Discovering Portlets in IBM Workplace Services Express

Any page that’s interactive in any way includes one or more portlets. A portlet is actually a small computer program, written in Java. Some pages contain multiple portlets that display information or are used to interact in some way with a team space, document, library, or application.

You could use Workplace Services Express (WSE) all day long without ever knowing what a portlet is or what Java is, and that’s half the point. WSE provides you with collaborative team spaces and tools and all kinds of cool things like that, and now you know that a lot of those cool things are, in computer terms, called portlets.

Moving portlets

Depending on your access level, you may be able to move portlets on a page. If you’d prefer, for example, to have the My Weather portlet on the left instead of the middle of your Welcome page, you can click and drag it to a new location.

Use the following steps to move a portlet:

1. Position the mouse over the title bar of the portlet you want to move.

    The mouse cursor changes to a four-headed arrow, officially called a Move cursor.

2. Hold down the left mouse button to grab the portlet.

The mouse cursor changes to a hand and the portlet’s contents dim.

3. Drag and drop the portlet to its new location.

If the page has other portlets on it (as the Welcome page does), WSE shows a big orange bar to indicate that dropping the portlet there moves the existing portlet farther down on the page.

Whether you realize it or not, this drag-and-drop business is a big deal. If WSE didn’t let you drag and drop portlets with your mouse, you’d be in a world of hurt, and up to your eyeballs in things like Java development, DHTML, and Cascading Style Sheets every time you wanted to move the parts of your pages around.

Adding portlets to a page

Depending on your access level, you also may be able to add new portlets to a page. For example, say you just created a new team space, and you want to add a different form portlet to the team’s home page. Adding a new portlet to a page is easy.

Use these steps to add a new portlet to a page:

1. Click the Portlet Palette button to maximize the list of available portlets.

The Portlet Palette slides out. (Come on, admit it, it’s cool.)

2. Scroll through the list to find the portlet you want to add to the page.

If you want to add a portlet that’s not in the list, scroll through the list and select Add.

3. Drag and drop the portlet to its new location on the page.

When you move the mouse over the portlet’s icon, the mouse cursor changes to a four-headed arrow. When you’re satisfied with the portlet’s new location, let go of the left mouse button.

Depending on the portlet you choose, you may have to configure it before it is ready to use.