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Customizing IBM Connections 3.0 - LS11 AD304

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Clayton Coleman, IBM Connections User Interface Lead, presented this excellent introduction to Customizing IBM Connections during Lotusphere 2011.

Clayton Coleman, IBM Connections User Interface Lead, presented this excellent introduction to Customizing IBM Connections during Lotusphere 2011.

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  • This talk will cover the different ways Lotus Connections can be branded and customized to fit your corporate deployment. It targets administrators and web developers who are interested in what is new for 3.0. Thanks you for attending my session. I'm the user interface (UI) lead for Lotus Connections, and have been the team lead for the Files component as well as a UI developer in Lotus for many years. You can reach me via e-mail at [email_address] . Be sure to check out the reference material section at the end – there's lots of useful information when getting started.
  • What's New – cover how customization and branding has changed and what has been added. Understand the new process – deep dive on the how of customization. Show with pictures what goes on when customizing. Branding a simple website – site is first customized with different colors, the logo is changed, images are added to the header, and finally the login page is updated. Recommendations about how to maintain your changes across fixpacks, solutions to common problems, and other useful guidance Migrating from a previous installation
  • The focus in 3.0 was centralizing and standardizing how we do customizations that require changes to files. We've tried to simplify the deployment, maintenance, and testing of customization. We've also enabled customization of new areas, like the login page, header menus, and “Getting Started” Branding Lotus Connections to look like your intranet should be much simpler in 3.0 – our styles are based on the IBM OneUI platform and are organized to be easy to change. Community themes and email digest customization covered in the infocenter.
  • While new features may be present for all of these areas, administrators comfortable with how these were managed in 2.5 should not see significant differences.
  • These roles merely indicate rough outlines of responsibility for branding and integrating a Lotus Connections deployment. Some organizations may combine all three together, and some may have much more formal roles. For instance, in many deployments the responsibility for styling the look and feel of the branding through CSS may be owned by a visual design department or contracted to an external design shop.
  • We have received a fair amount of feedback in 2.0 and 2.5 about what works and doesn't, and culled common issues from the support teams to understand how we can improve. We also looked at how teams maintain and develop customization and attempted to provide a solution that was as painless as possible. The changes in 3.0 are targeted towards resolving those specific problems, and in future releases we will look to expand what can be customized. Customization is intended to be simple: put files in the correct location on disk, and Lotus Connection will use those files instead of the files in the product. Remove the files and the customization goes away.
  • The customization directory is located on the file system in the Lotus Connections installation directory. This directory must be located on a shared file system in a clustered environment. Customization is typically a small set of files so the disk requirements are low, and the directory is only read once when the application starts up. Content is copied into a temporary directory in the installed applications directory. If you have very large customization files you will need to ensure your WebSphere installation directory has the necessary space – otherwise locate the files on a separate web server.
  • The hardest part of customization is finding the correct file, and ensuring you put it in the right location. Once that is correct Lotus Connections manages the rest. New versions of customized files are only picked up when the Lotus Connections applications are restarted, unless you turn on debug mode. You can also restart the application server(s) to pick up all changes at once.
  • What's New – cover how customization and branding has changed. Touch on how configuration aspecs have changed Understand the new process – deep dive on the how of customization. Show with pictures what goes on when customizing. Walkthrough of a simple example – site is first customized with different colors, the logo is changed, images are added to the header, and finally the login page is updated. Recommendations about how to maintain your changes across fixpacks, solutions to common problems, and other useful guidance Migrating from a previous installation Everything that wouldn't fit in an hour
  • The examples and images in this section reference the installation of Lotus Connections Files, but all common customization covered here applies to any of the Lotus Connections components equally (with the exception of the Getting Started page).
  • defaultTheme.css is the style sheet that changes the borders, color, and padding for the theme. For most of your needs this will be the file to change. To get ideas about color palettes, see the other themes located in the /nav/common/styles directory. The “gen1Theme” takes the new styles and makes it look like the 2.5 Lotus Connections theme and so is an example of a more drastic type of change. If you want to make simple changes only (perhaps just minor tweaks), add your rules to custom.css which starts off empty. This file is included last so it takes priority over over everything else. To override the default theme with another theme, copy the entire directory from the installed location to the customization directory, renaming the directory to “defaultTheme” and the primary files from “<xx>Theme.css” to “defaultTheme.css”
  • Once an image is available, it must still be used. Lotus Connections uses a CSS technique known as background images to centralize changing images across an entire deployment. By identifying the style rule that shows the image, you can override or change the style rule to provide a different image. You will also likely need to specify in CSS the height and width attributes of the new image if different than the old. Some images may be “sprited”, a practice of placing a number of small images into a single larger one and using CSS to show only a portion of the image. In those cases, be sure to reset all of the background-image related properties such as position and repeat.
