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Browse Prior Art Database

Portal Taskbar

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000031663D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Oct-04
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Oct-04
Document File: 1 page(s) / 29K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

A portal server is a web application server with additional capabilities. One crucial capability of a portal server is content aggregation. This allows assembling a "page". from the user's perspective, from multiple applications or other content sources. Proposed here is an innovation which will move a Web-based interface built on a portal server closer to a true "enterprise desktop". Simply, the idea is that portal servers should adopt the same User Interface (UI) design as do the general desktop environments : when a portlet is minimized, nothing will be displayed in the place where the portlet used to be. Instead, it will be added to a list of minimized portlets at the bottom of the page (or some other convenient place on the page). One advantage of this invention, currently, a minimized portlet still takes up horizontal space on the screen, with this invention, minimizing the portlet removes it from the main work area of the page. For example, consider a page with two columns, and one portlet in each column. Using current technology, minimizing one portlet will remove its contents from view, but it will still take up horizontal space. This invention would free all that horizontal space for use by the one remaining un-minimized portlet.

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Portal Taskbar

Existing portal servers, such as IBM's WebSphere Portal Server, place some controls on the page which mimic Graphical User Interface (GUI) screen controls to minimize, maximize, and restore the view of a portlet. However, the current state of the art does not completely follow typical UI experience. In a desktop GUI such as Microsoft Windows or KDE, minimizing a window will remove the window from the desktop and place it in a "taskbar" of applications. This taskbar represents applications which are still running, but currently not being shown. Portal servers, however, do not use this same approach; when a portlet is minimized, it typically shows a minimal amount of output (such as just a title bar) in the same position as the portlet previously took up. This clutters the page the user is interacting with, and is also a break with the experience that the user is used to.

Proposed here is an innovation which will move a Web-based interface built on a portal server closer to a true "enterprise desktop". Simply, the idea is that portal servers should adopt the same UI design as do the desktop environments mentioned above: when a portlet is minimized, nothing will be displayed in the place where the portlet used to be. Instead, it will be added to a list of minimized portlets at the bottom of the page (or some other convenient place on the page).

In WebSphere Portal, the minimized/normal/maximized window state is managed by a component known as the skin. When rendering a portlet, the skin checks the portlet's current window state. For example, if the portlet is supposed to be minimized, the title bar is rendered, but the portlet itself is not rendered. For normal and maximized views, the portle...