Building Advanced Enterprise Portals

This workshop explains the physical and logical architecture of a large-scale portal. Covers personalization, external service access, information aggregation, caching and common architectures (JSP, Model2, Jetspeed, edge side include and Web Services). It does not only cover internet releated issues of a portal. Instead - it takes a look at portals as distributed systems with their typical problems of latency, reliability etc. I've held this workshop for GFT in Basel and Zurich and at other places with quite some success. Depending on how deep one wants to go the workshop can take between one day and a complete week.


  • Portal Building Basics: chose an application server or a content management system for your portal. Benefits and problems. Using a combined content management/application server approach.

  • physical architecture (Demilitarized Zone, Load-balancing, vertical and horizontal scalability, cloning etc. Can your application server work in a cluster? Is it maintainable? Does your content management system have single points of failure? How does it scale? These questions need to be answered early on in a portal project.

  • information architecture, fragment architecture, distribution architecture. Not rocket science but definitions you will need. The basis for effective caching later on.

  • Security: externalized authentication and authorization - why and how. Performance and SSL.

  • Performance, caching: Using edge side include technology (see to assemble pages at the edges of your service. Shows why you need an asynchronous layer for speed. Explains how to build a service access layer and why you will need one - even with Web Services backends. Exteme testing and why you need it.

  • Personalization, Web-mining. Shows how your software can survive organisational or business change. Explains why the necessary meta-data need to be built into the system early on to be of use later.

  • Web Services: a new technology to build portals? Shows how a user interface can be built by assembling different web services into a seamless user experience (see about web services for interactive applications and remote portals).