Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Weblogic

Weblogic: Article

Portal to the World

Portal to the World

One of the more interesting conversations I have with IT organizations is over what constitutes a portal. While issues vary, it is clear that there is a business definition of a portal that is distinctly different from the technology definition of a portal. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as you can separate the two and clearly make the transition between one definition and the other. When that doesn't happen, a bit of chaos can result.

Most businesses see a portal as a means of consolidating the way the Internet "views" their company. As such, it's used to standardize a look and feel, promote branding, and in many cases provide a personalized user experience that in theory increases the stickiness and friendliness of the site.

What sometimes gets in the way for the IT organization is its translation into applications. I've spent a great deal of time helping groups define the distinction between "content" and "application" because that's where the problems with portals really tend to crop up.

Portal technology is pretty good at the personalization of content, but mostly useless at the personalization of applications. There's always some overlap in this area that makes it difficult to discern, but in general portals are good at a couple of things. One is mixing and matching (personalizing) content (HTML for the most part) based on user profiles. Another is profiling itself - tracking the user implicitly via links that are clicked, or explicitly via user-supplied information or company-defined groupings. Finally, portals are good at defining and providing screen navigation.

Surprised that things like providing a 10% discount to frequent customers aren't part of that group? Well, they can be, but in most cases it's really additional vertical functionality such as an e-commerce package that is providing the ability, rather than the portal itself.

With this definition it's somewhat easier to understand how the business definition and expectations can get out of line with the technical definition. The business users in most cases want to unite their applications, and want to have a single interface to do so. They want to define business rules and have them carried out effectively through the delivery mechanism, which, of course, is a portal. Sometimes where the functionality actually resides gets lost in the shuffle, as the important thing is that the functionality exists, not which package implements it. As long as you're a business user, that is.

For the technical user, where the functionality is definitely has an impact. It determines whether you need someone who understands stored procedures, or who can write Java code, for example.

The problem with portals is that they are short on application functionality and long on content functionality, a result of their origin in the Internet world. Sometimes even if the portal provides functionality, the corporate architecture dictates a different approach. A clear example of this is that most portals provide a mechanism for direct database access, but most IT organizations prefer to restrict this and have the access go through a middle tier (for reasons such as caching and consolidation of business logic). This makes sense to the IT staff, but may be lost on the business side of the house. You end up with the classic argument: "We need a portal. No, what we really need is an application server."

Fortunately for BEA customers, it's not an either/or proposition. BEA WebLogic Portal sits on top of BEA WebLogic Server and integrates tightly into the J2EE container, making most of these architecture discussions an exercise in semantics. With the release of the revised BEA WebLogic Workshop, it will become even easier to create portal applications alongside standard J2EE components like EJBs.

As you might have guessed, the focus of this issue is portals.

Also, on a housekeeping note, Jason Westra has stepped down as editor-in-chief of WLDJ after accepting a new position in the industry that requires a much greater time commitment from him. While our new appointment to the top spot, to be announced shortly, gets ready for the year ahead, I'll be serving as managing editor and keeping everything running smoothly. I've been on the Editorial Advisory Board since its inception, so I'll be able to provide all the continuity we need to continue this fine publication. Good luck Jason, and thanks from us all for your hard work.

More Stories By Sean Rhody

Sean Rhody is the founding-editor (1999) and editor-in-chief of SOA World Magazine. He is a respected industry expert on SOA and Web Services and a consultant with a leading consulting services company. Most recently, Sean served as the tech chair of SOA World Conference & Expo 2007 East.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...