IBM WebSphere Portal Developer Interview Questions and Answers

IBM WebSphere Portal Developer Interview Questions and Answers

Last updated on 14th Oct 2020, Blog, Interview Question

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1.Explain what a Web-Sphere is?


Web-sphere is a tool based on Java and developed by IBM, to manage and create websites. Web-sphere is often used to build interactive web-oriented applications that support business functions required for e-commerce, it integrates all the data across different operating systems and applications.

2. Mention what are the important components of the Web-Sphere?


Important components of Web-Sphere are:

  • WebSphere Application Server or WAS : It connects the website users with Java servlets
  • Data–Server: For data persistence
  • Web–server: It provides the service of HTTP

3. Mention some of the features available in the Web-sphere?


Some of the features available in Web-sphere includes:

  • It supports the servlet/JSP container functionality that runs on top of HTTP
  • It supports HTTP servers as IBM HTTP server, Netscape iPlanet server, and MS IIS
  • It supports Java Server Pages, HTML pages, Servlets and XML
  • It supports EJB component model and Workload Management.

4. Mention how does a WebSphere or any Application server clustering work?


A WebSpheres web server plugin component routes requests to WebSphere cluster web containers.  If there is a communication failure with a particular cluster member, it will mark that member down and start routing all requests to the remaining cluster member till the original is available.

5. Mention what type of files are required to deploy an application into Websphere?


  • WAR or EAR files are required to deploy an application into the Web-sphere.
  • WebSphere_Short_logo

6. Mention what is asymmetric clustering in the Web-sphere?


In asymmetric clustering, the partition can be defined dynamically and runs on a single cluster at a time. The task which is particular to an appropriate cluster can be routed to that cluster. Usually, clustering is used by banks.

7. Explain what is node, node agent and node groups?


  • Node: It is a logical grouping of server processes maintained by WebSphere and that share common configuration and operational control
  • Node agent: Each node has a node agent that works along with the deployment manager to manage administration processes. It acts as a mediator between the node and deployment manager
  • Node Group: A node group is a grouping of nodes within a cell that have same capabilities

8. Explain what a cell is in the WebSphere?


A cell is referred to as a grouping of nodes into a single administrative domain. A cell can have multiple nodes which are all managed from a single point.

9. Mention what are the default ports you use to use WebSphere Application Sphere?


The default ports you use are HTTP: 9080 and HTTP: 9443

10. Mention when does WebSphere Application server contact the registry for user information?


Web-sphere application server contact the registry for user when users:

  • Checks the users password
  • Maps certificate information to a user id
  • Converts userid to registry uniqueid
  • Obtains group information

11. Explain what WebSphere is MQ?


WebSphere MQ is an application program that allows you to communicate with each other using messages and queues. This form of communication is referred to as commercial messaging. There are two methods for application to communicate, Request/Response and Fire & Forget.

12. Explain what is QueueManager in IBM Websphere MQ?


QueueManager is the important component of WebSphere MQ. It is accountable for storing and routing messages to other queue managers within MQ, and it also communicates with the outside world.

13. Explain what is SSLPEER in IBM Websphere MQ?


SSLPEER is a string usually distinguished name of MQ client, which links to QueueManager securely using Queue Manager. This is a mechanism used to identify clients.

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14. Explain what is extended deployment in WebSphere?


The extended deployment in WebSphere leverages enhanced qualities of service with features optimizing IT resources.

It spans three areas:

  • WebSphere Virtual Enterprise
  • WebSphere eXtreme Scale
  • Compute Grid

15. Explain what a WebSphere edge server is?


The WebSphere edge server is used to enhance the performance of web based systems. It can be used as a proxy server. There are basically four components in the web sphere : caching proxy, content distribution, network dispatcher and application server at the edge.

16. Explain how caching proxy of WebSphere on the edge server is done?


A caching proxy can be configured in forward direction or as a proxy. When a user requests the content, it is cached by the edge before sending or following to the query. Page fragments arising from Servlets or JSP are cached by Edge, and the Caching process becomes Slow. Performance and scalability can be optimized by edge.