  • The header supports dynamic logic through Java, but be aware that some of the Lotus Connections applications will publicly cache their HTML pages (Forums, Blogs, and Bookmarks). If you wish to provide user-specific or dynamic content in the header you will need to disable that functionality. JavaScript can be easily embedded into the header or footer, but if that script needs to leverage the Dojo toolkit used by Lotus Connections it should be placed in the footer (the script for Dojo is not included when the header is rendered). Avoid using document.write() where possible
  • The Log In page is a simple form with some additional logic for ensuring the user is taken to the correct location after log in. Changing the names of form values or the existing JavaScript on the page may cause issues with applications, therefore we recommend leaving those as is.
  • In order to more easily override strings, the full directory path of the file is shortened to a filename (by replacing slashes with periods). This allows all files to be located in a single directory. This full name is required (don't use 'templates.properties'). The InfoCenter contains a more thorough list of where to locate the base string files for each application. If you have additional questions please contact your support team about locating the correct file. String customization follows the standard rules from Java for resource loading – see http://java.sun.com/developer/technicalArticles/Intl/ResourceBundles/ for more information If your string changes are not visible please ensure that you have copied the key correctly. Copying the source line to the override file and then changing the value may prevent unintended errors.
  • Changes to strings requires a restart to the affected applications, even when the customization debug mode is enabled
  • As an optional step, you can also change the text strings displayed on the welcome page. Locate Homepage.ear/homepage.war/WEB-INF/lib/homepage.utils.jar and extract it to a temporary location. Find the file /com/ibm/lconn/homepage/ resources/nls/jsp_resources.properties. Create a new file <connectionsinstall>/data/shared/customization/strings/com.ibm.lconn.homepage.resources.nls.jsp_resources.properties Copy the strings relevant to the Getting Started page and edit them.
  • What's New – cover how customization and branding has changed. Touch on how configuration aspecs have changed Understand the new process – deep dive on the how of customization. Show with pictures what goes on when customizing. Walkthrough of a simple example – site is first customized with different colors, the logo is changed, images are added to the header, and finally the login page is updated. Recommendations about how to maintain your changes across fixpacks, solutions to common problems, and other useful guidance Migrating from a previous installation Everything that wouldn't fit in an hour
  • If you have made extensive unsupported customizations, be sure to keep track of which files you have changed and how you have changed them. While the primary supported customization types (header, footer, stylesheets) should change only rarely, other files may change more often and more significantly. When applying iFixes (as opposed to fixpacks) disabling customizations may not be necessary. However, if your fix does not take effect it may be due to a customization you have applied, and the support team may ask you to disable customization to verify your environment. Merging changes may be complicated, so always ensure you back-up your customizations first
  • What's New – cover how customization and branding has changed. Touch on how configuration aspecs have changed Understand the new process – deep dive on the how of customization. Show with pictures what goes on when customizing. Walkthrough of a simple example – site is first customized with different colors, the logo is changed, images are added to the header, and finally the login page is updated. Recommendations about how to maintain your changes across fixpacks, solutions to common problems, and other useful guidance Migrating from a previous installation Everything that wouldn't fit in an hour
  • Because everything is potentially customizable, we only officially support customizations that are documented in the InfoCenter. If you want to change something else, the support team can assist you in finding the right file, but any changes made to that file are at your own risk (and that file may change without notice).
  • The first four sessions will offer valuable insight into deploying and maintaining Lotus Connections 3.0 as well as the many improvements in this release. The Master Class (JMP302) will cover topics which are equally applicable to branding a Lotus Connections deployment.
  • Transcript

    • 1. AD304 Customizing IBM Lotus Connections 3.0 Clayton Coleman | Lotus Connections User Interface Lead | IBM
    • 2. Agenda
      • What's Different in IBM Lotus ® Connections 3.0?
