Siebel Portal Framework Guide > Integrating External Content >
Understanding Portal Agents
Portal Agents allow you to integrate external data into the Siebel user interface. Portal Agents retrieve data by sending HTTP requests to external applications, and then display the HTML results in a Siebel applet or on some other portion of a Siebel Web page.
Portal Agents combine a set of features and technologies that allow you to integrate external content at the user interface layer, including:
Single Sign-On technology (SS0). For applications that are participating in a single sign-on framework, this feature eliminates the need for the user to enter login credentials, such as user name and password, more than once per work session.
For more information about single sign on, see Siebel Security Guide.
Session Management and Session Reuse. Allows the Siebel application and the external application to maintain a user's session context, without reauthenticating for subsequent requests. This minimizes session resource overhead on the external application, and allows the user to retain session context, such as Shopping Cart contents.
Time-Out Handling. The Siebel Server automatically reauthenticates when a request is submitted after the external application's timeout period has passed.
Symbolic URLs, with Multiple Disposition Types. Allows content to be displayed in different ways, such as in a new browser window, inline with the other content, in an
<iframe> tag, or as an ActiveX object embedded in the Siebel application Web page. See About Disposition Types for more information.
Session Proxy. For content integrated using a disposition type of Inline, the Siebel Server manages the interactions with external applications on behalf of the user. For more information about the Inline disposition type, see Inline.
Symbolic URL Commands. Commands that direct the Portal Agent to assemble the URL for the external application in a number of ways. These include dynamically referencing the user's login and password, retrieving stored login and password values, retrieving data from the user's personalization profile, establishing the size of an
<iframe> tag, and determining whether to set the browser cookies from the application server's login page. For a complete list of commands, see Portal Agent Command Reference.
NOTE: Portal Agents do not integrate data at the data layer or integrate business logic. Other mechanisms in the Siebel Portal Framework, such as Integration Objects and Virtual Business Components, are designed to meet those types of integration needs. See Overview: Siebel Enterprise Application Integration for more information about EAI.