Friday, 30 March 2012

ATG CA --> BCC home screen --> How to add a new link

          Activity source is the property which controls the links on the left nav on the BCC home screen. All activity sources are registered with the ActivityManager component at /atg/bizui/activity/ActivityManager. When rendering the BCC home page, the ActivityManager cycles through all the registered ActivitySource components and displays left navigation links for each of them on the BCC home page.

For example if I want to add a new link "My New Link" , below screen shots exaplins how this can be done

1. Add to specify the activityresources. In this  activityManager, I specified one MyActivitySource.

2. Add  to specify the name of the link and the other details . Here it refers to a bundle properties file.

 3. Add  the bundle properties file  to specify the name of the link.

 4. Now you could see the new link @ BCC home page .

Each activity source has the following important functions:
  • Specifies the links on the left nav used for browsing repositories (via a genericActivities.xml file)
  • Specifies the links on the left nav used for creating a project to create and/or edit assets (via a workflowActivities.xml file)
  • Destination page to go to after the project has been created in step (2)

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Search engine shutdown call from the Estore instnace

 When the estore or commerce instances are restarted the routing system service can send shut down requests to stale engines, this can be caused because of any of the following.

1. Some other instance marked the engine as stopped in the DB (This can be caused because the machine could not reach the host running the engine)
2. The eStore instance is using a different search schema that has data about the search engine host and is marked as stopped in that DB.

To avoid this overrride \atg\search\routing\ by setting

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

JBoss --> How to take thread dumps

Following are the different options in JBoss to take the thread dump.

1. Using JBoss jmx-console :  Got to http://localhost:8080/jmx-console and search for the mbean "serverInfo" and click on that link. Click the invoke mbean operation under listThreaddump() method. This will give you the current snapshot of threads which are running in your JBoss jvm.

2. By using twiddle :  In the commnad promt go to <JBOSS-HOME>/bin and run the command twiddle.bat invoke "jboss.system:type=ServerInfo" listThreadDump > threadDump.html and you could find the threadDump.html with the JBoss thread dump.

3. Using "Interrupt" signal : Use kill -3 <process-id> to generate thread dump. You will find the thread dumps in server logs.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

ATG Search --> Performance decisions in Enterprise search

Read more about the basic design decisions for a commerce search setup @

Read more about search engine tuning @

Following items will affect search performance:  number of items to be searched, quantity of content for each item, number of meta tags, number of facets, Search Merchandising settings, constraints, number of returned results,... You could find a detailed analysis below :

1. Decide how many search engines you need : Based on the performance requirement of the ecommerce site, create the Search Project @ BCC - Search Admin and add the search engine hosts. Read more about search project creation and search engine host set up @

2. Decide the search indexing properties : Search indexing time and search response time are dependent on the index file size. As part of verification process, the irrelevant attributes from search index definition file should be removed. As a result, users will view relevant results with less number of attributes and also will get improvements in search indexing time.

3. Decide how many search projects you need : If your application is a multi locale application, you could create multiple search project for each locale. This will give you more options for each locale and a separate search engine can support a locale. Read more about search project creation @

4. Decide whether you need to do parallel search indexing : If you have multiple search projects, you could do parallel search indexing and improve search indexing performnace.

5. One search engine per box : Search engines should always run on their own machine, with no other applications running.  This is critical for machines responding to search queries to ensure proper and consistent user experience.

6. Indexing engine box : The search engine used for indexing should not be run on the same server as an engine used for query response.  The search engine used for indexing is preferred to be run on its own machine (with no other applications), but can be run on the CA/BCC.  If this is done, the CA machines should be deployed with extra power (CPU speed and cores, RAM) so that indexing does not affect BCC user experience.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

ATG --> How to prevent Cross-Site attacks using _dynSessConf parameter

Cross-site scripting attacks take advantage of a vulnerability that enables a malicious site to use your browser to submit form requests to another site.

In order to protect forms from cross-site attacks in ATG, you can enable form submissions to automatically supply the request parameter _dynSessConf, which identifies the current session through a randomly generated long number. On submission of a form (using dsp:form tag) or activation of a property setting (using dsp:a tag), the request-handling pipeline ( DAFDropletEventServlet ) validates _dynSessConf  against its session confirmation identifier. If it detects a mismatch or missing number, it can block form processing and return an error.

