Web portal

A 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.

History

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. Netscape became a part of America Online, the 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.

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.[1] A vertical portal (also known as a "vortal") is a specialized entry point to a specific market or industry niche, subject area, or interest.[2] 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

Personal

A personal portal is a Web Page at a Web site on the World Wide Web 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 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 smartphones.

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 portal.

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.). Examples of government Web portals include:

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 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 portals include:

  • 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 Foundation.
  • Trove – A cultural portal led by the National Library of Australia focused on Australian content.
  • TUT.by - A commercial cultural portal focused on Belarusian digital content.
  • Digital Public Library of America (in development)

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.

Stock

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

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 by real estate agents. Examples in the UK include Zoopla, Rightmove, Nestoria and Nuroa. Examples in the US include Propertini.

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.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, 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.

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 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.

Standards

See also

References

  1. ^ "What is horizontal portal? definition and meaning". BusinessDictionary.com. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
  2. ^ "What is vertical portal? definition and meaning". BusinessDictionary.com. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Home". Saudi.gov.sa. Retrieved 1 January 2014.

Further reading

  • "Untangle the Web". Communication News: 82–83. September 2001. ISSN 0010-3632.
AOL

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 marketed by Verizon Media.

The service traces its history to an online service known as PlayNET, which hosted multi-player games for the Commodore 64. PlayNET licensed their software to a new service, Quantum Link (Q-Link), who went online in November 1985. PlayNET shut down shortly thereafter. The initial Q-Link service was similar to the original PlayNET, but over time Q-Link added many new services. When a new IBM PC client was released, the company focussed on the non-gaming services and launched it under the name America Online. The original Q-Link was shut down on November 1, 1995, while AOL grew to become the largest online service, displacing established players like CompuServe and The Source. By 1995, AOL had about 20 million active users.AOL was one of the early pioneers of the Internet in the mid-1990s, and the most recognized brand on the web in the United States. It originally provided a dial-up service to millions of Americans, as well as providing a web portal, e-mail, instant messaging and later a web browser following its purchase of Netscape. In 2001, at the height of its popularity, it purchased the media conglomerate Time Warner in the largest merger in U.S. history. AOL rapidly declined thereafter, partly due to the decline of dial-up and rise of broadband. AOL was eventually spun off from Time Warner in 2009, with Tim Armstrong appointed the new CEO. Under his leadership, the company invested in media brands and advertising technologies.

On June 23, 2015, AOL was acquired by Verizon Communications for $4.4 billion. In the following months, AOL also made a deal with Microsoft.

Bodies of the European Union

The main bodies of the European Union are:

the seven institutions of the European Union

the agencies of the European UnionApart from them there exist several other bodies.

Cinenacional.com

Cinenacional.com is a web portal and web-based database about Argentine cinema.

The site provides a vast array of information, including films, television programs, directors, actors, cinematographers, film editors, production designers, and other production professions in Argentina. It is the most comprehensive site for information about the film industry in the country, and has over 30.000 IMDb-type articles on films alone in its database, from the silent film era onwards.

Daum (web portal)

Daum (Korean: 다음) is a South Korean web portal in South Korea, the top second along with Naver. Daum offers many Internet services to web users, including a popular free web-based e-mail, messaging service, forums, shopping, news and webtoon service. The word "daum" means "next", but it can also be interpreted as Hanja "多音", meaning "many sounds".

Delfi (web portal)

Delfi (occasionally capitalized as DELFI) is a major internet portal in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania providing daily news, ranging from gardening to politics. It ranks as one of the most popular websites among Baltic users.

Delfi operates in the respective Baltic countries under the domain names delfi.ee, delfi.lv, and delfi.lt. Aside from versions in the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian languages, the company offers Russian language versions of its portal in all three countries. On 12 March 2012, Delfi started a Polish version under pl.delfi.lt. A year later an English version was added under en.delfi.lt.

In March 2014 delfi.ua version was closed.In February 2016, most of the English language version's contents were placed under a paywall to restrict access to most articles without a paid subscription, as the articles in this version of Delfi are supported by the Lithuania Tribune, which raised questions on implementing the paywall there. It is unknown if other language editions will be implementing the paywall.

Empas

Empas (hangul: 엠파스) was one of the popular total internet search tools and web portal sites in South Korea. The service was launched in 1998 by Knowledge Plant Corporation (지식발전소), which changed its name to Empas Corporation in 2004. The name Empas is a combination of e-media and compass.

