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A web portal is a specially designed
website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web page A web page (or webpage) is a hypertext File:Douglas Engelbart in 2008.jpg, Douglas Engelbart in 2009, at the 40th anniversary celebrations of "The Mother of All Demos" i ...

website
that brings information from diverse sources, like
email File:(at).svg, upThe at sign, a part of every SMTP email address Electronic mail (email or e-mail) is a method of exchanging messages ("mail") between people using electronic devices. Email was thus conceived as the electronics, electronic ...

email
s, online forums and
search engines A search engine is a software system that is designed to carry out web searches (Internet searches), which means to search the World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World Wide Web (WWW), ...
, together in a uniform way. Usually, each information source gets its dedicated area on the page for displaying information (a
portlet The Java Portlet Specification defines a design by contract, contract between the portlet container and portlets and provides a convenient programming model for Java portlet developers. Portlets are Pluggable look and feel, pluggable user interface ...
); often, the user can configure which ones to display. Variants of portals include mashups and
intranet An intranet is a computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital signal, digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the No ...

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 In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithm of an algorithm (Euclid's algorithm) for calculating the greatest com ...
(API) to permit users to search
intranet An intranet is a computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital signal, digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the No ...

intranet
content as opposed to
extranet An extranet is a controlled private network that allows access to partners, vendors and suppliers or an authorized set of customers – normally to a subset of the information accessible from an organization's intranet. An extranet is similar to a ...

extranet
content by restricting which domains may be searched. Apart from this common
search engines A search engine is a software system that is designed to carry out web searches (Internet searches), which means to search the World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World Wide Web (WWW), ...
feature, web portals may offer other services such as
e-mail upThe email_address.html"_;"title="at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address">at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address Electronic_mail_(email_or_e-mail)_is_a_method_of_exchanging_messages_("mail")_between_people_using_electronic_dev ...

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 In software design, the look and feel of a graphical user interface comprises aspects of its design, including elements such as colors, shapes, layout, and typefaces (the "look"), as well as the behavior of dynamic elements such as buttons, boxes, ...

look and feel
" with access control and procedures for multiple applications and databases, which otherwise would have been different web entities at various
URL A Uniform Resource Locator (URL), colloquially termed a web address, is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication prot ...

URL
s. The features available may be restricted by whether access is by an authorized and authenticated user (employee, member) or an anonymous website visitor.


History

In the late 1990s, the Web portal was a Web IT buzzword. After the proliferation of
Web browser A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is application software Application software (app for short) is computing software designed to carry out a specific task other than one relating to the operation of the computer itself, typical ...

Web browser
s 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.
Netscape Netscape Communications Corporation (originally Mosaic Communications Corporation) was an American independent computer services company with headquarters in Mountain View, California Mountain View is a city in Santa Clara County, California ...

Netscape
became a part of
America Online AOL (stylized as Aol., formerly a company known as AOL Inc. and originally known as America Online) is an American web portal and online service provider based in New York City. It is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or a ...
, the
Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California California is a U.S. st ...
launched Go.com, IBM and others launched Prodigy. 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
governance, risk management, and compliance Governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) is the term covering an organization's approach across these three practices: governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system A system ...


Classification

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, and blogging.


Types


Web portal

A web portal is a website that provides a broad array of services, such as
search engines A search engine is a software system that is designed to carry out web searches (Internet searches), which means to search the World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World Wide Web (WWW), ...
,
e-mail upThe email_address.html"_;"title="at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address">at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address Electronic_mail_(email_or_e-mail)_is_a_method_of_exchanging_messages_("mail")_between_people_using_electronic_dev ...

e-mail
,
online shopping Online shopping is a form of electronic commerce E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the activity of electronically buying or selling of Product (business), products on online services or over the Internet. E-commerce draws on technologies su ...
, and forums.
America Online AOL (stylized as Aol., formerly a company known as AOL Inc. and originally known as America Online) is an American web portal and online service provider based in New York City. It is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or a ...

America Online
was the first web portal. Some other American web portals include
Netscape Netscape Communications Corporation (originally Mosaic Communications Corporation) was an American independent computer services company with headquarters in Mountain View, California Mountain View is a city in Santa Clara County, California ...

Netscape
, Go,
MSN MSN (meaning Microsoft Network) is a web portal A web portal is a specially designed website that brings information from diverse sources, like emails, Internet forum, online forums and Web search engine, search engines, together in a uniform wa ...

MSN
,
Lycos Lycos, Inc., is a and established in 1994, spun out of . Lycos also encompasses a network of email, web hosting, social networking, and entertainment websites. The company is based in , and is a subsidiary of . Etymology The word "Lycos" is ...

