Last time, I blogged about when not to use portals. This time, I am blogging about when portlets make sense. So,now if your goal is to bring together your Web applications and information into one convenient place, portlets are the obvious choice. If your development goals are somewhat different, consider these other portlet and portal server features that you might want to take advantage of:
* Portlets can be extended to work on many client devices. The users can move from computer to computer, and mobile device to mobile device, and still use the infomation and applications they need.
* Portlets allow you to easily customize their content for different user groups, and individual users can rearrange and tailor them to their needs.
* One can make the portlets have a unified look, and change their appearance quickly, using Cascading Style Sheets along with themes and skins that the portal server provides. You can create your own themes and skins as well, to better reflect your company's image and style.
* Portlets can be published as Web services, so that companies outside of your portal server's environment can easily write programs to use them.
* The IBM WPS provides excellent support for internationalization, beyond what the Web Application server provides. It is straightforward to develop portlets that will display correctly for international users, even in double-byte or bidirectional languages like Chinese and Arabic.
* Portlets help divide complex applications into tasks: in general, one group of closely related tasks equals one portlet. WPS's administration portlets are a good example: like the administration tasks can be broken down into categories (Portlets, Portal Settings, etc.), groups of related tasks (Manage Users, Manage User Groups), and single tasks (Search for users, Create new user).
* Portlets make it easy to add features to your applications later. If the new feature is large, one can create a new portlet. For small updates, you can update the existing portlets without losing users' individual preferences.
* Portlets, like other Web applications, play well with firewalls. They use standard Web protocols to receive and display information.
* You only need to install and configure portlets once for all of your users, which is much easier than working with stand-alone applications on each computer. This logic applies to the other Web applications as well.
* The portal server works with the Web application server to provide security, installation support, reliability, and availability for many users, so you don't need to spend a large part of your development effort working on these features.
* Once you do invest in a portal server, you may find its advanced features useful: content management, transcoding, voice support, and offline browsing, among others, useful for integrating into your application
Filed in: WPS