Web portal is a specially designed website that brings information
from diverse sources, like emails, online forums and search engines,
together in a uniform way. Usually, each information source gets its
dedicated area on the page for displaying information (a portlet);
often, the user can configure which ones to display. Variants of
portals include mashups and intranet "dashboards" for executives and
managers. The extent to which content is displayed in a "uniform way"
may depend on the intended user and the intended purpose, as well as
the diversity of the content. Very often design emphasis is on a
certain "metaphor" for configuring and customizing the presentation of
the content (e.g., a dashboard or map) and the chosen implementation
framework or code libraries. In addition, the role of the user in an
organization may determine which content can be added to the portal or
deleted from the portal configuration.
A portal may use a search engine's application programming interface
(API) to permit users to search intranet content as opposed to
extranet content by restricting which domains may be searched. Apart
from this common search engines feature, web portals may offer other
services such as e-mail, news, stock quotes, information from
databases and even entertainment content. Portals provide a way for
enterprises and organizations to provide a consistent "look and feel"
with access control and procedures for multiple applications and
databases, which otherwise would have been different web entities at
various URLs. The features available may be restricted by whether
access is by an authorized and authenticated user (employee, member)
or an anonymous website visitor.
Examples of early public web portals were AOL, Excite, Netvibes,
iGoogle, MSN, Naver, Lycos, Prodigy, Indiatimes, Rediff, and Yahoo!.
See for example, the "My Yahoo!" feature of
Yahoo! that may have
inspired such features as the later Google "iGoogle" (discontinued as
of November 1, 2013.) The configurable side-panels of, for example,
the modern Opera browser and the option of "speed dial" pages by most
browsers continue to reflect the earlier "portal" metaphor.
3.6.1 Property search
4 Engineering aspects
5 See also
7 Further reading
In the late 1990s the
Web portal was a Web IT buzzword. After the
proliferation of Web browsers in the late-1990s many companies tried
to build or acquire a portal to attempt to obtain a share of an
Internet market. The
Web portal gained special attention because it
was, for many users, the starting point of their Web browsing if it
was set as their home page. The content and branding of a portal could
change as Internet companies merged or were acquired.
a part of America Online, the
Walt Disney Company
Walt Disney Company launched Go.com, IBM
and others launched Prodigy (-only users.)
Portal metaphors are widely
used by public library sites for borrowers using a login as users and
by university intranets for students and for faculty. Vertical markets
remain for ISV's (Independent Software Vendors) offering management
and executive intranet "dashboards" for corporations and government
agencies in areas such as GRC and risk management.
Web portals are sometimes classified as horizontal or vertical. A
horizontal portal is used as a platform to several companies in the
same economic sector or to the same type of manufacturers or
distributors. A vertical portal (also known as a "vortal") is a
specialized entry point to a specific market or industry niche,
subject area, or interest. Some vertical portals are known as
"vertical information portals" (VIPs). VIPs provide news, editorial
content, digital publications, and e-commerce capabilities. In
contrast to traditional vertical portals, VIPs also provide dynamic
multimedia applications including social networking, video posting,
A personal portal is a Web page at a Web site on the
World Wide Web
World Wide Web or
modified Web browser. A personal portal typically provides
personalized capabilities to its visitors or its local user, providing
a pathway to other content. It may be designed to use distributed
applications, different numbers and types of middleware and hardware
to provide services from a number of different sources and may run on
a non-standard local Web server. In addition, business portals can be
designed for sharing and collaboration in workplaces. A further
business-driven requirement of portals is that the content be
presented on multiple platforms such as personal computers, laptops,
tablet computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), cell phones and
Information, news, and updates are examples of content that could be
delivered through such a portal. Personal portals can be related to
any specific topic such as providing friends information on a social
network or providing links to outside content that may help others
beyond your reach of services. Portals are not limited to simply
providing links. Outside of business intranet user, very often simpler
portals become replaced with richer mashup designs. Within
enterprises, early portals were often replaced by much more powerful
"dashboard" designs. Some also have relied on newer protocols such as
some version of RSS aggregation and may or may not involve some degree
of Web harvesting. Facebook can be considered as a modern personal web
At the end of the dot-com boom in the 1990s, many governments had
already committed to creating government web portal sites for their
citizens. These included primary portals to the governments as well as
portals developed for specific branches (e.g., a particular government
ministry, department or agency), or for specific sub-audiences (e.g.,
senior citizens, parents, post-secondary students, etc.). Examples of
government Web portals include:
australia.gov.au for Australia.
