Create a Portal Application Archive (PAA) file

Use the Portal Application Archive (PAA) file format to install applications with the Solution Installer. The PAA file is a customized compressed file that contains an application. This application is installed on HCL Digital Experience with the ConfigEngine.

Many steps might be required to install and configure the individual resources of an application to HCL Digital Experience. This fact is especially true when you deploy applications with many resource types. The Solution Installer automates many of these deployment tasks. The Solution Installer uses resources that are contained in a Portal Application Archive (PAA) file. The PAA file is a ZIP compression file that has a specific directory structure. The PAA format informs Solution Installer how to install the application and provides the installable artifacts.

Currently, the Solution Installer focus is on installing applications to HCL Portal. Potentially in the future, IBM® WebSphere® Application Server solutions might be supported. The Solution Installer relies on the ConfigEngine, which is not specific to HCL Portal.

The PAA format can be employed to handle deployments that range from applications with only a few configuration steps to large-scale enterprise portal solutions. The directory structure of the PAA file is important to Solution Installer when you determine how to install a specific artifact, for example, how to handle shared library files. In addition, the software definition descriptor (sdd.xml) files also play a significant role in determining the installation steps. All required extension points for installation must be specified in an sdd.xml file local to the component. The component level sdd.xml file can now be generated automatically during the installation phase.

The PAA format can reduce the work that is required to create a deployable solution. Many deployment tasks can use a default configuration that is found in the Solution Installer. For complex applications, extra work is required to provide custom installation features. Using the PAA format with the Solution Installer reduces the production time for creating a deployable solution for your application.

A number of sample files that demonstrate the overall structure and usage of the PAA file format are included in the PortalServer_root/doc/paa-samples directory. These examples act as reference material for the remainder of the file specification documentation.