What is a Portal
This content applies solely to Appian Portals, which may require an additional license purchase.

Overview

A portal is a public website built on Appian where external users can complete their workflows, access information, and provide data with ease.

In its simplest form, a portal is an interface created in Appian and published as a public website at a unique URL. But it can also consist of any number of objects, configurations, and connections. This enables you to use a portal for anything ranging from a simple dashboard to a complex form. The interface, along with any objects, configurations, and connections work together to connect your external users to your Appian applications.

This page explains what is a portal, how it works, and what connections and objects can make up a portal.

How does a portal work?

After you design your portal in Appian, publish it using the Portal Publishing Manger. When you publish, Appian collects up all of the design objects used by the top-level interface used for your portal, including child rules, integrations, CDTs, etc, and publishes that package as a serverless application. This allows your portal to be run in a service that is separate from your Appian environment, but can easily be connected to your Appian applications. We call this an isolated architecture.

Isolated architecture

The isolated architecture is how external users are able to access your portal without a log in, but still be connected to your Appian applications. It also allows you to build scalable public experiences that securely and easily connect to your Appian applications, using powerful and simple low-code development tools.

The isolated architecture allows external users to access your portal without signing in and still be connected to your Appian applications. They can send data to your Appian applications as well as view data that you choose to include in your portal.

The isolated architecture also allows your portal to scale and serve interfaces to meet user demand. See Scaling Portals for more information on portals scaling best practices and limitations.

Connections between a portal and Appian

Although portals are separate from your Appian environment, they can easily be connected to your Appian applications through integrations and web APIs.

How web APIs and integrations work in a non-portal application

In a non-portal application, you would use a web API to allow an external system to request to query data from Appian or ask Appian to do something. The external system reaches out to an Appian web API to perform the request and Appian sends a response back to the external system.

You could also use an integration to have Appian request to query data from an external system or ask the external system to do something. The integration reaches out to the external system to perform the request and the external system sends a response back to Appian.

How web APIs and integrations work in a portal

With a portal, you would use an integration in the portal request to query data from Appian or ask Appian to do something. The integration talks directly to a web API in Appian, which completes the request and sends a response back to the integration in the portal.

Simply put, your portal can make requests to Appian using an integration to connect to a web API in Appian. The web API completes the request, such as querying data or starting a process, and sends a response back to the integration in the portal.

The diagram below shows how the portal and Appian work together to allow for the flow of data.

A portal is run in a separate service from your Appian environment, but using an integration allows your portal to connect to your applications using web APIs in Appian. The integration and web API form a bridge that connects your portal to Appian and allows data to pass through. The integration is on one side in your portal and the web API is on the other side in Appian.

What is in a portal?

A portal can consist of any number of objects and connections. What you'll need to include and connect to in your portal depends on what you want to use your portal for.

This section gives you a brief overview of how to connect your portal to Appian for data, document, and reCAPTCHA services as well as the objects you'll need for these connections.

For some uses, a portal can just consist of an interface and hard-coded information to share with your users. But for most uses, you need to connect you portal to Appian to use document or data services.

Connections to write and query data

To write to or query from Appian, you'll need to create an integration and web API to connect your portal to Appian.

To directly write to or query from an external database), you'll need to set up that database as a data source connected system in Appian.

For most cases when you want to write data from a portal, you'll use a web API and integration to write the data to Appian.

To write or query data in a portal to/from Appian, you need:

  • An integration object called from your interface.
  • An API key.
  • A service account.
  • A connected system object.
  • A web API object.
  • A data store object. For querying data, you could also use a record type. Make sure to give your service account viewer permissions to your data store or record type.

Learn more about Working with Data in Portals and Connecting a Portal Directly to an External Database.

Connections for document services

To enable users to upload and download documents in your portal, use a!fileUploadField(), a!documentDownloadLink(), and a!documentImage() similarly to how you would in a non-portal interface in Appian.

To upload files in a portal, you need:

To download files in a portal, you need:

Learn more about Working with Documents in Portals.

Connections for reCAPTCHA services

To help filter potential spam data from bots accessing your portal, you can configure a connection to Google's reCAPTCHA service.

To use reCAPTCHA in a portal, you need:

Learn more about Configuring reCAPTCHA.

Open in Github Built: Wed, Jan 25, 2023 (04:27:40 PM)

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