Digital Data Connector (DDC) for HCL Portal

You can use the Digital Data Connector (DDC) for HCL Portal framework to integrate data from external data sources on your portal pages by using HCL Web Content Manager presentation components. External data means that the data does not need to be stored directly in HCL Web Content Manager. For example, you can use DDC to render social data that you have on your HCL Connections server or on other social platforms in the context of your portal pages. Other possible data sources include news feeds, task lists, product catalog information, to name just a few.

With Digital Data Connector, your website designers can use Web Content Manager presentation components to generate the web page markup for your external data. They can use all the Web Content Manager data management facilities for managing your external data visualizations. These facilities include content syndication, version handling, workflow, and targeting. They can manage the design components in the same way as your other Web Content Manager content and design components. The major benefits of this approach include the following:
  • Your Web Content Manager designers can fully control the visual appearance of the integrated data.
  • They can visualize the external data in the same way in which they visualize data that is stored in Web Content Manager.
  • As a result, they can visualize the external data in a way that is consistent with the corporate design of your overall website by reusing existing Web Content Manager components.
  • To quickly adjust existing visualizations of your data or create new visualizations for new kinds of external data, you no longer need the help of software developers or the IT department. Your website designers can start working on the presentation templates directly from your portal pages that show the data. They use the inline editing capabilities of Web Content Manager.
  • Your website designers make updates to the Web Content Manager design components in project scope. This way, they can keep updates in draft stage until all updates to the project are completed, approved, and finally published.
You can use Digital Data Connector in the following ways:
  • You can code a Java plug-in, a so-called DDC plug-in, that hooks into the DDC. The plug-in loads the external data and transforms it into a generic DDC data structure, so-called bean lists. You can then have the bean lists rendered on your portal pages by using standard Web Content Manager rendering methods.
  • You can use the generic XML DDC plug-in that is built into Digital Data Connector. You can use this plug-in to integrate remote XML data without writing or deploying extra Java code. It supports various parameters that you can use to specify from where the plug-in obtains the XML data and how it transforms the data. The transformation turns a specific XML document format into the generic DDC bean list data structure. With DDC, you can define these transformations in a declarative way so that you can use arbitrary XML formats without having to write transformation code.
  • You can also use a combination of the two approaches.