268 WebSphere Portal Express and Express Plus V5 for the IBM Eserver iSeries Server
7.1 A portal and portlet overview
This section introduces a general overview of portal and portlets and defines brief concepts
and terminologies about portal.
7.1.1 Portal
A portal is generally synonymous with a gateway for a World Wide Web site. It is a major
converging point that offers a single point of personalized interaction with applications,
content, processes, and people to provide a unified user experience. Portals are divided into
two categories: general purpose portal and specialized portal. Some major general purpose
portals include IBM, Yahoo, Excite, and America Online’s AOL.com. Examples of specialized
portals include Garden.com, and Fool.com (for investors).
Many successful companies allow access to their company portal through the Web for their
own users, customers, and business partners. Typical services offered by a portal include:
򐂰 Integrated seamless access to disparate applications through the use of single signon
(SSO)
򐂰 Team collaboration
򐂰 Team e-meeting
򐂰 Support for pervasive devices
򐂰 Syndicated news
򐂰 Document Management and workflow
򐂰 Weather information
򐂰 Access to e-mail
򐂰 Stock quotes
򐂰 Employee phone directory
Some of these portal features, such as weather, news, stocks, and bookmarks, are shown in
the sample portal home page (Figure 7-1).
Chapter 7. iSeries portlets 269
Figure 7-1 Sample portal home page
7.1.2 Portlet
From a user’s perspective, a portal is like a television which broadcasts specialized programs
on specific television channels-portlets. From an application development perspective,
portlets are pluggable components that run inside a portlet container of a portal server
instance. Portlets are shared components that provide access to Web-based applications,
contents, and other portal resources.
A portlet container manages a runtime life cycle in which portlets are created, used, and then
destroyed. A portlet container is not a stand-alone container such as servlet container. It is
implemented as a thin layer on top of the servlet container. Its function is to reuse the services
provided by the servlet container. A portlet container relies on the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise
Edition (J2EE) architecture implemented by WebSphere Application Server.
Every portlet has to inherit from the abstract org.apache.jetspeed.portlet.Portlet class, either
by deriving directly from it or by using one of the abstract portlet implementations or
PortletAdapter. Unlike servlets, portlets cannot send redirect or error messages to browsers
directly, forward requests, or write arbitrary markup to the output stream. Portlets can be
administered dynamically using the portal administration interface provided by WebSphere
Portal.
Standard portlet
The portlets shown in Table 7-1, Table 7-2, and Table 7-3 are available with WebSphere
Portal. They are located in wp_root/InstallableApps directory, where wp_root is the root
directory for the WebSphere Portal server instance. For example, if your instance’s name is
myPortal, then the root directory is /QIBM/UserData/WebAS5/Base/myPortal/
PortalServer5/installableApps.

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