17. Mention what functionality does caching proxy server provides?


Caching server provides functionality like

Reverse proxy and content based routing

Integration with servlet caching and dynamic content caching

18. Mention what are the Websphere MQ programming APIs?


Websphere MQ programming APIs include:

  • AMI (Application Messaging Interface)
  • JMS (Java Message Service)
  • MQI (Message Queue Interface)

19. Mention which resource can enhance EARs support apart from shared libraries and data sources?


Class loader policy, JAAS authentication aliases and virtual host information can enhance EARs support apart from EARs support and shared libraries.

20. Mention how many ways you can deploy the application in WebSphere?


In Web sphere application can be deployed in three ways:

  • Copy files directly to deploy application folder in web sphere
  • Use web sphere specific ant tasks create automated scripts for deploying application
  • Via administration console

21. Mention what Sync function does in the Websphere?


WAS (WebServer Application Server) stores all the configuration in one central location referred as Master Repository. The sync ensures the configuration in both local and master repositories are the same and in sync.

22. Explain what is a connecting pool?


Connecting pool is a cache of database connections maintained so that connection can be reused when future requests to the database are required. If all the connections are occupied, a new connection is created and is added to the pool.

23. Mention what is the difference between Websphere and Weblogic?


Websphere is focused more on connectivity, integration, and web services. It has better performance, rich implementation of J2EE, more extensive integration and transaction management compared to Weblogic.

24. What is Ripplestart?


Ripplestart is to restart the WAS cluster. It first stops the JVM and then starts it. By doing ripplestart you ensure only one JVM is down at one time hence no downtime to the applications.

Ex: you have 5 JVMs in a cluster and when you do ripplestart it will stop JVM1 and start JVM1 before stopping other JVM in a cluster.

25. What would you do when JVM is consuming 100% CPU & Memory on a server?


First of all, identify which JVM has high utilization. Take a thread dump of identified JVM for investigation and restart the JVM as a workaround to cool down the CPU/Memory.

26. What is node sync?


IBM WAS stores the entire configuration in a central repository called Master repository,and every node will have the local repository.

When you make any changes to the node through DMGR, you must sync it, so configuration is pushed to respective nodes server.

Sync always happens from master to local repository, so its one-way communication.

27. Can applications run without any issue if DMGR is down?


Yes, DMGR down doesn’t impact existing running applications. However, if you need to make any changes or deployment through DMGR, then that would be affected.

28. How to deploy an application in WebSphere?


There are three possible ways to deploy:

  • Hot deployment : copy the application file into the application directory. This is good for the non-production environment and not recommended for production.
  • DMGR : You can deploy an application through DMGR by going to Applications >>New application
  • Scripts : You can develop wsadmin scripts or ant tasks for application deployment.

29. Why does JVM come up automatically though I stop/kill the process manually?


There could be two things:

  • Automatic restart is enabled for the JVM which is default settings and available under JVM>>Monitoring policy.
  • If above is not the case then, there might be a script in cron, which checks for the process, and if not found then start it.

30. What is a virtual host?


Virtual hosts contain multiple URLs (IP or FQDN based) on a single application and configuration is done through the WAS administrative console.

In order to allow an application to be accessible on a particular URL, you must have this URL in a virtual host and associated with the application.

31. How would you deal with slow application complaints from clients?


Slowness could be due to various reasons, and it’s essential to identify if it’s from WebSphere or some other components. 

32. How to take WAS configuration backup without stopping the DMGR?


Go to DMGR profile and bin folder

Execute ./ -nostop to take a backup

33. What’s the default WAS port?


The default port for HTTP is 9080 and HTTPS 9443. 

34. What are the WebSphere editions available?


  • WAS – Network Deployment
  • WAS – Developers
  • WAS – z/OS
  • WAS – Hypervisor
  • WAS – Express
  • WAS – Base
  • WAS – Liberty core

35. How to check the installed WAS version?


  • Go to profile and bin folder
  • Execute ./
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36. How do you know if your JVM is up or not?


