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Portal Server and Application Server

 
Chris Jr
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1. What is a portal anyways. I know everyone saying yahoo is a portal application but I am having hard time understanding what is the difference between Portal application and other web applications. To me yahoo seems more like any other websites. Please help.

2. I need help in understanding the difference between Portal Server and Application server. What does Application server offer that Portal Server does'nt.

I was'nt sure where to post this question so i am posting it here.

Thanks.
 
Scott Dunbar
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A portal traditionally gathers information from multiple sources and presents it in one or more "portlets" - sections of the screen that contain, for example, news from Reuters in a porlet. Other things that portals traditionally support are personalization so that a particular user can choose how they want the portlets displayed (i.e. colors, positions, etc.)

An application server is, at least in this context, a J2EE server capable of hosting J2EE applications such as enterprise applications.

In some cases portal servers are built on top of application servers. For example, the BEA WebLogic Portal Server (or whatever it's name is this week) is built on top of WebLogic Server, a J2EE server.
 
Chris Jr
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Scott,

You said "A portal traditionally gathers information from multiple sources and presents it in one or more "portlets" "

Does that mean the portals just present the url to those multiple sources or it locally duplicates that information in the server. For example for news from Reuters .. will i be directed to Reuters site.

Appreciate your help and time.
 
Chris Jr
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Although i don't see yahoo redirecting for the news flashes.
 
Scott Dunbar
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Not traditionally. A site like Yahoo gets feeds from various sources to present. This could be anything from a local flat file to a database to a web service based feed.

Part of what a portal does it aggregate the different sources into a single "view" on the data, regardless of the source.
 
Chris Jr
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Thanks Scott. Looks like I am starting to understand now.

Could you also clarify what is the need of having a separate portal server. Can't we use the existing application server to meet the portal needs. Thanks again.
 
Chris Jr
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Still waiting for some insight on this. Please help.
 
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