To disable this functionality, we could give the following properties (@ /atg/dynamo/Configuration to disable it globally)
enforceSessionConfirmation = false -->  specifies whether the request-handling pipeline requires session confirmation in order to process the request; the default value is true.
warnOnSessionConfirmationFailure = false --> specifies whether to issue a warning on a confirmation number mismatch; the default value is true.

You can control session confirmation for individual requests by setting the attribute requiresSessionConfirmation to true or false on the applicable dsp:form or dsp:a tag. If this attribute is set to false, the _dynSessConf parameter is not included in the HTTP request and the request-handling pipeline skips validation of this request’s session confirmation number.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Basic design decisions for a commerce search setup ( with an ATG Search view)

In this blog I would like to explain the basic set of configuration/design decisions needed to setup an ATG search project. Most of these design decisions are common for all Enterprise search applications.

1. Decide the searchable properties :   This means the properties that the business want the user to search in the ecommerce platform. In ATG search these are configured as the text properties in the product-catalog-output-config.xml ( the definitionFile of the \atg\commerce\search\ProductCatalogOutputConfig). Usually the displayName of product/sku, displayName of department/category/sub-category, skuId, brandName are the properties configured as searchable.

2. Decide the search refinement properties or the faceted properties :  After a user search for a keyword, search refinement is the next step done to filter his results. ATG supports the search refinement using the Faceted Search concept. Read more about facted search @ Here we need to decide which are global and which are local facets. Global facets are the search refinements common to all the category/department.For example Price/Brand are the facets common for all skus. Local facets are the search refinements specific to some category/departments. For example New Release/Coming Soon are the facets specific to Physical Media products like Vidoe/DVD/Blue-ray. In ATG search these are configured as the meta properties in the product-catalog-output-config.xml. Facet definition against the category can be done from the ATG - BCC. Read more about how to create facets @ . For text queries we normally use refineConfig=”map” and engine itself determines the right refine config.

3. Decide the search sort properties :  All the ecommerce site should allow the user to sort the search results based on some properties. You need to decide which are the properties and you need to add these properties as the meta properties in the product-catalog-output-config.xml. For sorting you need to specify the below parameters in the search engine request xml.
        a. docSort="predicate"  --> This attribute specifies the criterion for sorting the result groups returned by ATG Search. If the docSort parameter is not specified in the page, its value is taken from the component’s defaultSortMode property. The default value is relevance, which means the result groups are sorted by their relevance scores.
       b. docSortOrder=""  --> Ascending or descending order. If the sortOrder parameter is not specified in the page, its value is taken from the component’s defaultSortOrder property. The default value is descending
c. sortProp=""   --> This attribute specifies the property to sort on if the value of the docSort attribute is numprop or strprop.
d. docSortPred=".."  --> This attribute specifies the set of properties used for the default predicate sorting. An example can be docSortPred="relevance:descending|numprop:descending:childSKUs.skuFeature:1

4. Decide the refinment related search engine request parameters :  refineConfig="name" refineMax="max" refineTop="top" refineMin="min"  are the search engine request parameters related to facet.
• Max --> Maximum number of facet properties to return, even if the facet set could generate more. The default value is 0, which means no calculation is made.
• Top --> Maximum number of facet property values (per property). The values are selected in sort order, which usually is in terms of the number of index items that has each value. The default value is 5.
• Min --> Minimum size of a facet property value, in terms of the number of index items with that value. The default value is 0.

5. Decide whether you need the related search keywords :  If your ecommerce site wnat to display related search keywords , you need to specify " feedback=true" in the search engine request xml. For example if you search for "apple",  related searches will display "apple ipad , apple ipod,..."

6. Decide how many search result you want to display in each page <pagination> :  Pagination of the search result setup has the following parameters in the request xml
      a. pageSize  --> Specify the total number of results in a page
b. pageNum   -->  Specify the current page number

7. Decide whether you need automatic spell correction in the search result :  This can be set in request xml as autospell="true" to enable the spell check for ATG search . Make sure that terms like product names are added to the dictionary to avoid search treating them as miss spelt words.