There are multiple ways to confirm this:

  • Login to a server and grep for the JVM by ps -ef | grep vmname
  • Check if you can access the JVM URL
  • Check if you can telnet JVM URL and port
  • Check if JVM port is listening on the server

37. Tell me some of the log files generated by WebSphere?


  • SystemOut.log
  • SystemError.log
  • native_stdout.log
  • native_stderr.log

38. How to generate a thread dump?


There are three possible ways to generate a thread dump:

  • Through DMGR console: Go to Troubleshooting
  • Select the JVM and click on Java core
  • Kill -3 PID of JVM

39. What’s the difference between vertical and horizontal clusters?


The vertical cluster has its members on the same node or server where horizontal is across multiple nodes and servers in a cell.

40. What is garbage collection?


Garbage collection is a memory management process which automatically frees the objects that are no longer in use by the program.

41. How do you disable security in WebSphere?


You can disable security by executing security off through DMGR must be restarted after switching off the security.

42. How to enable verbose garbage collection?


Verbose GC is not enabled by default and if you need you can do it by:

Servers >>Server Type >>WebSphere Application Server

Select the JVM >>Process definition under Java and process management.

43. How to make WebSphere auto-start when server reboot?


WebSphere automatically generates a startup script in /etc/init.d which will ensure it starts when rebooted.

44. How to increase the heap size of JVM?


  • Login to Administrative Console
  • Go to servers >>Server types >>WebSphere application server
  • Select the JVM >>Process definition >>java virtual machine
  • You can enter initial and maximum heap size here.

45. Can you Sync the node when node agent is down?


Absolutely, nodeagent must be stopped for sync to work.

46. What’s a command to stop and start DMGR, Node Agent JVM?


To stop:

  • Nodeagent –
  • DMGR –

To start:

  • Nodeagent –
  • DMGR –

47. What’s new in WAS 8.5.5?


  • On the high level:
  • Java SE 7 support
  • HPEL logging
  • Inbuilt health management
  • Liberty profile
  • Intelligent routing
  • Dynamic clustering
  • JDBC 4.1 clustering
  • Web 2.0 support

48. What does it mean by node federation?


Federation in the WebSphere means adding a node to the Cell. This is done by command, and this may take a few minutes based on the node size.

49. What is FFDC?


FFDC (First failure data capture) capture event and error during WebSphere runtime. FFDC data can be beneficial to analyze the issue, and this is often asked by IBM support if we contact them for any issues.

50. Which scripting language is the default in WebSphere? JACL or Jython?


JACL is the default scripting language in WebSphere.

51. How can you apply a fix pack in WebSphere 8.5.x?


IBM IM can be used to apply the fix. 

52. What are the environments you support?


Be honest and explain the environments you support. You may be supporting the following.


  • CIT
  • SIT
  • UAT
  • DEMO
  • Pre-production
  • Production
  • Staging
  • QA

53. Where is your web server hosted?


Again explain about your supported application architecture. However, in a typical production environment for the Internet-facing applications, Web servers would be in DMZ and application servers in a core network.

This means you must have necessary ports allowed in the firewall between web servers to an application server.

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54. What is the session affinity?


Session affinity in another word is persistence session. Having session affinity allows a request to bind with a single JVM. It means the returning request will always be routed to the same JVM.

55. Can you deploy more than one application in single JVM?


Yes, multiple applications deployment is possible on a single JVM as long as the context root for each application is unique.

56. Which database do you use with Websphere?


Tell them what you use. Most of the organizations use Oracle databases but WebSphere supports the following database as well.

  • DB2
  • Oracle Database
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Sybase

57. How do you connect Web Server to WAS?


There are two ways to connect to WAS:

  • Using plugin: this is the recommended method to install WAS plugin on a web server.
  • Using Proxy Pass: if you are using Apache and don’t want to use the plugin then you can connect to WAS JVM by ProxyPass directive.

58. Do I need a Web Server in front of WAS?


It’s recommended to have a web server in front of WAS for better security, performance & maintenance.

59. What is the default session timeout for an administrative console?


30 minutes

60. What is a fix pack?


A fix pack is a collection of patches provided by IBM. It may contain bug fixes, security patches & performance improvements.

61. What is the registry or repository supported in WebSphere?


  • Federated repository
  • Local operating system
  • Standalone LDAP registry
  • Standalone custom registry

62. What are shared libraries?


Creating a shared library is recommended to reduce the duplicate library files. The single shared library can be used by multiple applications within a cell.

