Defining a Web Portal ASP.NET

A web portal is a page that allows a user to customize his homepage by dragging and dropping widgets onto it. This approach gives the user complete control over what content he sees on his home page, where on the page he wants to see it, and how he wants to interact with it.

A widget is a discrete piece on a web page that performs a particular function and comes with its own UI and set of features. Examples of widgets include to-do lists, address books, contact lists, RSS feeds, clocks, calendars, playlists, stock tickers, weather reports, traffic reports, dictionaries, games, or almost anything you can imagine that can be packaged up and dropped onto a web page. In a corporate environment, widgets can connect to internal systems; for example, an expense tracker widget can interact directly with the internal accounting system.

If you are familiar with the SharePoint Portal, then you already know about widgets, which are called Web Parts in SharePoint and ASP. NET.

Specifically, an Ajax-powered web portal is a web portal that uses Ajax technologies to create richer experiences for its users. It is one step ahead of the previous generation of web portals, including pioneer sites such as MSN or AOL, because it gives you a state-of-the-art UI that behaves more like a Windows client application with mwidgets, animations, pop ups, client-side data grids, and other effects not usually found on a non-Ajax web portal. Not surprisingly, MSN and AOL have already adopted many of the practices discussed in this book.

Some of the most popular Ajax web portals include iGoogle, My Yahoo , and Pageflakes.

Pageflakes uses widgets to deliver functionality, including local weather, local news, videos, local photos, podcasts, stock portfolio, local events with Google Maps, and more

Pageflakes uses widgets to deliver functionality, including local weather, local news, videos, local photos, podcasts, stock portfolio, local events with Google Maps, and more

A web portal, especially one that is Ajax-powered, gives users a fun way to browse the Internet. Users can add photos, videos, music, podcasts, and video blogs to their Start page.

The web portal can also help users become more productive by allowing them to check email, read news, and get weather reports from a single page. They can organize their digital life by putting appointment calendars, to-do-lists, and address books in a central place on the Web. No matter where they happen to be— in the office, home or airport—as long as they can get to the Web, users can access this information directly from their web portal. It’s like bringing the whole Internet onto a single page, displayed exactly the way you want it to be. Gone are the days of running after content—now information and entertainment comes to you.


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