One of the things that you will need to do a lot is register a portlet producer. Portlets allow you to extend the portal. Each provider can have multiple portlets. WebCenter Spaces uses Web Service for Remote Portlets (WSRP) to register portlets. This allows you to deploy portlets on a different server than the portal itself. This is especially useful for scalability.
For this recipe, you need a working WebCenter domain with at least the AdminServer and WebCenter Spaces server.