Before its merger with Nate in 2009, Empas was one of South Korea's most popular web search engines, and competed with Yahoo! Korea, Daum, Nate, and Naver. Empas was the second most popular web portal in the country from 2000 to 2001, by unique page view, behind Yahoo! Korea. Since the dominance of Naver started in 2003, however, the market share of Empas declined, and by late 2005, it had fallen into the fifth place amongst the South Korean web portals. In 2006, aiming to check its main competition Naver's rapid expansion, SK Communications (which owns South Korea's popular social networking website Cyworld) acquired Empas on 19 October 2006.

With the reorganisation of SK Communications's business fields, Empas was merged with Nate.com, which was the original web portal of SK Communications, and became Nate on 1 March 2009.

Entrez

The Entrez (pronounced ɒnˈtreɪ) Global Query Cross-Database Search System is a federated search engine, or web portal that allows users to search many discrete health sciences databases at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website. The NCBI is a part of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), which is itself a department of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which in turn is a part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The name "Entrez" (a greeting meaning "Come in!" in French) was chosen to reflect the spirit of welcoming the public to search the content available from the NLM.

Entrez Global Query is an integrated search and retrieval system that provides access to all databases simultaneously with a single query string and user interface. Entrez can efficiently retrieve related sequences, structures, and references. The Entrez system can provide views of gene and protein sequences and chromosome maps. Some textbooks are also available online through the Entrez system.

Europa (web portal)

Europa is the official web portal of the European Union (EU), providing information on how the EU works, related news, events, publications and links to websites of institutions, agencies and other bodies. .europa.eu is also used as a common second level domain for the websites of the EU's bodies, for instance is iss.europa.eu the address of the Institute for Security Studies.

Europa was first published in February 1995 at the G7 ministerial meeting on information society in Brussels. Originally designed for that specific event, the portal expanded rapidly and the European Commission decided to develop it into a general information resource, specialising in the work and domain of the EU's bodies.

Laws and documents of major public interest are published in all 24 official EU languages. Documents that are not legally binding are usually published in the EU's institutional working languages; English, French and German.

European Union

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.

The EU and European citizenship were established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. The EU traces its origins to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), established, respectively, by the 1951 Treaty of Paris and 1957 Treaty of Rome. The original members of what came to be known as the European Communities were the Inner Six: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. The Communities and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009. While no member state has left the EU or its antecedent organisations, the United Kingdom signified the intention to leave after a membership referendum in June 2016 and is negotiating its withdrawal.

Covering 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2017 generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of 19.670 trillion US dollars, constituting approximately 24.6% of global nominal GDP. Additionally, all 28 EU countries have a very high Human Development Index, according to the United Nations Development Programme. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence. The union maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7 and the G20. Because of its global influence, the European Union has been described as an emerging superpower.

ExPASy

ExPASy is a bioinformatics resource portal operated by the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and in particular the SIB Web Team. It is an extensible and integrative portal accessing many scientific resources, databases and software tools in different areas of life sciences. Scientists can access a wide range of resources in many different domains, such as proteomics, genomics, phylogenetics/evolution, systems biology, population genetics, and transcriptomics. The individual resources (databases, web-based and downloadable software tools) are hosted in a decentralised way by different groups of the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and partner institutions. Specifically, a single web portal provides a common entry point to a wide range of resources developed and operated by many different SIB groups and external institutions. The portal features a search function across selected resources. Internally, the availability and usage of resources are monitored. The portal is aimed for both expert users and for people who are not familiar with a specific domain in life sciences: in particular, the new web interface provides visual guidance for newcomers to ExPASy.

GENUKI

GENUKI is a genealogy web portal, run as a charitable trust. It "provides a virtual reference library of genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland". It gives access to a large collection of information, with the emphasis on primary sources, or means to access them, rather than on existing genealogical research.

MSN

MSN (stylized as msn) is a web portal and related collection of Internet services and apps for Windows and mobile devices, provided by Microsoft and launched on August 24, 1995, the same release date as Windows 95.The Microsoft Network was initially a subscription-based dial-up online service that later became an Internet service provider named MSN Dial-up. At the same time, the company launched a new web portal named Microsoft Internet Start and set it as the first default home page of Internet Explorer, its web browser. In 1998, Microsoft renamed and moved this web portal to the domain name www.msn.com, where it has remained.In addition to its original MSN Dial-up service, Microsoft has used the 'MSN' brand name for a wide variety of products and services over the years, notably Hotmail (later Outlook.com), Messenger (which was once synonymous with 'MSN' in Internet slang and has now been replaced by Skype), and its web search engine, which is now Bing, and several other rebranded and discontinued services.