63. What is context root?


A context root for each application should be unique within the cell. It’s defined in the deployment descriptor and used to access the application.

64. What is the WAS plugin configuration file name?


WebSphere plugin configuration name is plugin-cfg.xml

65. How to change WebContainer thread pool size?


WebContainer thread pool can be changed by going inside JVM >>Thread pools >>WebContainer

66. Can you change the context root for deployed applications?


Yes, it’s doable. To do this through the administrative console, go inside the application and click Context root for web modules to change the context root.

JVM must be restarted after the change.

67. Which script to change the Java SDK used by profile?

Ans: script is available in the bin folder which will help to change the SDK.

68. What is PMT?


PMT (profile management tool) is GUI to create and manage the WebSphere profiles.

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69.How to find Web Server Vulnerabilities with Nikto Scanner ? 


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70.What is the difference between Application Server and Portal Server ?


Application servers extend the ability of a Web server to handle Web application requests, and enables a server to generate a dynamic, customized response to a client request. A portal server extends the application server by providing a portlet container that can run portlets and to create a portal a website that provides users with a single point of access to Web-based resources by aggregating those resources in one place.

71.What are the steps involved in deploying themes and skins in a clustered production websphere portal environment ?


  • Export the WebSphere wps.ear (Portal EAR) using wsadmin.
  • Use EarExpander tool to expand the exported wps.ear file.
  • Copy the updated themes and skins into ../themes/html, ../skins/html folder.
  • Use EarExpander tool to collapse the EAR directory into an EAR file.
  • Use wsadmin to update the wps.ear to complete the deployment of updated themes and skins.

72.What changes need to be done to view changes to your theme and skins JSPs without restarting the portal server ?


You need to enable automatic JSP loading by setting reloadingEnable property to true in the ibm-web-ext.xmi file of the wps.ear.

73.What are the 3 different ways of installing a portlet application in WebSphere Portal ?


  • Install a portlet using the portal administration page using Web Modules portlet.
  • Install a portlet using xmlaccess tool.
  • Pre-deploy a portlet as a standard EAR by installing the portlet WAR file in the WAS console and then registering the portlet using xmlaccess.
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74.What is the purpose of XMLAccess configuration file Export.xml &ExportRelease.xml ? What is the difference ? when will you use one over the other ?


Export.xml exports the complete portal configuration and is useful when transferring configurations between development installations.

ExportRelease.xml exports the complete portal configuration from the release domain as required by the portal ReleaseBuilder tool and is useful when transferring different release configurations between staging and production environments.

75.List me the steps involved in building a release in WebSphere Portal ?


  • If you have a completely new installation of the staging server and the production server:
  • Install the staging server, then install the production server.
  • Develop a release on the staging server.
  • Build the release on the staging server.
  • Empty portal contents on the production server by running the|bat action-empty-portal task.
  • Import that release onto the production server. Refer to Transferring a complete configuration for information.
  • If you already have a production server without a staging system:
  • Export the release of your production server.
  • Install an empty staging server using one of the following two methods:
  • Install the staging server with the flag -W
  • After installing and configuring the staging server, run the|bat action-empty-portal task.
  • Import the production release onto the staging server. Refer to Transferring a complete configuration for information.
  • Develop and build a new release on the staging server.
  • Export that new release from the staging server.
  • Use ReleaseBuilder to generate the differential between the two releases.
  • Import the differential onto the production server.

76.What is the purpose of the ReleaseBuilder tool in WebSphere Portal ?


ReleaseBuilder enables management of release configurations independent of user configurations and used during staging of follow-on releases of WebSphere portals, configurations, and artifacts that need to be moved between systems.

77.What are the steps involved in editing WebSPhere Member Manager (wmm.xml) files on a federated node ?


On the primary node of the WebSphere Portal cluster, check out the files using ./ check-out-wmm-cfg-files-from-dmgr task.

Make any changes to the Member Manager files. The files can be edited in the portal_server_root/wmm directory on the WebSphere Portal node.

78.How to change the default portal URI /wps/portal after installation ?


Set the property Wpf Context Root to the new URI and run ./ modify-servlet-path task.

