If you are a portal developer or portal architect working at client site for providing portal solutions, you will come across these questions. How will I integrate my existing web applications into portal? Or How do I bring all web applications into single user interface? How to provide a single point of access to existing applications so user just login only once? Well, there are many ways to do that. Lets take the simple approach first.
Links portlets are one of the quickest ways to integrate with existing applications, though providing just links is not actual integration. Trust me, we have developed many links portlets for integration as it is quick to develop and not much coding is needed. But there is some disadvantage too as we are making users to jump into another applications.
Believe me we have developed iframe portlets as well. This is second most common way to quickly integrate an application into a portal. By using <iframe> html tag in a portlet we can reference the application. When we do so, application will be displayed under portal with portal banner and portal navigation. But there are some downsides to it too. Timesouts can be tricky because either the Iframes or portal can timeout before the other. There could be an issue with look-and-feel as well. The iframe tag can introduce scroll bars.
3. Web clipper portlets:
This is another option for integrating any web application with portal. Web Clipping enables the clipping of an entire web page or a portion of it and reusing it as a portlet. Basic and HTML-form-based sites may be clipped. Use web clipping when you want to copy content from an existing web page and expose it in your portal application as a portlet.
4. WSRP portlets:
Another approach is using WSRP - Web Services for Remote portlets. These portlets provide both presentation and business logic which is slightly different than standard web service which provides only business logic no presentation so every client had to implement on their own. To understand better, compare with HTTP where user interacts with remote servers by using browser and doing operation like form submitting. He gets his response as HTML in the browser. WSRP is a similar protocol between server and client. In WSRP terminology, the server is called a producer. It hosts services, typically portlets, that clients, or consumers, communicate with. Consumers uses WSRP which defines a common, well defined interface that defines how a portal(consumer) should interact with producer. WSRP is built upon existing Web services standards like SOAP, WSDL, and UDD. WSRP can aggregate portlets from more than one producers into single page and can apply consumer specific look-and-feel to that page.
5. Struts portlets:
Lets say you have existing struts application up and running some where obviously outside portal and you would like to host in the portal. Weblogic portal provides struts portlets by which you can integrate with existing struts applications.