      • 3. Understanding the New Customization Process
      • 4. Branding a Simple Website
      • 5. Best Practices for Creating, Maintaining, and Debugging
      • 6. Migrating Customization from Previous Versions
      • 7. Questions and Answers
    • 8. What Has Changed in 3.0?
      • Deploying changes to markup, style sheets, or images is much simpler
      • 9. There is a new “Getting Started” page on the Homepage – this customizable page can help introduce users to your deployment
      • 10. The header and footer now support Java TM Server Page (JSP) logic, and it is easy to add new menus or links to the header
      • 11. The log in page is shared by all applications in Lotus Connections and can be easily customized
      • 12. Most text in the user interface is replaceable
      • 13. Themes for communities are easier to deploy and manage
      • 14. Daily and weekly email digests (part of the Following feature) can be changed
    • 15. What Hasn't Changed (Much)?
      • Customizing Profiles for your company is very similar to 2.5
      • 16. Changing the business card
      • 17. Adding custom widgets to Homepage, Profiles, or Communities
      • 18. Defining custom languages for users to choose from
      • 19. Blog customization
    • 20. “Typical” Organizational Roles
      • Administrators
        • Configure Lotus Connections to match organizational objectives
        • 21. Maintain installation and manage deploying customization
        • 22. Work with developers to update customization when fixpacks are deployed
      • Designers
        • Determine how Lotus Connections should be branded within an organization
        • 23. Produce images and aesthetic guidance
      • Web Developers
        • Implement branding and customization with HTML through Java Server Pages (JSP), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and JavaScript
          • Assume sufficient familiarity to make basic changes to JSP files
        • Update customization when fixpacks or iFixes are applied
        • 24. Implement deeper customization of Profiles, Communities, or other components to fit organizational objectives
    • 25. Agenda
      • What's Different in IBM Lotus Connections 3.0?
      • 26. Understanding the New Customization Process
      • 27. Branding a Simple Website
      • 28. Best Practices for Creating, Maintaining, and Debugging
      • 29. Migrating Customization from Previous Versions
      • 30. Questions and Answers
    • 31. How Does Customization Work?
      • We Hear You!
        • Difficult to change the visual appearance of Lotus Connections with styles
        • 32. Changing files inside of the installed WARs is hard to maintain
        • 33. Login page not easy to change and different between each application
        • 34. Setting up a custom header and footer can be tricky in complicated networks
      • Goal #1: Make it simple to deploy customization
      • 35. Goal #2: Fixpacks and iFixes should not affect customization
      • 36. Goal #3: Most customization should follow a similar pattern
      • 37. Solution: Allow customer-provided files to override the installed files. Custom files are placed in a special shared customization directory. Removing the file from this directory undoes the customization.
    • 38. More Details on Customization
      • Content in the customization directory overrides installed content
      Footer Custom Header Custom Header Footer Header Customization Directory Installed Content User Sees Custom Footer Header Custom Footer Footer Header Custom Footer Custom Header Custom Footer Custom Header Footer Header
    • 39. More Details on Customization (cont.)
      • Find the file you want to change from the installed application
      • 40. Copy the file into the customization directory at the correct sub-directory
      • 41. Make changes to the copied file
      • 42. Restart the affected applications on your application server
      • 43. Done!
      • Lotus Connections manages deploying the custom file transparently – no separate server or additional configuration necessary
      • 44. To undo, delete the customized file and restart the affected applications.
      • 45. The InfoCenter describes where you copy from and where you copy to – generally, you copy the file from where it sits in the WAR to the same relative path inside of the common customization directory
    • 46. More Details on Customization (cont.)
      • Application-specific customization directories override the common customization directory
      Common Customization Installed Content Profiles User Sees Wikis User Sees Profiles Customization Footer Header Footer Header Footer Header Footer Header Footer Footer Header Footer Header Footer Footer Header Footer Footer Header Footer Footer Header Footer Header Header Footer Header Header Footer Header Footer Header Footer Header Footer Header Footer Header Footer Header Footer Header Footer Header
    • 47. Agenda
      • What's Different in IBM Lotus Connections 3.0?