USA.gov for the United States (in English) & Gobierno
www.gov.lk for Sri Lanka.
Disability.gov for citizens with disabilities in the United States.
Europa (Web portal)
Europa (Web portal) links to all EU agencies and institutions in
addition to press releases and audiovisual content from press
gov.uk for citizens & businesslink.gov.uk for businesses in the
Health-EU portal gathers all relevant health topics from across
india.gov.in for India.
National Resource Directory
National Resource Directory links to resources for United States
Service Members, Veterans and their families.
govt.nz for New Zealand.
Saudi.gov.sa for Saudi Arabia.
https://online.belastingdienst.cw for the Tax Authority of Curaçao
(part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Cultural portals aggregate digitised cultural collections of
galleries, libraries (see: library portal), archives and museums. This
type of portal provides a point of access to invisible Web cultural
content that may not be indexed by standard search engines. Digitised
collections can include scans or digital photos of books, artworks,
photography, journals, newspapers, maps, diaries and letters and
digital files of music, sound recordings, films, and archived websites
as well as the descriptive metadata associated with each type of
cultural work (e.g., metadata provides information about the author,
publisher, etc.). These portals are often based around a specific
national or regional groupings of institutions. Examples of cultural
DigitalNZ – A cultural portal led by the National Library of New
Zealand focused on
New Zealand digital content.
Europeana – A cultural portal for the European Union based in the
National Library of the Netherlands and overseen by the Europeana
Trove – A cultural portal led by the National Library of Australia
focused on Australian content.
In development - Digital Public Library of America
TUT.by - A commercial cultural portal focused on Belarusian digital
Corporate intranets became common during the 1990s. As intranets grew
in size and complexity, organization webmasters were faced with
increasing content and user management challenges. A consolidated view
of company information was judged insufficient; users wanted
personalization and customization. Webmasters, if skilled enough, were
able to offer some capabilities, but for the most part ended up
driving users away from using the intranet. Many companies began to
offer tools to help webmasters manage their data, applications and
information more easily, and by providing different users with
Portal solutions can also include workflow
management, collaboration between work groups or branches, and
policy-managed content publication. Most can allow internal and
external access to specific corporate information using secure
authentication or single sign-on.
JSR168 Standards emerged around 2001. Java Specification Request (JSR)
168 standards allow the interoperability of portlets across different
portal platforms. These standards allow portal developers,
administrators and consumers to integrate standards-based portals and
portlets across a variety of vendor solutions. The concept of content
aggregation seems to still gain momentum and portal solution will
likely continue to evolve significantly over the next few years. The
Gartner Group predicts generation 8 portals to expand on the Business
Mashups concept of delivering a variety of information, tools,
applications and access points through a single mechanism.[citation
With the increase in user-generated content (blog posts, comments,
photos), disparate data silos, and file formats, information
architects and taxonomists will be required to allow users the ability
to tag (classify) the data or content. For example, if a
vice-president makes a blog post, this post could be tagged with
her/his name, title, and the subject of the post. Tagging makes it
easier for users of the intranet to find the content they are
interested in. This will ultimately cause a ripple effect where users
will also be generating ad hoc navigation and information flows.
