When developing a portal application, there is lot of confusion wrt Customization vs Personalization. What the client might be calling Personalization might in fact be Customization or vice versa. So, it is very important to understand the difference between the two.
The term "customization" is used to mean the rendering of portlet content based on users preferences or manipulating the portal layout based on the users security attributes.
The term "personalization" is used to mean delivering portlet content based on a business rule or collaborative filtering.
Customization centers around what resources (portlets and pages) you show the users based on their role. This is a core capability of Portal. There are tools provided that help administrators provision these resources. Typically, portlets allow users to specify what kind of information should display. For example, a weather portlet might be customized to show
weather in the users home town.
Personalization can deliver content to a user based on a profile and/or business rule, or determine characteristics of a user based on previous purchases, or pages viewed. Personalization then selects content that is appropriate for that profile. For example, if a person has a high salary range, personalization can be configured to retrieve information about premium products, the page is assembled with the proper information and the user sees his personalized page.
Personalization includes a rules engine, a recommendation engine and a resource engine. Although a full install of Portal installs and configures personalization functions by default, there are additional databases to consider. For example, personalization uses the DB2 Content Manager Runtime Edition for storage of rules, campaigns and other objects. There is a logging framework used to record information about web site usage to a feedback database. The LikeMinds recommendation engine also requires a database to store information gathered through the logging APIs.
To use personalization, you need content to display to your users. Therefore, personalization and content management go hand in hand. You will also need to understand where content is stored and how it is managed to optimize performance.
Customization vs. Personalization