Our discussion of the e-business architectural blueprint has arrived at a point where it is no longer possible to continue without touching on the
main subject of the course which is the portal. Although the term portal has appeared already multiple times in the course,
it has so far been treated casually, in broad strokes, without explanation or definition.
Since the early days of the Internet, there has been a common attitude that a Web browser is the most important technical component of the digital
world. Because the whole concept of the Internet is based around the notion of exploiting common Web protocols, such as
HTTP, to access information and information dissemination services with ease, the concept of a
common Web browser is fairly important.
Web Browser Role
The current importance of the Web browser is analogous to the early days of space exploration, when access devices such as rockets and all-purpose
space vehicles (for example, space shuttles) occupied our imagination.
We are now into space stations and the possibilities that they can offer. This is similar to what is happening with the evolution of our
thinking about Internet technology.
The widespread diffusion of the Internet and all kinds of related internet-technologies and information facilities has given rise to the concept of
the porta. Initially, this concept was structured around the information searching and dissemination
possibilities presented by the World Wide Web. Hence, the term portal meant an entry point or originating Web site for combining a fusion of
content and information dissemination services, and attempting to provide a personalized home base for its users, from which they will be able to launch broad-based exploration expeditions into cyberspace.
Features such as
customizable start pages to guide users easily through the Web,
a wide variety of chat rooms and message boards,
personalized news and sports headlines options,
advanced search engines and
personal home page constructionkits, and
many others have become common characteristics of portals.
General Information Searching
More recently, the convergence of general information searching and information dissemination technologies with a wide array of business-oriented
features, such as business intelligence tools, data warehousing, collaborative and workflow systems, EAI tools, Web publishing and personalization tools, has opened an entirely new set of possibilities.
The convergence of these functionally related technologies offers a substantiality and massiveness of information exchange on the Internet at such high levels that it has given rise to a new conceptual theme of ebusiness docking stations, referred to variously as
enterprise information portals,
B2B portals, and
This has generated momentous changes in the nature and operation of information technologies and business processes both in virtuality (cyberspace) and in reality (traditional business).