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Integrate WebEx Web Conferencing with your Company Website

It's time to make your company more productive by improving its communication tool! Whether you're focused on internal communications or external communications with customers, partners, or investors; WebEx Web Conferencing is the answer to many business processes and communication challenges such as training/learning, corporate and HR communications, sales efforts, and customer support.

Integrate WebEx Web Conferencing into your company portal today and start benefiting from the array of WebEx Web Conferencing service centers which enables enhanced communication and increases employee productivity.

Typical Meeting Features:

  • Schedule future meetings and invite attendees to participate
  • Start an impromptu meeting and invite attendees on-the-fly
  • Review and manage all your meetings in one location
  • Browse other company meetings and join if applicable
  • Review historical details on past meetings (ex. time, date, duration, who attended, etc.)
  • Support Sing Sign-On (SSO) behavior so users have transparent access
  • Enable or disable meeting properties as you see fit (ex. private meeting, password required to attend, send e-mail invite reminder, enable polling, notes, or chat, etc.)

When scheduling or editing a meeting, several properties can be enabled or disabled and the portal integration can reveal or suppress these features as desired. Below are a few examples of available properties:

  • Private or public meeting listing
  • Password required for attendees
  • Allow attendees to register prior to the meeting
  • Send attendee email invite/reminder
  • Type of teleconferencing should be employed (call-back vs. call-in, toll vs. toll-free…)
  • Allow attendees to join meeting prior to start time
  • Enable polling, notes, or chat
  • Allow meeting to be recurring
Technical Integration

The biggest challenge to portal integration with WebEx Web Conferencing services is not which features to expose, but rather what technical approach to employ. As with any integration effort, there are multitudes of ways to a successful completion. Your integration choice has a large dependency on the specific portal standards. At a high level, the on-line meeting features can operate in the context of portlets, or might be embodied in lower-level control elements from which customized or personalized portlets can be constructed.

For example, in the BEA Portal framework, a developer could utilize BEA's Page Flows and Controls which are specific to that environment. This offers convenience and rapid implementation benefits due to the intelligent support for these constructs within BEA's WebLogic Workshop. Alternatively, developers can stick to Cross-platform industry standards such as Struts and JSR-168 portlets.

Regardless of the particular portal framework and the approach chosen, the portlet logic can interact with WebEx Web Conferencing services through either the XML API or URL API for meeting a user management, and data exchange. The URL API is used for launching meetings, joining meetings, and starting impromptu meetings. The portlet logic mainly needs to keep track of user authentication data and meeting keys. All other data exposed in the portlets can be dynamically obtained from WebEx Web Conferencing service via XML requests. Alternatively, the portlet can use WebEx Web Conferencing common entry points to display meeting listings, use profiles, join interfaces, etc., in WebEx Web Conferencing framesets typically presented in a separate browser window.

User workflows and relevant API calls for a typical portal integration could look like the following:

  • Scheduling Meetings
    • Gather needed metadata from the user (ex. session title, session options, attendees, start time and date) and integrate into the user's personal portal calendar.
      Note: A wizard approach to collecting this data is preferred to lengthy HTML forms
    • When the data is gathered, the portal logic constructs an XML request for the type of meeting service (use CreateMeeting for Meeting Center, CreateTrainingSessions for Training Center, CreateEvent for Event Centers…)
    • The portal then issues an HTTP(S) post operation making the request, and the XML service returns the meeting key. The portlet can manage returned meeting keys associated with the user for various follow-on operations such as obtaining Start Meeting URLs for the host, and Join Meeting URLs for the attendees. Meeting keys can also be returned from listing requests and managed dynamically.
  • Managing Meetings
    • Another portlet interface displays scheduled meetings or sessions for various scopes. One listing can list "My Meetings" (meetings scheduled by the current user) and another can list public meetings (available to users).
    • Each listing element would display the meeting name, start time, public/private status, and action elements.
    • When a meeting has been scheduled by a host, it shows up on the appropriate meeting directory according to its public/private status. This update is immediately visible by performing a refresh on the listing panel or using the cached meeting key returned from the schedule meeting request to obtain the Start Meeting URL and gathering meeting information (meeting name, date, start time, etc.) to refresh the listing.
  • Meeting History
    • Provide a listing of historical meetings previously hosted by the current user is another useful portlet offered by WebEx Web Conferencing.
    • To obtain a list of previously held meetings or sessions, the portlet can issue requests from the XML History Services such as LstmeetingusageHistory request (for Meeting Center) or LsteventsessionHistory (for Event Center).
    • Each request supports options for date-range limitations, ordering options, and pagination.
    • Attendee information for meetings is provided by Lstmeeting attendeeHistory, LsteventattendeeHistory… and is on a per meeting basis using the meeting key.
      NOTE: For global reporting on all public and private meeting histories, issue the listed commands using a WebEx site administrator's credentials.
  • Site Administration
    • Incorporation of site administration is the last area needed to complete a full portal integration effort.
    • A WebEx Web Conferencing Site ID and Partner ID are required to enable access to organization's WebEx Web Conferencing site via API calls. These parameters are required in the security context of every XML request.
    • WebEx Web Conferencing recommends that these parameters be flexibly configured in a .conf file or in an administrative user interface.
    • Several options exist to make the portal integration more flexible, and offer customized properties for users, groups, or global policy enforcements (ex. teleconference integration, password policies, reporting facilities, user administration, etc.)