How many pages must a man read ...

by Volker Weber

[With apologies to Bob Dylan]

Please make a guess before you click. How many pages does the install guide for WebSphere Portal 6 have? This is not recommended reading; it is required. And keep in mind, this is not about operation, administration or development. This is only for installing the product.

Get the guide here. Or find the page count here.


Good god! This is ridiculous!!

Ralf Stellmacher, 2006-07-27

That's one reason why I complained about installing ITIM and WPS with WAS lately without ever working with it before...

Martin Hiegl, 2006-07-27

Unbelievable! I posted this in our company - threatening the admins that they have to be kind to me, otherwise they have to install WSP 6 ;-)

Frank Mueller, 2006-07-27

that is just insane. Who with a clear mind would ever throw this at a customer?

Armin Auth, 2006-07-27

WebSphere Portal 6 is a complex product. When I first saw it at the DNUG in Karlsruhe I thought 'Wow, this is Workplace without Rich Client and some collaborative components'.
Whats wrong with this Installation PDF? It's much better then stuck in the middle of the configuration process because something is missing about using ORACLE as RDBMS.
Now you can start Internet research, get in touch with IBM (and hopfully get an expert) or trial and error (this will cost you looooots of time and you'll be a happy user of an hard disc image tool).
The manual is this big because it concerns several OS, several WebServer, several RDBMS etc.
It's not wrong to have big manual when you install this product.

Tobias Mueller, 2006-07-27

Tobias, please explain why chapter 5 exists. :-)

Volker Weber, 2006-07-27

Chapter 5 is the all-in-one chapter ;-)

Tobias Mueller, 2006-07-27

"If you don't want to read all other chapters just read chapter 5 !" :-)

Volker this is really made my day. I didn't notice it.
So it'll really have 902 pages, what a handy manual.

Tobias (still sweating)

Tobias Mueller, 2006-07-27

PEP20.17: If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea.

Hint: Open a Python interpreter, at the '>>>' prompt enter 'import this' (without quotes)

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2006-07-27

How embarassing - I guessed 40 pages before I looked ... I guess I'm not familiar enough with WebSphere Portal 6 ;-)

John Keys, 2006-07-27

Ok, I know, this discussion is about the manual, not the product. It is still good to know that you get what you want when you try it first without reading it at all.
Yes, you should have a supported OS and enough Diskspace / Memory, but that's not hard.
Run the install script, answer a few really simple questions and wait ~30mins (depends on performance and diskspace). The full stack is installed with a good demo setup which is also the base for further configurations.
In earlier times/versions you waited much (yes very much) longer and also had to perform several add on config steps before you see anything.
They may want to break down the install guide into multiple documents: Quick start (2-3 pages) for test setups or people who cannot wait, deployment guide and may be others.

Volker Jürgensen, 2006-07-27

The page count in the install guide is just the tip of the iceberg. Successfully getting Portal installed is quite painful. Make a mistake and you usually have no choice but to start all over again.

I like how Scott Berkun divides the world into people that make things complex and people that simplify. Clearly the Portal architects prefer to make things complex.

Bob Congdon, 2006-07-27

Why pick on portals (although I'd be pretty near the front of that line, I must confess)?

It's not just portals that are hopelessly, pointlessly complex: I've just spent three months (not full-time I hasten to add), re-writing installation and configuration documents for a well-known (non-portal) product.

And it was is an awful job. :o)

Ben Poole, 2006-07-27

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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