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WebSphere Portal Server and Web Services

Introduction

Portals are focal points for users to access information and applications from many different sources. Typically, portals get information from local or remote data sources, e.g. from databases, transaction systems, syndicated content providers, or remote web sites. They render and aggregate this information into complex pages to provide information to users in a compact and easily consumable form. In addition to pure information, many portals also include applications like e-mail, calendar, organizers, banking, bill presentment, etc.

Different rendering and selection mechanisms are required for different kinds of information or applications, but all of them rely on the portal’s infrastructure and operate on data or resources owned by the portal, like user profile information, persistent storage or access to managed content. Consequently, most of today’s portal implementations provide a component model that allows plugging components referred to as Portlets into the portal infrastructure. Typically, portlets run on the portal server, processing input data and rendering output. Figure 1 shows a typical portal page with several portlets.

Figure 1: IBM WebSphere Portal Server

Often, the content for portlets displayed with a high frequency is cached locally to improve response times, performance and scalability of portal systems. Figure 2 shows an example where a weather portlet and a news portlet run on an Internet portal. The portal uses databases to cache weather info and news content locally so that the portlets can display them without delay.

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