The current website and suite of apps offered by MSN was first introduced by Microsoft in 2014 as part of a complete redesign and relaunch. MSN is based in the United States and offers international versions of its portal for dozens of countries around the world.

Nate (web portal)

Nate (Hangul: 네이트) is a South Korean web portal, developed by SK Communications. In 2003, Nate acquired social media site Cyworld, and in 2004, it achieved first place in local page views with a total of 3.8 million, surpassing rival Daum for the first time.

Naver

Naver (Hangul: 네이버)is a South Korean online platform operated by Naver Corporation. It debuted in 1999 as the first web portal in Korea to develop and use its own search engine. It was also the world's first operator to introduce the comprehensive search feature, which compiles search results from various categories and presents them in a single page. Naver has since added a multitude of new services ranging from basic features such as e-mail and news to the world's first online Q&A platform Knowledge iN.

As of September 2017, the search engine handled 74.7% of all web searches in South Korea and had 42 million enrolled users. More than 25 million Koreans have Naver as the start page on their default browser and the mobile application has 28 million daily visitors. Naver is also constantly referred to as 'the Google of South Korea'.

Rediff.com

Rediff.com is an Indian news, information, entertainment and shopping web portal, founded in 1996 as "Rediff On The NeT". It is headquartered in Mumbai, with offices in Bangalore, New Delhi and New York City.According to Alexa, Rediff.com is the No. 32 Indian web portal as of 2019 and has more than 300 employees. Most of the visitors to Rediff.com are from India, while the rest come primarily from the United States and China.

Stuff.co.nz

Stuff.co.nz is a New Zealand news website published by Stuff Limited, a subsidiary of Australian company Fairfax Media Ltd. Stuff hosts the websites for Fairfax's New Zealand newspapers, including the country's second- and third-highest circulation daily newspapers, The Dominion Post and The Press, and the highest circulation weekly, The Sunday Star-Times. It is also a web portal to other Fairfax websites. As of March 2019, the website had an Alexa rank in New Zealand of 7.

Terra (company)

Terra Networks, S.A. is a Spanish Internet multinational company with headquarters in Spain and offices in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, the United States and Peru. Part of Telefónica Group (the former Spanish public telephone monopoly), Terra operates as a web portal or Internet access provider in the U.S., Spain, and 16 Latin American countries. Terra was publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol TRLY and on the Spanish stock market under the symbol TRR.

Vjesnik

Vjesnik was a Croatian state-owned daily newspaper published in Zagreb which ceased publication in April 2012. Originally established in 1940 as a wartime illegal publication of the Communist Party of Croatia, it later built and maintained a reputation as Croatia's newspaper of record during most of its post-war history.

During World War II, the first time when Croatia was an independent Nazi state, the paper served as the primary media publication of the Yugoslav Partisans movement. The August 1941 edition of the paper featured the statement "Smrt fašizmu, sloboda narodu" (transl. "Death to fascism, freedom to the people") on the cover, which was afterwards accepted as the official slogan of the entire resistance movement and was often quoted in post-war Yugoslavia.

Its heyday was between 1952 and 1977 when its Wednesday edition (Vjesnik u srijedu or VUS) regularly achieved circulations of 100,000 and was widely read across Yugoslavia.Following Croatia's independence after its secession and the political turmoil in the early 1990s its once large circulation steadily began to dwindle. In 1990, after Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia, Vjesnik came under the control of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), at the time the ruling conservative party. Ever since the 1990s, Vjesnik was seen as always taking a pro-government editorial stance, and it even changed its name briefly in 1992 to Novi Vjesnik in an attempt to distance itself from its own communist history. The name, however, proved to be unpopular and was changed back that same year.

A sharp drop in average daily circulation occurred from 1997 (21,348) to 2005 (9,660) down from over 100,000 in 1960.In early 2012 the paper ran into serious financial difficulties, and in April it ceased printing. By May 2012 Vjesnik operated only as a web portal. By June 12, 2012, the web portal was still accessible, but it was no longer updated. By July 2012 the web portal stopped functioning.

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