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What do you want to know about portals?

Empowering scientific communities with simple tools that enable them to utilise services of the European Grid Infrastructure is highly important for the successful engagement of EGI with with new users. Portals play an important role here. Portals can eliminate barriers of e-Infrastructure access, portals can seamlessly integrate the Grid and the Web. Because of their strong relation to users, portals are typically geared to specific use cases. Several NGIs, user communities and projects of EGI offer portals or reusable "portalt builder technologies" for end users and for portal developers. Meanwhile this diversity is beautiful, it certainly complicates decision making. Which portal or portal builder technology should I use? During the last EGI Technical Forum the User and Community Support Team of EGI.eu organised a topical workshop on portal technologies and tried to answer that question. The workshop brought together three groups from EGI:

  • Software developers who produce reusable components for portal development.
  • Providers of portal services: both software based services (the portals themselves) and human services (such as consultancy and training)
  • Scientific communities who require and/or already use portals to interact with the e-Infrastructure.
One of the most important outcome of the meeting was the establishment of a  “portal community” within EGI. The core of the group are those who were present at the workshop. However, it is an open group, anybody with any interest for portal development and usage is welcome to join! The EGI portal community is kept together by an email list (portal-community@mailman.egi.eu), so joining the EGI portal community is simple: join the email list.
Another important outcome of the workshop was an agreement to create a "portal technology comparison table" for EGI. The table aims to provide an analysis of existing and reusable portals, portal developer frameworks, portlets and components to help scientific communities and their supporting NGIs identify solutions that best meet their needs and should be considered when building and using portals. The following steps have been defined to create the comparison table:
  1. EGI.eu creates the first draft of the questions for the table. These questions will be used to collect information about existing solutions, to evaluate and compare the portal technologies.
  2. The questions are sent to the EGI community for review to ensure that the questions cover the critical aspects that we would like to disseminate and know about portals.
  3. Based on the community review EGI.eu prepares the final list of questions and circulate these to portal developers and portal providers.
  4. Portal developers and providers answer the questions about their own solutions and send the data back to EGI.eu.
  5. EGI.eu collects and validates the answers, then publicise them to the community.
The User Community Support Team of EGI.eu completed the first step, i.e. prepared the first draft of the questions for the portal technology comparison table. We now invite the whole EGI community to provide feedback on these questions to us before the end of January 2012. Tell us what you would like to know about portal technologies!
The draft questions are available in a publicly visible Doc file. Please send your feedback to ucst@egi.eu with changes tracked in the file. Please write in your message the entity (institute, project, NGI, research group, etc.) on whose behalf you send the feedback.

 

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