Electronic Commerce Architecture Series
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|What Do You Mean by a Portal?||Author|
That word "portal" doesn't have a standard meaning. The word doesn't always refer to a technology, and even when it does, the word "portal" doesn't refer to any standard technology.
Back in 1995, folks called CNN, Yahoo and America Online "portals". That was long before IBM, BEA or any other company had a commercial "portal" product.
What I have seen of "portals" covers quite a bit of ground. Let's look at two extremely different examples.
When CNN, Yahoo and AOL say "portal", they mean a web page that serves as the start of a user's visit to the entire Internet. They want to sell advertising on that page just like newspapers and TV stations sell advertising.
When JSR168 says "portal", it wants to allow developers to emit HTML fragments that somebody will integrate into a web page.
When IBM says "portal", it means enterprise -- large, complex enterprise -- integration.
When BEA says "portal", it about yet another definition of "portal". One page on the BEA site focuses on using a portal to build communities.
Arthur Kevin McGrath
April 12, 2006
The author is an engineer with the consulting firm, Contract Engineers. He has consulted and lectured extensively since 1987 about the infrastructure that makes electronic commerce possible
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