IBM Connections 5.0 UI Customization


(FYI:  A follow-up blog post with a few more details can be found here.)

The process for customizing the user interface has changed in IBM Connections 5.0.  In the past, we typically customized the UI by altering JSPs and providing new styles in the themes directory in the customization folder.  In IBM Connections 4.5, we introduced the “next gen” theme.  This theme was initially only available via the IBM Greenhouse but was eventually included with the product in V4.5 CR2.  In order to style this particular theme, you needed to unpack a JAR, make your changes, and then repack the JAR.  Your CSS customizations were also moved to a different folder structure in the customization directory.

In IBM Connections 5.0, you must now use a combination of those “old” and “new” techniques.  Here are the key things to be aware of:

  • JSP customization methods remain unchanged
  • For heavy CSS customization, we still recommend providing a new defaultTheme.css
  • For light CSS customization, or for adding new styles, we still recommend providing a custom.css file
  • The location of your new CSS files is now:  <customization_dir>/themes/gen4Theme
  • The location of application specific CSS files is now:  <customization_dir>/themes/gen4Theme/applications/<application>.css
  • Any new CSS images (for example, a new logo) must reside in the gen4Theme directory.  For example:  <customization_dir>/themes/gen4Theme/images/logo.png

Finally, here’s the major change you need to be aware of…  Any time IBM Connections 5.0 encounters a new image, it will attempt to rebase (or rewrite) the URI to the resource.  This behavior cannot be changed.  So, what does this mean?  You can no longer use relative paths in your CSS to identify the location of your images.  If you do this, your images will not appear.  You must now provide a full path to the images so that the server can find them.  Here’s an example:

.lotusui30 .lotusBanner .lotusLogo {
background-image: url("/");
height: image_heightpx;
width: image_widthpx;

All of your existing themes will need to be updated if you plan to use them on IBM Connections 5.0.

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks Paul, now i see some things clearer. 🙂

    I have a tip for calling the restartApp script (Cool! Thanks for it) you mentioned in the pdf. The commands work great, i use often sys.argv= and execfile when i have already an open wsadmin, but when i start it only for one script, you can use: -lang jython -username wasadmin -password password -f /scripts/ Common
    or -lang jython -username wasadmin -password password -f /scripts/ Common News


    • Paul says:

      Hi, Christoph. I’m glad this post was helpful. Thanks for the wsadmin tip. I’ll probably use this syntax in future revisions of the document 🙂

  2. Michael Bowler says:

    Hi Paul,

    Could I make a suggestion re references to the default gen4 theme:
    eg, /themes/gen4Theme/applications/.css

    Sugges these should be…


    Note: Each theme, for example: “red”, “green”, “onyx”, or “gen4″ (the default theme) has a theme customization folder called customizationDir/themes/Theme/. So the customization folder for the gen4 theme is customizationDir/themes/gen4Theme/.”

    For example, see:

  3. Divya says:

    Hi Paul and Christoper,

    I dont see file available by default.. where can I get this script!!

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