I’m working with a new client who is asking “Why Portal?” I checked our archives and my colleague Mike Porter posted a blog entry a couple of years ago on the many features common in portals (See Why a Portal). But Mike’s post did not answer this particular client’s question. What I needed was a simple list that would convey the main reasons for implementing a Portal over other technologies.
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So I came up with the following table to provide a brief set of reasons for Why Portal. My list is mostly vendor agnostic, however a few capabilities listed are more inline with IBM’s WebSphere Portal.
|Impact due to Portal
|Each application is developed as a separate portlet. Portlets can be deployed independently of each other, which allows changes to be delivered to customers more quickly.
|High Scalability, 24/7 Operations
|Portal is proven scalable to large number of users. Portal can be configured to support clustering, which provides failover between servers without loss of data. This means a server can be taken down for maintenance without affecting the users.
|First class security
|Each app server implements and integrates with a variety of security systems and protocols. Portal provides role-based access to resources above basic WebSphere security.
|More configuration and less development
|Portal allows creation of pages, placement of portlets, and security set up via configuration settings instead of development.
|Integration with other systems
|Unique to Portal, it can act as a web service producer for integration with external partners. Portal can consume web services through a variety of protocols.
|Provide marketing, cross-sell, and other informational content
|Portal can pull content from a variety of sources and display it concurrently with applications. Content can be updated in real-time without affecting the other portlets on a page.
|Personalized delivery of content and applications.
|Portal includes a powerful personalization engine which allows business users to write rules than can be used to target content and portlets to specific customers.
|Portal includes high level portlet development tools to allow non-java developers to quickly develop applications. Portal can still take advantage of Java for portal development. These skills are widely available.
|Themes (portions of the UI) can be customized through minor configuration changes. Many aspects of the user interface including navigation and layout are controlled by the portal rather than the developer.
|Portal provides the ability to create virtual portals that can be managed by separate administrators and can provide an independent look and feel from the main portal. Virtual portals, however, run on the same server as the main platform.
Did I convince you?