      • 48. Understanding the New Customization Process
      • 49. Branding a Simple Website
      • 50. Best Practices for Creating, Maintaining, and Debugging
      • 51. Migrating Customization from Previous Versions
      • 52. Questions and Answers
    • 53. Branding a Simple Site
      • Convert the default look and feel to a Renovations branding
      • 54. Demonstrate linking a deployment to an intranet
      • 55. Enhance the log in page with a click-through agreement
      • Install Lotus Connections 3.0
      • 56. Turn on customization debug mode
      • 57. Restart the server
    • 58. Changing Colors
      • Open the style sheet file for the default theme in a text editor
        • <websphere> /profiles/ <profile> /installedApps/ <cell> /Files.ear/qkr.share.files.war/ nav/common/styles/defaultTheme/defaultTheme.css
      • Create a new, empty style sheet file in the common customization directory
        • <connectionsinstall> /data/shared/customization/common/ nav/common/styles/defaultTheme/custom.css
      • Open custom.css file in a text editor
        • Locate rules for sections of the page with accent colors – title bar and left navigation – in defaultTheme.css
        • 59. Paste those rules in custom.css, and change the colors from light blue to red
        • 60. Save changes
      • Tip: defaultTheme.css contains most color settings for the product
      • 61. Tip: Figuring out which CSS rules control which elements can be difficult. Use a tool like Firebug for Mozilla Firefox to locate the rules you want to change.
    • 62. Changing Colors (cont.)
      • Visit Lotus Connections in your web browser
        • Clear your browser cache!
        • 63. http://<server>:<port>/files
      • Tip: If you are making extensive changes or sending CSS to an external party alter defaultTheme.css instead.
    • 64. Adding a Logo Image
      • Create a new logo image for the site
        • toolbar_logo.gif (306x66 pixels)
      • Copy the image to the common customization directory
        • <connectionsinstall> /data/shared/customization/common/ nav/common/styles/images/toolbar_logo.gif
      • Verify that the image appears in your browser
        • Open http://<server>:<port>/files/nav/common/styles/images/toolbar_logo.gif
    • 65. Adding a Logo Image (cont.)
      • Open defaultTheme.css in a text editor
        • Change the source URL for the logo in this file
        • 66. Minor style changes to align the menus with the logo
        • 67. Save changes
      • Visit Lotus Connections in your web browser
        • Clear your browser cache!
        • 68. http://<server>:<port>/files
      • Tip: Any file you add to the common directory becomes available in all applications
    • 69. Integrated Header
      • Locate the header file
        • <websphere> /profiles/ <profile> /installedApps/ <cell> /Files.ear/qkr.share.files.war/ nav/templates/header.jsp
      • Copy the header file to the common customization directory
        • <connectionsinstall> /data/shared/customization/common/ nav/templates/header.jsp
      • Open the copied file in a text editor
        • Create a new “Intranet” menu drop down by copying the “People” menu link
        • 70. Add a “Support Forum” link in the upper right
        • 71. Move the logo element in the page
        • 72. Save changes
    • 73. Integrated Header (cont.)
      • Locate the header menu file
        • <websphere> /profiles/ <profile> /installedApps/ <cell> /Files.ear/qkr.share.files.war/ nav/templates/menu/people.jsp
      • Copy the header file to the common customization directory with a new name
        • <connectionsinstall> /data/shared/customization/common/ nav/templates/menu/intranet.jsp
      • Open the copied file in a text editor
        • Using the “People” menu as an example, create links pointing to intranet locations
        • 74. Save changes
      • Tip: Popup menus can use dynamic logic or Javascript – very flexible
      • 75. Tip: Menu contents can be styled as desired
    • 76. Integrated Header (cont.)
      • Visit Lotus Connections in your web browser
        • Clear your browser cache!
        • 77. http://<server>:<port>/files
    • 78. Enhanced Log In Page
      • Locate the login Java Server Page (JSP) file
        • <websphere> /profiles/ <profile> /installedApps/ <cell> /Files.ear/qkr.share.files.war/ nav/templates/login.jsp
      • Copy the style sheet file to the common customization directory
        • <connectionsinstall> /data/shared/customization/common/ nav/templates/login.jsp
      • Open the copied file in a text editor
        • Remove IBM branding and add informational text
        • 79. Add a very simple click through agreement using JavaScript
        • 80. Save changes
    • 81. Enhanced Log In Page (cont.)