8. Decide the maximum search results :  For performance related reasons, you may need to restrict the search results to a maximum count. This can be done in ATG search by using the below request parameter.
a. pool=500 --> sets the maximum number of results in search to 500.
b. retMax=6000 --> Limits the number of top candidates that are matched in detail for their final relevancy.

9. Decide whether you go for an AND/OR of the search keywords :  If the search query is " oracle atg" then whether the search need to run for  " oracle AND atg"  or   " oracle OR atg"  is decided based on the   mode=AND  property of the request parameter.

10. Decide whether you need to create synonym for some search keywords :  If the ecommerce site has some products with name baby and the business want to display these products for a search with keyword  child/ boy / girl / kid ,  then you need to create search synonyms using the BCC - Search Admin - Term Dictionary to give these terms as the synonym of baby.

11. Decide whether you need to specify a search redirection rule :  Search Redirection rule is used to redirect a keyword search to a a different  URL. Read more about atg search redirect rules @

12. Decide whether you need to specify a search result exclusion : Search result exclusion rule is used to specify the rules like " if the search query contains some phrase/word/pattern, do not return products in category/Id/name is...". Read more about atg search result exclusion @

13. Decide whether you need to specify a search result positioning rule: Search result positioning  is used to define rules that move certain search results higher on the results list. Read more about atg search result positioning  @

14. Decide whether you need to specify a search property prioritization: Search property prioritization is used to define the priority and weightage of different properties for determining the order of search results. Read more about atg search property prioritization @

15. Decide how many search engines you need : Based on the performance requirement of the ecommerce site, create the Search Project @ BCC - Search Admin and add the search engine hosts. Read more about search project creation and search engine host set up @

16. Decide whether you need to have the search suggestions module : Based on the search results, if no search results are returned the search suggestions module can suggest for some other query/results.

17. Decide whether you need Type ahead functionality : ATG 9 is supporting the Type ahead functionality,  which provides suggestions for search queries as you start typing some search key words.

18. Decide whether you need Insta search :  Instant search  or Insta search will give you search results as you type some search keywords.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

ATG --> Basic concepts of ATG

This blog is for the ATG beginners to get some basic overview about ATG. I just given the ATG concepts as a list of numbered points for the ease of understanding.

1. At the framework level, ATG is a
              java based application platform for hosting web-based applications, as well as RMI accessible business components,
              with an ORM layer,
              a component container,
              an MVC framework,
              and a set of tag libraries for JSP.

2. Art Technology Group(ATG)'s Dynamo Application Server (DAS) is a Java EE compliant application server. DAS is no longer actively developed as ATG recommends using other Java EE applications servers for its products such as BEA WebLogic, JBoss or IBM WebSphere.

3. Prior to ATG 2007, JHTML was used instead of JSP for view purpose. JHTML stands for Java HTML. This is a page authoring system developed at Art Technology Group (ATG).Sun Microsystems licensed parts of this technology and developed the JSP system from the ATG page compilation system.

4. ATG mainly works on the basis of following concepts:
       DSP Tag Libraries
      Form Handlers

5. Nucleus:  Nucleus is server side java beans. To use ATG platform functionality, a web application needs to start Nucleus by invoking atg.nucleus.servlet.NucleusServlet. It’s essentially an object container that manages the lifecycle of POJOs using reflection and dependency injection.

6. Droplet: Droplet is a Servlet and is also a Java bean. Advantage of droplet is that you can have multiple Droplets in a single page. Droplets can be nested and can pass parameters to each other.

7. DSP Tag Libraries: Dynamo Server Pages is a set of tags that ATG provides, that allow us to access the functionality provided by the Dynamo Application Framework such as accessing Nucleus componenets, passing parameters,...

8. Form Handler: ATG Form Handlers are components for validating and processing html forms, calling business components and managing flow between a limited set of pages (e.g. success/error), so a bit like Struts Action classes in that they mediate between the view and model. ATG provides hundreds of readymade form handlers for performing all sorts of tasks, like updating a customer profile, managing your shopping cart, checking out, or interacting with a repository.

