5 Best Practices for Portal Apps

Learn some tips for building and deploying rich, flexible, and personalized applications quickly and efficiently through a portal.

If you want to build and deploy a volume and variety of rich, flexible, and personalized applications quickly and efficiently through a portal, keep these five points in mind:

1) Importing Users From Multiple Systems: Portals typically support multiple applications, reaching many different internal and external audiences. Not all of these users will be represented in the same identity management system. Ensure that your portal can be configured or customized to import users from multiple identity management systems—for example, employees from LDAP or Microsoft Active Directory, customers from CRM systems and vendors from ERP systems.

2) Creating Composite User Profiles: Personalizing the user experience might require diverse information about the user. Ensure your portal has the ability to create composite profiles by pulling user information from multiple systems of record, such as an HR system, CRM system, and LDAP directory.

3) Incorporating Existing Web Applications: Typically, enterprises have several existing custom and packaged Web applications, each of which has tens or hundreds of informative static and dynamic Web pages. Ensure that your portal has the ability to present an existing Web page as a portlet, without recoding. This can save application developers a lot of time.

4) Storing User Credentials Securely: Application users will not want to re-enter credentials when accessing key resources such as an ERP system, but user identities and credentials in these systems are often not synchronized to any other enterprise identity management system. Ensure that your portal can store user credentials for multiple systems in a secure, encrypted manner, so that the user has to provide login information only once.

5) Portlet Standards Compatibility: Many software vendors such as Documentum, Stellent, and Ariba already provide JSR-168 or WSRP-compatible portlets that expose "bite-sized" pieces of application functionality that can be included in larger composite applications delivered through a portal. Ensure that your choice of portal is able to consume portlets built to these standards.

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