Lycos
, Voila,
Yahoo! Yahoo (, styled as yahoo''!'') is an American web services The term Web service (WS) is either: * a service offered by an electronic device to another electronic device, communicating with each other via the World Wide Web upright=1.35, ...
, and
Google Search Google Search (also known simply as Google), is a search engine provided by Google. Handling over 3.5 billion searches per day, it has a 92% share of the global search engine market. It is also the most-visited website in the world. The order ...
.


Personal portal

A personal portal is a Web Page at a Web site on the
World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational w ...
or a local HTML home page including JavaScript and perhaps running in a 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 application Distributed computing is a field of computer science that studies distributed systems. A ''distributed system'' is a system whose components are located on different computer network, networked computers, which communicate and coordinate their ac ...
s, different numbers and types of
middleware Middleware is a type of computer software Software is a collection of instructions that tell a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern comp ...
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 computer A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known a ...
s, laptops, tablet computers,
personal digital assistant#REDIRECT Personal digital assistant The Palm TX A personal digital assistant (PDA), also known as a handheld PC, is a variety mobile device which functions as a personal information manager. PDAs have been mostly displaced by the widesprea ...
s (PDAs),
cell phone A mobile phone, cellular phone, cell phone, cellphone, handphone, or hand phone, sometimes shortened to simply mobile, cell or just phone, is a portable telephone A telephone is a telecommunications device that permits two or more use ...

cell phone
s and
smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perf ...

smartphone
s. 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.


Government

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.). Notable government web portals include: * for
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
. * Disability.gov for citizens with disabilities in the United States. *
Europa (web portal) Europa is the official web portal A web portal is a specially designed website that brings information from diverse sources, like emails, Internet forum, online forums and Web search engine, search engines, together in a uniform way. Usually, ea ...
links to all EU agencies and institutions in addition to press releases and audiovisual content from press conferences. * GobiernoUSA.gov for the United States (in Spanish). *
gov.uk gov.uk (styled on the site as GOV.UK) is a United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym fo ...
for citizens & businesslink.gov.uk for businesses in the United Kingdom. *
Health-EU portal Health-EU portal is an official web portal of the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (European Commission), Health and Consumers Directorate-General that facilities the access of public-related health information to European Union citize ...
gathers all relevant health topics from across Europe. * india.gov.in for
India India, officially the Republic of India (: ), is a country in . It is the by area, the country, and the most populous in the world. Bounded by the on the south, the on the southwest, and the on the southeast, it shares land borders wit ...

India
. * National Resource Directory links to resources for United States Service Members, Veterans and their families. *
USA.gov USA.gov is the official of the . It is designed to improve the public's interaction with the US government by quickly directing website visitors to the services or information they are seeking, and by inviting the public to share ideas to impr ...
for the United States (in English).


Cultural

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 The deep web, invisible web, or hidden web are parts of the World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system where documents ...
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 Metadata is " that provides information about other data", but not the content of the data, such as the text of a message or the image itself. There are many distinct types of metadata, including: * Descriptive metadata — the descriptive info ...

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. Notable cultural portals include: *
Digital Public Library of America The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a US project aimed at providing public access to digital holdings in order to create a large-scale public digital library. It officially launched on April 18, 2013, after 2.5 years of development. O ...
(in development) *
DigitalNZ DigitalNZ is a service run by the National Library of New Zealand and funded by the New Zealand Government hosting New Zealand-related digital media. The service is searchable and shareable, and reuse is allowed where possible. there were more tha ...
– 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 Foundation. *TUT.by - A commercial cultural portal focused on Belarusian digital content.


Corporate

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 personalized views. 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. 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 opportunities.


Search

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

Property search portals aggregate data about properties for sale or rent by real estate agents or vendors. Notable agent search portals in the UK include Nestoria, Nuroa, OnTheMarket, Rightmove and Zoopla. Notable vendor (seller or landlord) portals in the UK include OpenRent and Gumtree.


Tender

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

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, 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 Nubifer Cloud Portal show what is possible using Enterprise Mashup and Web Service integration approaches to building cloud portals.


Domain-specific

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, moving company, removal firm, and solicitors that offer Licensed Conveyancer, conveyancing. Along the same lines, industry-specific news and information portals have appeared, such as the Clinical Trial Portal, clinical trials-specific portal.


Engineering aspects


Overview

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 client-side technologies rely on JavaScript frameworks and libraries 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
portlet The Java Portlet Specification defines a design by contract, contract between the portlet container and portlets and provides a convenient programming model for Java portlet developers. Portlets are Pluggable look and feel, pluggable user interface ...
s, 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.


Standards

*Web Services for Remote Portlets, Web Services for Remote Portlets v1 *JSR 286 (Java Portlet v2.0 Definition Standard)


See also

* Applet * Client portal * Content management system (CMS) * Enterprise portal * Extranet * Framing (World Wide Web) * Intranet portal * Rich Internet Application * Web scraping


References


Further reading

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Web Portal Web portals,