9. Repository: A repository is a data access layer, which gives a generic representation for a data store.

10. Logging: ATG also provides a logging framework which is essentially a wrapper over log4j. A nice feature of this is that you can turn on logging for a particular component within a web browser. ATG also provides a performance logging framework which you can plug into components, and is very useful for identifying bottlenecks or problem areas in your code as it lets you browse and drill down into the performance timings and memory usage of components.

Following are the main administaration UIs provided by ATG

11. Dynamo administration: All the ATG components can be browsed and the properties can be modified at run time using dyn/admin. By clicking "View Service Configuration",  you can view the component in different modules in the hierachy.

12. ACC > ATG Control Centre: Browse and edit component configurations, Build scenarios, View and edit repository data. ATG provides a unified view of your application's data through the ATG Control Center which is a graphical user interface that uses the Repository interfaces to allow users to create, query, update, and remove repository items.

13. BCC >  Business Control Center: The ATG Business Control Center is a browser-based interface that you can use to create and edit many of the elements required to set up and maintain an ATG-based web site. This can be used for doing the Search Administration  and Content Administration.

14. CA > Commerce Administration: ATG Commerce Assist is a customizable and deployable customer service application that enables a Customer Service Representative (CSR) to perform the following tasks for an ATG Commerce site: Create and manage organization profiles (ATG Business Commerce only) , Create and manage customer profiles, Create and manage orders,  Issue refunds and exchanges, Process returned items, Research customer activity.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

ATG Search Indexing --> Overview of different steps in search indexing

Read more about the search indexing behind the scene steps @

ATG Search prepares searchable content by indexing the products specified in the XML definition file (/atg/commerce/search/ProductCatalogOutputConfig).

Generally there are two types of indexing
1.  Full Indexing  --> all data taken for indexing
2.  Incremental Indexing --> only changed data will be taken for indexing

When full indexing is triggered, following happens:

   1. The out of box component BulkLoader will call IndexedItemsGroup.getGroupMembers() to load the products to the XHTL document. It prevents uncategorized products from getting indexed. The definition file format begins with a top-level item as a product and includes the properties of parent category and childskus. For each product, the set of Variant Producers configured in ProductCatalogOutputConfig is executed to check how many index items are to be created.

   2. XHTML documents are generated for each product, in order to submit to the engine for indexing. The XHTML is generated based on the definition file specified in ProductCatalogOutputConfig. An XHTML document that represents a Commerce product includes information about its parent category’s properties, as well as information about the properties of the child SKUs.

  3. The definition file, product-catalog-output-config is parsed to generate the text and meta properties, to be added to the index. The Text–properties indicates the properties which can be searched on. The Meta-properties indicate the properties which can be sent as constraints for faceted search. The text property will be specified in <text-properties> tag and meta property in <meta-properties> tag. The properties for which there is a custom property accessor specified, the property accessor is used to obtain the value to be indexed.

  4. After all the products have been added, the out of box PostIndexCustomization is executed to add any refineConfig and rankConfig information. This is used by the engine for generating facets and for manipulating the search results

  In case of failure in indexing, check the following logs
- JBoss server logs - <JBOSS_HOME>\server\atg\logs\server.log
- Dumping request logs Folder - <ATG_HOME>\logs\searchEngineActivity\*.xml ( request and response xmls). These logs will provide whether what was the request send to search engine in xml form and what was the response from engine for a query.
- Soap request logs - <ATG_HOME>\Search2007.1\SearchEngine\i686-win32-vc71\bin. This is used for checking the indexing failing.

Monday, 5 March 2012

How to simulate Browser back button

When someone asks how to simulate a back button, they really mean to ask how to create a link that points to the previously visited page. Most browsers tend to keep a list of which websites the user has visited and in what order they have done so.

The DOM window object provides access to the browser's history through the history object. Moving backward and forward through the user's history is done using the  back(), forward(), and go() methods of the history object.

To move backward through history, just do window.history.back(); This will act exactly like the user clicked on the Back button in their browser toolbar.

Find below a sample html code:

<script type="text/javascript">
function goBack(){
   <input type="button" value="Back" onclick="goBack()" />

Thursday, 1 March 2012

ATG User Profile schema ER diagram

Check out the Product Catalog schema ER-Diagram @

Check out the Order schema ER-Diagram @

If you would like to know the relationship between different User Profile schema tables, please find below screen shot of  Profile schema ER Diagrams.