Portals are software platforms that facilitate constructing websites and related applications for the web. The portal software is the necessary element to make the site functional. Open source portal software is a less expensive or sometimes free alternative to commercially branded or proprietary software. It typically allows a developer the freedom or open opportunity to distribute and use the software as he or she desires without a software license. This includes sharing code and modifying it to obtain the desired result.
Determining the best open source portal software for you depends on your particular business needs for the site under construction. In plain terms, open source allows individuals to develop software based on existing knowledge, while it also grants them the right to adapt it and improve upon it to suit those specific needs. Generally speaking, open source design is available without monetary compensation because of its development using design knowledge available to the public. Since cost is often one of the first considerations regarding the purchase of software, choosing open source portal software is a smart choice to suit budgetary concerns.
Another consideration for choosing the best open source portal software includes implementation compatibility. Ascertain that the open source software, as well as open source applications and tools, will work with your existing operating system, application servers, and databases. Most open source software also requires Java® and frequently accommodates public and private access to virtual environments.
Likewise, determine the features you desire for your site. For instance, depending on the type of open source portal software you choose, it could offer variations in portal architecture and standards, available technologies and web services to implement, supported scripting language, and performance and scalability. Additional considerations of importance are sign-on features, identity management, and encryption technology for security.
Your intended content management system (CMS) is another part of the selection process for the best open source portal software for your needs. In addition to choosing among various themes and layouts, decide what type of web and workspace publishing you want. Select a comprehensive, user-friendly document library, and confirm that you will have language support and knowledge management in place.
Finally, decide if you want to provide collaboration and social features on your site. If so, find open source portal software that includes options such as wikis and a knowledge base, as well as blogs, message boards, and instant messaging. You may also want to include the convenience of calendars, webmail, and an alert or announcement system for users.