.1.2 Considerations for working with different EIP back-end servers
Different back-end servers provide different functionality in the eClient. The
Content Manager Version 8 back-end server provides the richest set of
functionality. Many other back-ends may provide only search-and-view
functionality. You need to be aware of this if you are considering using different
8.1.3 EIP back-end access vs direct access to back-end servers
The eClient can connect directly to a back-end server such as Content Manager
Version 7 or Content Manager Version 8. As an alternative, the eClient can also
connect to the EIP database and use federated access to the back-end servers.
It is important to note that even if you access your back-end server by connecting
to the EIP federated connector, you may see native back-end interfaces for some
functions as you drill down on documents in the eClient. For example, when you
get into the edit attributes window, the interface no longer uses the attribute
display names used in the search templates and the search results. Instead, the
system goes directly to the back-end and displays the fields in the order they are
defined in Content Manager and with the attributes names defined in Content
In addition, if you use an EIP search template to perform a search and get a list
of folders, when you open the folder, the eClient must revert to a back-end
specific view of the folder. Therefore, you see the Content Manager Index Class
or Item Type names and the Content Manager attributes names after opening a