Working with IBM Connections Communities under a different URL

During side-by-side migrations or for backup/restore projects it sometimes is necessary
to access your Connections data under a different URL than the original one.

For side-by-side migration projects you may want to run a test migration and let
a subset of test users reach the new environment at a temporary URL. This way you don’t have explain anything about changing hosts files etc and testing access for mobile devices gives you no other challenges than using an alternative Connections URL.

Also testing purposes may demand you to have a set of data that resembles the production system. A thing that will help in troubleshooting data related production issues and gives you a try how to deal with a Connections data backup/restore routine.

The challenge with these projects is that there are components inside Connections which hold absolute URLs inside their configuration. The Community widget configuration is one of them. But you will also see this for Blog items which have images in them which are saved inside the Blogs component.

Also some issues could arise with embedded images inside Wiki pages. ( Okay so the Wikis embedded images thing is related to Connections 5.5. The following tech note was already released to address this issue. “Following migration to IBM Connections 5.5, images within wiki pages have disappeared and replaced with a small box.” )

As you notice it all is a bit trial and error which is mainly because no good
all-one backup / restore procedure exists yet. A lot of progress has been made to introduce trash cans in order to be able to restore deleted Files, Activities etc.
But doing a complete restore to a different environment, for example, get a presentably production like environment is a real challenge.

For now this Blog entry lists a way to fix the widget configurations of Communities so at least all functions within a Community are available and usable.

On creating, Communities don’t have absolute URLs in those widget configurations if
you stay to using “stock” Connections widgets. Add-on widgets like the Library and the “Featured Survey” widget always include an absolute URL inside their configuration.

The “Featured Survey” widget with a wrong URL configuration caused some Communities to get stuck in an infinite reloading loop.

Some other thing I saw going bork when accessing the Connections environment under a different URL was the Files widget. Saving settings for the Files widget will have the effect that absolute URLsĀ  are included.

Below the error you will see when the the Files widget configuration uses absolute URLs.Files-widget-error

All Communities have a widget configuration saved as XML inside a BLOB column in the SNCOMM.LC_EXTENSIONS table. The name of the column is EXT_VALUE_EXTENDED.

widget-config-featuredsurvey widget-config-library

 

 

 

 

 

Once you access the Connections environment at the correct URL the thing to fix is to replace all old URLs with the new one within all XML configurations. A good database tool which you can use to open/edit and save BLOB fields is DbVisualizer. Running it in evaluation mode will give a way to edit BLOB fields. If you have a lot of these wrong widget configurations you be better off coding something with Java or SQL else you will be clicking yourselves senseless.

mustang-edit-blob

This entry was posted in ibm connections and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please leave these two fields as-is:

Protected by Invisible Defender. Showed 403 to 807,320 bad guys.