      • Visit Lotus Connections in your web browser
        • http://<server>:<port>/files/login
    • 82.
      • Locate the string resource file for the header and login pages
        • Unzip the JAR file <websphere> /profiles/ <profile> /installedApps/ <cell> /Files.ear/lc.util.web-3.0.jar to a temporary directory with a zip program
        • 83. In the temporary directory, find the file /com/ibm/lconn/core/strings/templates.properties
      • Create a new file in the string customization directory with the name
        • <connectionsinstall> /data/shared/customization/strings/ com.ibm.lconn.core.strings.templates.properties
      • Open both the existing resource file and the new file in a text editor
        • Copy the entire line (or lines) you want to change from the old to the new file
        • 84. Change text strings for the log in page to match branding
        • 85. Save changes
      Altering Product Text
    • 86. Altering Product Text (cont.)
      • Restart the Lotus Connections server
      • 87. Visit Lotus Connections log in page in your web browser
        • http://<server>:<port>/files/login
    • 88. Getting Started Page
      • Create a new HTML file in the common customization directory
        • <connectionsinstall> /data/shared/customization/common/ nav/gettingstarted/renovations.html
      • Open the file in a text editor
        • Add informational text about guidelines for Renovations users.
        • 89. Save changes to the file
      • Change the first <step> in gettingstarted-config.xml (as described in the InfoCenter )
        • Secure link: ${lcurl:homepage.secure}/ nav/gettingstarted/renovations.html
        • 90. Unsecure link: ${lcurl:homepage}/ nav/gettingstarted/renovations.html
      • Restart Homepage application
    • 91. Getting Started Page (cont.)
      • Visit Lotus Connections Homepage in your web browser
        • http://<server>:<port>/homepage
    • 92. Agenda
      • What's Different in IBM Lotus Connections 3.0?
      • 93. Understanding the New Customization Process
      • 94. Branding a Simple Website
      • 95. Best Practices for Creating, Maintaining, and Debugging
      • 96. Migrating Customization from Previous Versions
      • 97. Questions and Answers
    • 98. Best Practices: Creating
      • Only copy the files you need into the customization directory
        • Reduce the number of files to manage
        • 99. Makes it easier to know what you have changed
      • Keep track of the changes you make through documentation or comments
        • Put comments directly into JSP or CSS files to simplify merging
        • 100. Extensive changes may be difficult to update from release to release
      • Use custom.css whenever possible
        • Easier to track your style changes and handle migration
      • Back up frequently, and have a process around deploying customization
        • If you have a staging or test environment, it is easy to back up your old customization before copying over the new customization
        • 101. If you rename or move the customization directory you will completely disable customization
        • 102. You may want to use a version control system for your customization folder
      • When you are ready to deploy, always update the version stamp
        • This ensures that old versions of the site are removed from browser caches
    • 103. Best Practices: Maintaining
      • Occasionally IBM will change a file you have customized
      • 104. All Fixpacks and iFixes will document which files are being changed
      • Back up your customization directory
      • 105. Disable all customization by renaming the customization directory
      • 106. Apply the iFix or fixpack
      • 107. Test that your environment still is functional
      • 108. Identify any files that have changed in the fixpack that you have customized
      • 109. Compare each new file from IBM to your customized copy, and merge changes
      • 110. Rename your customization directory to the correct name
      • 111. Test your customization
      • Most changes to supported customization files will be simple
    • 112. Best Practices: Debugging
      • Use customization debug mode in test environments
        • Changes take effect immediately
        • 113. Never use debug mode on a production server!
      • Why don't I see my changes?
        • Check that the file is in the right location in the customization directory (#1 source of problems!)
        • 114. Clear your browser cache
        • 115. Restart the application (or server) if debug mode is off
        • 116. Syntax error in file you changed? Check that there are no errors being output to the page or to the logs
      • Printing the list of customized files
        • Enable WebSphere trace for “com.ibm.lconn.core.web.customization.*=all”
        • 117. Restart the Lotus Connections application
        • 118. trace.log will contain customization debug information during application startup
    • 119. Agenda
      • What's Different in IBM Lotus Connections 3.0?
