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Oracle 10g Portal WTF -- portlet definitions are position based?  RSS feed

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I've just started working on a project based on Oracle 10g Portal Server. Yes, it's sunsetted. That explains why we're working in the dark.

Anyway, portlets are defined in an XML configuration file like this:

So, yes, we have to put the name of the portlet in 18 different ways, but fine. What's really weird is that when I put in a new portlet definition among the old ones, it basically broke the whole application. My team members tell me that deleting an obsolete portlet definition has the same effect. They say that the portal pages use some kind of index when placing portlets on a page, instead of matching on the ID, and so if you do anything to derange the positions of portlet definitions in that XML file, you break all the defined portal pages for everyone. SOP is to add new portlet definitions to the bottom of the XML, and never, never delete a definition. Is that really the way we have to work, or are we doing something wrong?
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