Let's focus for a minute on integration. The key factor from an integration perspective is how to user's credentials (user name and password) get passed from the Portal to Domino. WebSphere Portal provides a credential lockbox called the Credential Vault. Essentially the Credential Vault can hold either a shared user name and password (for applications that can use the same credentials for all users) or private credentials for each user. Of course, in the case of e-mail, they will have to be private credentials. When the user first accesses the portal page with a portlet that accesses Domino mail and/or calendar, the user is prompted for their user name and password. For all subsequent visits, the portal simply passes the user name and password on to Domino. If the user changes his/her password, the portal will prompt the user to re-enter the credentials. While this is a feasible solution, most companies don't like solution for e-mail because it breaks the concept of one login to all applications (single sign-on).
The second and much preferred integration method is to enable single sign-on between Domino and WebSphere. This requires a little more setup than the Credential Vault, but when it's set up, the portal automatically authenticates with Domino and vice versa -- it's seamless single sign-on between the portal and Domino. When a user logs into the portal and goes to a page with a mail portlet, the mail is displayed immediately.
Now let's talk about user interface options. There are two options here also. You can use the Domino Web Access (DWA), which used to be known as iNotes portlet. For users who are very familiar with the DWA interface, the DWA portlet is very appealing from a user interface perspective. Note: If you choose this route, I highly recommend implementing the lightweight DWA interface because we've seen performance improvements in the portal environment in the range of 30%. The other option is called the Common PIM Portlets or CPP. The CPP portlets provide a generic interface to all different types of mail systems. The user interface is not as rich as the DWA portlet, but if you have a mixed e-mail environment or just want to avoid the overhead of the DWA user interface, the CPP portlets are a great way to go. Personally I would suggest that you evaluate both options.
This was first published in August 2005