Portals

Slate Portals are a framework that is available within Slate to build custom sites.

These custom sites are created and hosted within your Slate instance and can therefore interact with Slate data as well as allow access using Slate authentication, but they are typically also modified to accomplish a variety of tasks that might not otherwise be available within Slate.

An example of such a portal is a volunteer portal, through which alumni and other volunteers can log in to update their information, sign up to help with events, or submit interview report forms.

A portal has several parts to it:

Part Description
Views One or more portal views in which the portal’s visual elements and layout are defined and data to be displayed is formatted.
Methods One or more portal methods, each of which can run queries to look up data, perform an update or do certain specialized actions such as a redirect.
Queries One or more portal queries, which must be linked to portal methods in order to run.

Important!

Older portals may have been built with XSLT files. Portal XSLT files provide the HTML that creates the portal layout and formats the data for display. While these XSLT files are supported, we strongly recommend using the newer views functionality.

Getting Started

We recommend going through the following questions and mapping out your requirements before starting a portal project:

Determine the type of portal

What is the overall goal of the portal? Who are its users, and what should they be able to accomplish?

The most common types of portals created by partner institutions are:

  • Volunteer portal (including alumni interviewing portal).
  • Athletic portal – for coaches to track and manage athletic recruitment efforts.
  • Applicant status portal – admitted status portals can be created as a standalone portal, although many institutions fold in functionality for admitted students into status portals.

If a portal’s users come from a population other than students/applicants or users with Slate accounts, and you want to collect information, interact with, or report on this population, you would need to create a custom dataset first.

Determine the functionality

What actions must its users be able to accomplish within the portal? For example, should they be able to “claim” an interview as well as submit a report for that interview after it has taken place?

Map out the view

What must a user see on the portal? Do they need to see data that is already housed in Slate (for example, prospect or applicant information, or upcoming events)? Will there be a need to conditionally show or hide parts of the portal depending on who the logged-in user is? Drawing a mockup can be helpful for this step.

  Tip

A number of Slate Standard Portals are available to be added to your instance via Briefcase import and then modified to fit your needs and your configuration (e.g., your own custom fields). Even if you are creating a portal from scratch, we recommend adding some of the pre-built portals just as examples for you to consult.

Technolutions staff will not be able to build custom portals on your behalf. Technolutions staff will be happy to assist and advise you in the construction or modification of a Slate portal, but someone on the school's staff will need to take the lead. This should be someone who has, or is willing to learn, basic web development skills using HTML and basic knowledge of SQL.

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