List different types of user registry supported by WebSphere Portal :

  • LDAP (includes LDAP with an optional database user registry).
  • Database user registry.
  • Custom User registry, (non-LDAP, non-database).

79.What is LDAP realm support and why would I want to use it?


A Realm allows you to group users from one or more LDAP trees of one user registry and expose them as a coherent user population to WebSphere Portal; this is also referred to as horizontal partitioning. Realms allow a flexible user management with various configuration options; for example, you can combine principals from one or more corporate LDAP trees. A realm must be mapped to a Virtual Portal to allow the realm’s defined user population to login to the Virtual Portal.

80.What is an Application group and why would I want to use it ?


Application groups is a concept that allows you to define user groups within the database user registry with members (users or groups) contained in the LDAP user registry you configured. The benefit of application groups is that you can create Groups that are only used in WebSphere Portal particularly in scenarios where there is Read-only LDAP or special group setup specific to the portal.

81.What are the two methods to install the empty staging WebSphere portal server ?


  • Empty portal contents on the staging server by running the ./ action-empty-portal.
  • Install portal with the ./ -W”True”option.

How do you stop portal traffic to the node being upgraded in 24×7 cluster upgrade process :

Locate the cluster member being upgraded, and change the value in the Configured weight column from a value to zero and make sure the plugin config information is propagated to the webserver to stop traffic.

82.How to set limits on searches for users and groups ?


Setting a maximum number of search results maximumSearchResults=”200″

in wmm.xml

83.What portal resources are scoped for a virtual portal ?


  • Portal pages.
  • Portlet instances.
  • Portal Search Engine search services and search collections. This includes the search content sources.

84.What portal resources cant be seperated for virtual portal ?


  • Themes and skins.
  • Vault segments and vault slots.
  • Supported clients and markups.
  • Composite applications and templates.
  • Policies.

85.How do you enable temporary and extended trace logging for WebSphere Portal ?


Temporary traces can be set for a temporary period by using the administration portlet Enable Tracing or the IBM WebSphere Application Server administrative console and also using the Enable Tracing portlet in the portal administration page.

To enable extended trace settings for a longer period of time, that is, for more than one session, switch them on in the WebSphere Application Server configuration, save the updates and restart the portal server.

86.What are the different states of the syndication process ?


  • Idle: No syndication is occurring.
  • Pending: A request has been made to the syndicator, but it has yet to initiate a request to the syndication application.
  • Queued: The syndicator has sent a request to the syndication application, but syndication is not yet active.
  • Active: Syndication is occurring between the syndicator and subscriber.
  • Disabled: Syndication is currently disabled.

87.What are the two types of rendering portlets ?


Local rendering portlet and Remote rendering portlet.

88.Explain About Web Sphere Commerce?


IBM web sphere commerce has a single platform which offers complete e-commerce solutions to developers. It can be very productive if you are planning to do business with consumers, business and indirectly through channel partners. This can be used to perform business with consumers, business and channel partners altogether.

89.Detail About The Architecture Of Web Sphere?


Web Sphere is built on three main components they are:

  • Database
  • J2EE application server
  • A web server

The databases which it supports are:

  • DB2
  • Oracle
  • Cloudscape

90.What are the Application server in IBMWAS and the supported web servers ?


  • IBM server
  • Microsoft IIS
  • Sun web server.

91.Explain About The Security Features Present In Was?


Security model for the web sphere is primarily based on the JAVA EE security model. It also depends upon the operating system. User authentication and authorization mechanisms are also provided in WAS. Lightweight third party authentication mechanism is the main security feature present in WAS.

92.Explain The Various Administrator Benefits Using Web Sphere?


Web sphere almost reduces the work of the server administrator as he can manage load on servers efficiently without any hassles. It also gives him flexibility to divide the load and applications among different server farms. He can also predict the incoming load on servers. Email alerts, restart options, memory leak detection, etc.

93. Explain About The Network Deployment Feature Present In Was?


Managing singletons will be a thing of the past and it also provides hot recovery of singletons which makes you forget about your GC collected singletons. Transaction logs can be stored on a shared file system. For clustering run time operations deployment manager`s role was eliminated. J2EE failover support and cell configuration support is also present.

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