The Difference Between A Web Portal And A Website

The Difference Between A Web Portal And A Website

What is a Website?

A website is a collection of interlinked web pages typically hosted from a single domain. A website is accessible over the internet or a private network such as Local Area Network (LAN) through an address known as Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

The URLs organize the web pages into a hierarchical form which help a user to navigate through the pages. A home page is included that usually is the starting point of all navigation artifacts, including links to other pages, an “About Us” page, or a “Contact Us” page.

Static vs Dynamic Website

  • Astatic website is composed of web pages the content of which remains constant until a developer wishes to alter.
  • The information on a static website remains the same throughout.
  • A static website may consist of plain text or rich media. However, on visiting a static site, you will see the same content at all times irrespective of the time of visit.
  • On the other hand, adynamic website updates itself frequently depending on a set of parameters.
  • In other words, a dynamic website’s content is renewed every time a user visits the website.
  • A dynamic web page is created using a wide range of software and languages such as, Java Server Pages (JSP), Active Server Pages (ASP), PHP, Python, Perl, etc.

Interactive Websites

Websites of the 90s had only textual content on them. With the evolution in multimedia and other design elements, images, audio, video, and interactivity to mimic a desktop application started appearing on websites.

Plugins such as Silverlight and Flash started to get implemented in websites to deliver more interaction with users. In modern web browsers, JavaScript helps modify the web page content on the fly and communicate with the web server.

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What is a Web Portal?

web portal is a customized website that immerses information from a wide array of sources in a consistent and uniformed manner.

For example, web portals are served in the form of dashboards for company executives and managers. How the content on a portal should be organized and presented depends largely on the requirements of the end users?

A web portal may be customized based on the restrictions of domain searches. An enterprise portal usually has a consistent design and has the capability to interact with applications and databases.

There are various types of web portals depending on the usage and content restrictions. Some of them are:

  • Government and federal portals
  • Corporate andenterprise portals
  • Cultural and trade portals
  • Stock and financial portals
  • Search portals
  • Tender and bidding portals
  • Domain specific portals

Web Portal Development – Things to Consider

A programmer embarking on web portal development has to consider many factors before a portal can be made available for consumption, either internally or externally. From a developer’s perspective, there are many things to balance, such as, design vs platform, stability vs early build, and standards vs business goals, to name a few.

Before starting a web portal development initiative, you as a developer need to keep the following in mind before kickstarting your project:

User Experience and Interface

  • Cross browser compatibility
  • Device compatibility, for examples, tablets, smartphones, etc.
  • Section 508 compliance
  • Seamless updates and patches
  • Friendly error messages and proper exception handling
  • Progressive enhancement

Security

  • Prevention of SQL injections and intrusions
  • Failsafe password encryption
  • Two factor authentication
  • SSL/HTTPS for secure login
  • Avoiding cross site scripting
  • Keeping your system protected with the latest virus definitions and software patches

Performance

  • Proper usage of caching
  • Image and media content optimization
  • Cookie management
  • Minimizing the amount of HTTP requests

SEO

  • Usage of search engine friendly URLs
  • Proper sitemap of the portal
  • Proper link nomenclature
  • Know how search engine spiders work
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