Web Portal Development: a Communication and Collaboration Platform
Softengi has developed a web portal solution for a public sector with content management, search, forms creation, and survey modules to ensure the most effective level of communication and collaboration inside the company.
The communication & collaboration platform was developed by Softengi for one of our customers from the public sector who decided to remain undisclosed.
Сhallenge: the customer aimed to create a centralized database of the internal and external documents to reduce repetitive operations and mistakes connected to the document flow. The client also wanted to improve the overall level of communication and collaboration between multiple offices and unify all the communication channels.
An advanced level of security was one of the most important requirements considering the risks of a data breach in the public sector.
Solution. Essentially, it is a web portal solution that meets the highest security standards and thus can be used in public and private business sectors with zero risks. Web portal development opens a number of opportunities for any business improving the level of interaction inside the company.
Functionally, the communication & collaboration solution is designed for the business and public sectors:
Business sector. Large corporate (closed) portals for the automation of operational processes (ordering services) informing employees, facilitating communication, and interaction of the employees located in different countries and offices.
Public Sector. They include both a public part for unregistered users and the internal part for the organization’s employees (civil servants). Depending on the users a communication & collaboration platform will have different levels of rights and access. In this case, the interaction of the public and private parts of the portal is presupposed along with transparent processes.
This communication and collaboration or a web portal solution has a module system for more effective implementation and faster deployment. Each of them is created for a certain goal.
CONTENT MANAGEMENT MODULE IN A WEB PORTAL SOLUTION
The collaboration & communication solution is basically created for secure information storing and categorization. The CMS block is different from free CMS systems, such as WordPress or Wix as it offers an advanced level of security. How is this advanced security level achieved?The architecture of the application consists of three blocks:
Private Services – designed to create and manage content
Public Services – designed to serve portal users
DataBase – a common database acts as a link of service blocks
Data moves in one direction: Administrators -> Private Services -> DataBase -> Public Services -> Portal visitors. This approach guarantees 2 levels of security:
1st level of security. We block the ability to change the content from the public part (even if someone manages to enter the database through the portal, he/she will still not be able to change the content). If you need integration with a third-party service to receive data, then it is connected via the database
2nd level of security. At the network level, we restrict data transmission channels. For user-portal communication, restriction through nginx, for portal-database communication through a limited number of ports). Dropbox and Netflix are good examples of the successful implementation of nginx for data security.
Content Management module allows creating and editing pages, managing publication of pages, controlling access to the page for portal visitors
The built-in visual designer allows you to create or update the page structure by drag & drop functional parts of the page, then, if necessary, customize their styles and set the behavior of the page elements with the ability to view the result directly in the designer.
A set of layouts, page templates and page parts allows you to place any type of content on the portal pages. Users have the ability to edit existing and create new templates, control the availability of the template for one portal or for all connected portals. The ability to edit templates allows the developer to adapt the template for specific tasks, whether it’s the layout features, the behavior of elements or the content of the portal.
An important part of the CMS is also the localization tool, which allows you to quickly manage the localization of all connected portals from a single partition using common localization elements.
SEARCH MODULE IN WEB PORTAL SOLUTION
The Search module is developed on the basis of ElasticSearch and is one of the additional (plug-in) components of the solution which allows portal visitors to perform full-text and advanced searches on its pages.
Using Kibana, it’s possible to visualize the statistics and analytics of search queries on the portal. This component allows the portal administrator to also view statistics on event logs and error logs in order to analyze the health of the portals.
SECURE SURVEY MODULE FOR A WEB PORTAL SOLUTION
What is a secure survey module? Most businesses and public institutions need to conduct regular surveys, and they often use mass-market solutions for that, such as Survey Monkey or Google Forms, which is irresponsible in terms of security.
The secure survey module developed for a communication & collaboration platform is a plug-in component of the solution and is designed to conduct thematic surveys on the portal to collect valuable data. The built-in designer will help to create a questionnaire for different types of surveys with the ability to use different types of answers to questions as well as the ability to form groups of questions.
The module allows you to control the settings and the progress of the survey. The user is given the opportunity to set the polling period, designate a list of respondents, start and end.
FORMS MODULE FOR A WEB PORTAL SOLUTION
Form Module. The Form module is a plug-in component of the solution, implemented on the basis of the Form.io form designer, and is designed to organize the collection of applications or requests in a given form through a public portal.
For example, a feedback form or a form of visitor’s appeal, which contains the name, telephone, subject of the message, message text, captcha, etc. The designer tool allows you to implement a form of varying complexity using different types of information fields.
The communication & collaboration platform developed for a public organization that helped the client to reach many business goals. First of all, the communication inside the institution which was often performed via numerous insecure messages moved to one platform making data breach impossible. Secondly, the company managed to create an electronic database of documents reducing the paperwork to the minimum and making redundant operations impossible. Many business operations were automated and it becomes possible to analyze processes and visualize the data with the help of dashboards.