Corporate portals also offer customers and employees self-service
Also known as stock-share portals, stock market portals or stock
exchange portals are Web-based applications that facilitates the
process of informing the share-holders with substantial online data
such as the latest price, ask/bids, the latest News, reports and
announcements. Some stock portals use online gateways through a
central depository system (CDS) for the visitors (ram) to buy or sell
their shares or manage their portfolio.
Search portals aggregate results from several search engines into one
page. You can find search portals specialized in a product, for
example property search portals. Library search portals are also known
as discovery interfaces.
Property search portals aggregate data about properties for sale by
real estate agents. Examples in the UK include Zoopla, Rightmove,
Nestoria and Nuroa. Examples in the US include Propertini.
A tender portal is a gateway for government suppliers to bid on
providing goods and services. Tender portals allow users to search,
modify, submit, review and archive data in order to provide a complete
online tendering process.
Using online tendering, bidders can do any of the following:
Receive notification of the tenders.
Receive tender documents online.
Fill out the forms online.
Submit proposals and documents.
Submit bids online.
Hosted Web portals gained popularity and a number of companies began
offering them as a hosted service. The hosted portal market
fundamentally changed the composition of portals. In many ways they
served simply as a tool for publishing information instead of the
loftier goals of integrating legacy applications or presenting
correlated data from distributed databases. The early hosted portal
companies such as Hyperoffice.com or the now defunct
InternetPortal.com focused on collaboration and scheduling in addition
to the distribution of corporate data. As hosted Web portals have
risen in popularity their feature set has grown to include hosted
databases, document management, email, discussion forums and more.
Hosted portals automatically personalize the content generated from
their modules to provide a personalized experience to their users. In
this regard they have remained true to the original goals of the
earlier corporate Web portals.
Emerging new classes of Internet portals called Cloud Portals are
showcasing the power of API (Application Programming Interface) rich
software systems leveraging SOA (service-oriented architecture, Web
services, and custom data exchange) to accommodate machine to machine
interaction creating a more fluid user experience for connecting users
spanning multiple domains during a given "session". Cloud portals like
Portal show what is possible using Enterprise Mashup and
Web Service integration approaches to building cloud portals.
A number of portals have come about which are specific to a particular
domain, offering access to related companies and services; a prime
example of this trend would be the growth in property portals that
give access to services such as estate agents, removal firm, and
solicitors that offer conveyancing. Along the same lines,
industry-specific news and information portals have appeared, such as
the clinical trials-specific portal.
The main concept is to present the user with a single Web page that
brings together or aggregates content from a number of other systems
or servers. The application server or architecture performs most of
the crucial functions of the application. This application server is
in turn connected to database servers, and may be part of a clustered
server environment. High-capacity portal configurations may include
load balancing strategies. For portals that present application
functionality to the user, the portal server is in reality the front
piece of a server configuration that includes some connectivity to the
application server. For early Web browsers permitting HTML frameset
and iframe elements, diverse information could be presented without
violating the browser same-source security policy (relied upon to
prevent a variety of cross-site security breaches). More recent
that rely on more recent Web functionality such as WebSockets and
asynchronous callbacks using XMLHttpRequests.
The server hosting the portal may only be a "pass through" for the
user. By use of portlets, application functionality can be presented
in any number of portal pages. For the most part, this architecture is
transparent to the user. In such a design, security and concurrent
user capacity can be important issues, and security designers need to
ensure that only authenticated and authorized users can generate
requests to the application server. If the security design and
administration does not ensure adequate authentication and
authorization, then the portal may inadvertently present
vulnerabilities to various types of attacks.
Web Services for Remote
JSR 168 (Java)
JSR 286 (Java
Portlet v2.0 Definition Standard)
Content management system (CMS)
Framing (World Wide Web)
Rich Internet Application
^ "What is horizontal portal? definition and meaning".
BusinessDictionary.com. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
^ "What is vertical portal? definition and meaning".
BusinessDictionary.com. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
^ "Home". Saudi.gov.sa. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
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