IBM WebSphere Portal is a framework that includes a runtime server, services, tools, and many other features for integrating your enterprise into a single, customizable interface called a portal. A portal is a Web site that provides users with a single point of access to resources and services.
A portal built with IBM WebSphere Portal 6.0 offers a single point of personalized interaction to resources and services, including applications, content, people, and business processes. Figure 1 shows a high level view of the architecture.
Figure 1. IBM WebSphere Portal architecture
- To a user, a portlet is a window on a portal Web site that displays
information. To a developer, it is an application.
Rational Application Developer or Rational Software Architect can be used to develop, test, and debug portlets. There are many sample portlets available for download.
- Portlet API
- WebSphere Portal supports industry standard JSR 168 Portlet API. The IBM Portlet API is being deprecated for Version 6.
- Portlet application
- A collection of related portlets that share the same resources (for example, images, properties files, and classes).
- Portal page
- A portal page contains one or more portlets.
- Portal Web site
- A portal Web site is built with portal pages.
- Portal server runtime
- The execution environment for the portlets. Also called the portlet container, it is a J2EE application that runs on WebSphere Application Server.
- Portlet versus servlet
- Portlets can be administered while the Portal Server is running (for
example, Install/Remove portlet application, Create/Delete portlets, portlet
settings). This is more dynamic than servlets.
Portlets may not send errors directly to browsers, forward requests, or write arbitrary markup to the output stream.
In WebSphere Portal, go to Portlet Specification for JSR 168 > Relationship with the Servlet Specification for details.
- Portal page layout
- The page layout defines the number of content areas within the page and the portlets displayed within each content area.
- Themes represent the overall look and feel of the portal, including colors, images, and fonts.
- Skin refers to the visual appearance of the area surrounding an individual portlet. Each portlet can have its own skin.
See Resources for more information.
Customers can choose one of the three WebSphere Portal Multi-platform offerings: WebSphere Portal Server, WebSphere Portal Enable, and WebSphere Portal Extend.
WebSphere Portal Server is the foundation offering that provides:
- The Portal framework
- Core portal functions
WebSphere Portal Enable adds:
- Web content management
- Document management
WebSphere Portal Extend adds:
- Workplace forms
- Collaborative services
IBM WebSphere Portal is well recognized, and continues to be in the leaders quadrant according to Gartner, as shown in Figure 2. The rating focuses on vision and ability to execute that vision. It also takes product features and track records into consideration.
Figure 2. Gartner: Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portal Products, 2006