Express Portals

  Prerequisite Skills

Portals Best Practices

Express Portals streamline and simplify the process of building custom portals in Slate. Before proceeding, familiarize yourself with the best practices for creating portals, as these still apply to the implementation of Express Portals.


Editing an Express Portal.


Front end view of the same Express Portal.

Getting Started

We recommend thinking about the following questions and mapping out your own requirements before starting an Express Portal project:

    1. Determine the purpose of the portal

      What is the goal of the portal? Who are its users, and what should they be able to accomplish? The most common types of Express Portals are:

        • Event Registration: Allow users to quickly and easily register for events.

        • Event Itinerary: Provide event registrants with detailed information about their visit. Using configurable joins exports and dynamic content blocks, these portals can provide students with information about any meetings or classes they'll be attending, or related events that they've registered for.
        • Slate Video Landing Page: Create a personalized landing page for Slate Video.
    2. Determine the functionality

      What must users be able to accomplish within the portal? For example, should they be able to claim an interview and submit a report afterward?

    3. 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.


Creating the Portal

To create an Express Portal:

  1. From the main navigation, select Database, then select Portals.
  2. At right, select Express Portals.
  3. Click New Express Portal. An Edit Details pop-up appears.


Example Express Portal Setup

  1. Configure the following settings:

    • Status: If the portal is Active, it can be visited at a URL formed from "/portal/" followed by the portal key.
    • Name: Give your portal a descriptive name for your own reference (it won't be seen by the public).
    • Key: A simple name used in the public URL for the portal, which should be unique for each portal created. For example, you might have a portal with a name of "My Awesome Portal" with a key of "awesome." The URL would then be: 
    • Folder: If you have a number of portals, you may want to organize them into folders. Select Other to create a new folder.
    • Security: The method that authenticates users entering your portal. Beyond controlling access to the portal, this also lets you identify portal users and provide them personalized content (for example, an event guest could see which related events they've signed up for).
      • Secure Link: The security options Person and Dataset provide the option to allow access via a secure link. If any personally-identifiable information will be displayed on the portal, we recommend requiring a login and discourage from using the "Secure Link" setting. For more information about setting up secure links, see these articles: Creating a Custom Portal, Portal Authentication Methods
      • Anonymous Access: The security options Person and Dataset also provide an option for Anonymous Access, which will display personalized content for logged-in users, and generic content for those who aren't. 
      • Use SSO: If you've chosen a security type based on a Dataset, you can leverage single sign-on authentication for logging into the Express Portal. For more information about SSO, see the article on Portal Authentication Methods.
    • Restrict Access: Add filters after saving this pop-up to determine who can access your portal. For example, in a User portal, you can restrict access to users with certain roles or permissions. In an Event portal, you might restrict access based on a person's registration status for the Event. (These filters can only be configured after the Express Portal has been created).
    • Authorization Fail Custom Message: Enter a message that appears if the filters prevent access. Leaving this field blank displays the default message Access Denied.
    • Inactive Message: Enter a message that appears if the portal is set to an inactive state. Leaving this field displays the default message Portal is inactive.
    • Description: A longer, internal description of the portal for your own reference. This will not be displayed to the public.
    • Custom CSS Rules: If you have custom CSS that you would like to use to customize your portal without altering your institutional branding, you can configure it here. For more information on using Custom CSS in portals, see the article on the Portal CSS Editor.
  2. Click Save to create your new Express Portal.


Express Portal Configuration Page

Unlike traditional portals, Express Portals do not require methods or queries to function. Instead, they use Configurable Joins to pull data from sources as-needed, without the need for advanced configuration. You will configure the Exports you want to use when you configure your Views.

On the main Express Portal configuration page, there are several tools immediately available, including:

Express Portal Configuration Page.png


  1. Edit Portal: Alter any of the Express Portal's settings, as described in the previous section.

    Copy Portal: Create a copy of the portal, a Suitcase link, or copy the portal into an existing Suitcase.

    Copy Portal as New Suitcase.png

  2. Impersonate: View the Express Portal from the point of view of a specified user. This option does not appear when Security is set to Anonymous/Guest. 
  3. Embed Portal: Opens the Embed Portal pop-up, which includes an option to allow or disable embedding of the portal, as well as the embed code for copying.


  4.   Summit 2023 Feature - Edit Permissions: Add a specific user, a user role, or a level of user permission as a grantee to the Express Portal.

      Read more: Portal Permissions

    Edit Permissions.png

  5.   Summit 2023 Feature - Edit Template: Add branding content that should appear on every page in the Express Portal. Use the {{content}} variable to incorporate your standard portal content.

      Read more: Custom Portal Branding Templates

  6. Palette: Options include:
    • View: Add a new view to the Express Portal by dragging a view from the palette. A pop-up appears:
      • Status: Active
      • Name: Enter a public-facing name for the view. For example, FAQ.
      • Layout: Choose the layout for your view from the list. Dynamic Layout Builder is recommended.
    • Header: Segment the views list.


The first View that you add to your Express Portal will become the default view. To change the default view, drag the view you would like to be the default to the top of the views list. Refreshing the page will update the Express Portal and show that the top view is now the default. 


Editing the Express Portal's key will break any existing links to the Express Portal; change this with caution!


Configuring Views

Once you've added one or more views to your Express Portal, double-click the View to open the View Editor. Within the View Editor, you have the following tools available:


Change the view status, name, layout, or create a custom URL.

  • Status: Setting the default view to Inactive hides your Express Portal from external access.
  • Name: Edit the view name.
  • Layout: Reconfigure existing content to a different layout. The default Dynamic Layout Editor creates a blank layout.
  •   Summit 2023 Feature - Custom URL: Enter a custom URL slug for the view.

Create vanity URL.png


View as List

View all objects on the View as a single list.



Collapse All

Make the content smaller for editing (becomes Expand All to return it to full size). This setting does not change what the View looks like to users; it only affects the View Editor.



Edit Exports

Choose which Exports to use on this View. Only choose the Exports that you need for this specific view, as choosing too many Exports can cause slowdowns when loading the page.

To put it in pre-Express Portal terms: Edit Exports essentially replaces the Portal Query and Portal Method of a standard Portal.


The available Exports change depending upon the Security setting chosen when creating the Express Portal. If the Express Portal Security is set to Anonymous/Guest, the Edit Export button disappears entirely.


View Palette

Click or drag portal widgets from the view palette to add them to your view. Views using the layout Dynamic Layout Editor require at least one row.

Scope determines which widgets are available in the view palette.

Person Application All other scopes

 Edit View Palette - Person Scope.png

  • New Row: Add a new row to segment your content. Dragging a new row into the view prompts you to edit its columns. (Only available for Dynamic Layout Editor type.)
  • Static Content: Add content such as images and text boxes that will remain relatively unchanged over time. Supports Liquid Markup, Merge Fields, and custom HTML/CSS.
  • Events: Add a widget that displays links to and information about events that meet specified criteria. Additional information can be found in the article Portal Events Widget.
  • Form: Embed an existing form on the page using the Forms widget. Additional information can be found in the article Using Slate Forms with Portals.
  •   Summit 2023 Feature - Component: Add a configurable component.
  • Slate Video: Embed Slate Video onto your page using the Widget.  Additional information can be found in the article Configuring Slate Video.