Getting to Know: TEAM’s Free Custom Component Library
By: Dmitry Shtulman – Program Manager
We recently announced our free custom component library for Oracle WebCenter Content, but it’s worth taking a few moments to provide some detail on how the library came about and its multi-purpose use at TEAM. The idea behind the library dates back several years but for the longest time it was the butt of internal jokes – “Custom component library? Ha! We’ve been talking about that for years, good luck getting it done!” Despite the value we all knew it would bring it was just too difficult to find the time to implement it while we were heads-down on client work. Finally, in November of last year, I resolved to pursue the implementation with the help of our AC Teams (look for a future blog on that concept!).
There are two views of the custom component library: internal and external. The internal view is comprised of a user interface built on top of our internal content server instance. The second is external and what you see here: a very select and ever-growing list of those components we deem suitable for public consumption. The internal user interface is built using a content server service that retrieves a list of custom components and displays them using an HCSP template. The page allows users to sort and filter the list and quickly access each component’s readme file as well as additional key data. The external view is built into our main .com site and exposes components that we think are generic enough and useful to a broader audience. Each month we use the internal library view to find the latest and greatest component to expose on our site. After whittling down the list to a choice few, we perform additional testing and validation on internal environments to narrow the list down to the component that eventually gets exposed. We go through this rigor to uphold our focus on quality over quantity.
The single biggest benefit of the internal view of the custom component library is that it helps answer the age-old question consultants have on each and every project – “has this been done before?” – shortly followed by “how?” Having ready access to all of the components we’ve previously built prevents us from needing to re-invent the wheel on new projects and saves our customers money when we are able to easily repurpose existing code, concepts, and implementation approaches. This value also extends into the biggest benefit to the consumers of our external library view – they’re getting access to some of our best, tried and true component work. We’ve already had a number of existing and new client downloads since our recent announcement!
Although the planning, design, and coordination of the library involved our entire developer group, the primary charge was led by two of our team captains: Vedran Stanic – who gathered, reviewed and collated the components in our internal repository – and Brad Hickey – who built the interface within our internal repository for a more direct and intuitive end-user experience. The custom component library went live in April and there are several improvements planned for a 2.0 version. In the meantime enjoy the fruits of our labor on our website’s component download page and be sure to check in every month for something new!