      • 120. Understanding the New Customization Process
      • 121. Branding a Simple Website
      • 122. Best Practices for Creating, Maintaining, and Debugging
      • 123. Migrating Customization from Previous Versions
      • 124. Questions and Answers
    • 125. Migrating from 2.5 to 3.0
      • Style customization
        • Some style rules have been changed, especially those that affect color and borders
        • 126. If you have added additional CSS files via the header, copy the contents of those files into <connectionsinstall> /data/shared/customization/common/ nav/common/styles/defaultTheme/custom.css
        • 127. If you have a complete visual override, you may want to port your changes to the new format by following the InfoCenter topic “Making extensive color and style changes”
        • 128. An example of the 2.5 theme (using the new style rules) is located at <websphere> /profiles/ <profile> /installedApps/ <cell> /Files.ear/qkr.share.files.war/ nav/common/styles/gen1Theme
      • Header and Footer
        • Because the header exposes new features in Lotus Connections 3.0, we recommend that you migrate your changes on top of the new header
        • 129. An example of the 2.5 header as a JSP is located at: <websphere> /profiles/ <profile> /installedApps/ <cell> /Files.ear/qkr.share.files.war/ nav/templates/originalHeader.jsp
    • 130. Questions and (Hopefully) Answers
      • More detail on a type of customization?
      • 131. Can I customize other things?
        • Yes, but support is limited outside of the types covered here. Change at your own risk, and consult with your support team.
      • Can support team answer customization questions?
        • Yes, for directly supported customization, and can provide info about what files need to be changed for other parts of the application
        • 132. Use recommended debugging steps – support team will ask you to work through those
      • Thank you!
    • 133. Related Sessions
      • AD301 Extending the Social Network: Part One
      • 134. AD302 Extending the Social Network: Part Two
      • 135. AD303 Connecting Developers and Community with Rational ® Jazz TM and Lotus Connections
      • 136. JMP205 IBM Lotus Connections 3.0 Administration Overview
      • 137. JMP302 Master Class: CSS and HTML Master Class
    • 138. Reference Material
      • InfoCenter
        • Overview and common process - Link
        • 139. Extensive color and style changes – Link
        • 140. Customizing the Getting Started page - Link
        • 141. Changing the header - Link
        • 142. Changing product strings – Link
        • 143. Customizing Email Digests - Link
      • developerWorks – Customizing IBM Lotus Connections 3.0
      • 144. Lotusphere 2010 – SHOW303: Putting Sparkle in Your Social Applications!
    • 145. Example Files Changing Colors
      • Changes to custom.css to alter colors
      Adding a Logo Image
      • Add a new logo for the header
      • 146. Change the styles which show the logo
      Integrated Header
      • Add a “Support Forum” link in the upper right
      • 147. Add an “Intranet” menu to the header
      Enhanced Log In Page
      • Provide a simple click-through agreement before log in
      • 148. Remove IBM specific image
      Altering Product Text
      • Alter the text on the Log In page
      Getting Started Page
      • Add a Renovations step to the Getting Started page
    • 149. Legal Disclaimer © IBM Corporation 2011. All Rights Reserved. The information contained in this publication is provided for informational purposes only. While efforts were made to verify the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in this publication, it is provided AS IS without warranty of any kind, express or implied. In addition, this information is based on IBM’s current product plans and strategy, which are subject to change by IBM without notice. IBM shall not be responsible for any damages arising out of the use of, or otherwise related to, this publication or any other materials. Nothing contained in this publication is intended to, nor shall have the effect of, creating any warranties or representations from IBM or its suppliers or licensors, or altering the terms and conditions of the applicable license agreement governing the use of IBM software. References in this presentation to IBM products, programs, or services do not imply that they will be available in all countries in which IBM operates. Product release dates and/or capabilities referenced in this presentation may change at any time at IBM’s sole discretion based on market opportunities or other factors, and are not intended to be a commitment to future product or feature availability in any way. Nothing contained in these materials is intended to, nor shall have the effect of, stating or implying that any activities undertaken by you will result in any specific sales, revenue growth or other results. IBM, the IBM logo, Lotus, WebSphere, Rational, Rational Jazz and Lotusphere are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Java and all Java-based trademarks are trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product, or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. All references to Renovations refer to a fictitious company and are used for illustration purposes only.

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