Overview

In order to get ready for the Web 2.0 world, enterprises must adopt an 'outside-in' approach, which means thinking from a customer's perspective, instead of from the perspective of their product or system - an inside-out perspective.

Backbase CXP delivers a next generation customer experience platform (CXP) and mashup platform using widgets, web oriented architecture (WOA), and 'lean' principles.

Backbase CXP works by wrapping existing web applications, content, and services in something called a widget. A widget is a mini, independent web application that runs in a portal page, and that can be personalized by the customer. A widget can be personalized by a user by modifying its preferences, which are automatically saved on the portal server. Widgets are then aggregated in a single web page using rich internet application (RIA) technologies and displayed in the customer's browser.

Widgets

Widgets are the building blocks of your portal: Mini, autonomous web applications that can be embedded in your pages, but also in any third-party web page. Widgets can be reused across multiple portals and devices.

Widgets are the building blocks of your digital pages. They provide the functionality and content that make your portal useful and engaging, and enable your customers to personalize the experience to best fit their needs. Each portal page contains one or more widgets, grouped into containers.

Widgets can comprise content downloaded from other websites or applications, or you can create widgets that have their own content and functionality. Widgets are like web applications that can be dragged and dropped or resized in the page. They operate independently of other widgets on the same page. Don't worry, there's no need to be concerned about random changes to your pages - widgets, their preferences and their behavior, are subject to very specific, configurable, security settings.

Widgets use the same 'open' web technologies that millions of developers all over the world are familiar with, and the underlying widget functionality can be created with any back-end technology (JSP, SpringMVC, Struts, .NET, PHP, etc.). Well-designed widgets conform to the 'write once, run everywhere' principle.

The widget model extends the HTML format with namespace client tags. This approach gives developers maximum flexibility because existing application pages can be turned into a widget without breaking standalone functionality.

CXP Client

Backbase CXP Client is a JavaScript engine that runs in all browsers and requires installation. It can be included in any HTML page and transforms your browser from a dumb window into a rich presentation runtime.

Backbase CXP relies entirely on open standards (HTML, HTML5 and Ajax technologies) and supports all popular browsers out-of-the-box. The CXP Client takes care of client-side rendering of your portal directly in the browser, structure & metadata synchronization and persistence between the client-side and server-side, and inter-widget communication. It also includes client API's and client tag libraries that enable easy, structured and well-governed RIA/widget development.

Within the Backbase web oriented architecture (WOA), CXP Client initiates requests to the Backbase CXP Server to retrieve, or render. It persists and synchronizes the portal pages and widgets and the CXP Server processes these requests and returns the appropriate responses. Both CXP Client and CXP Server can integrate with back end systems, mashup external applications and content, and consume web Services with little programming effort.

Presentation

The Presentation Services are the cornerstone of the Backbase CXP and take care of the management of the CXP Model. The CXP Model is a modular architecture that allows you to easily construct, manage and optimize your portal.

The base building blocks to create a portal in Portal Server are:

  • Portals: Backbase CXP Server can handle multiple portals.
  • Pages: a page is a URL identified part of a portal.
  • Containers: a logical group of widgets. Containers can contain other containers.
  • Widgets: a self-contained component that can integrate with applications and systems, or implement its own functionality.

The Global and Personal Portal Models

To be able to create manageable portals that are enterprise ready, the structure of a portal is strictly separated from rendering it by using templates to the visual website. Backbase CXP Server has a global portal model, containing a breakdown of the CXP in pages, containers, widgets, content, data, etc. for everybody, and a personal model (delta), for every personalized experience, the latter regardless of whether the personalization was done by an anonymous visitor, an identified customer, or by the system itself.

This global CXP model and the personalized user delta model are merged, and transformed into one presentation model, which is then rendered into a web page:

Rendering Templates

Backbase CXP and its building blocks (containers, widgets, etc.) can be rendered on both client and server. The HTML definition of the widget is simply used as a template, whereas the applications and content can be included server side and client side, therefore enabling both SEO (server-side rendered) and fast and animated user experience (client-side rendered).

Every building block on a portal page is rendered so it can be visualized in HTML in the browser. For this reason, each building block has a corresponding template that renders the building block from XML into client-side consumable XHTML. Of course, a second phase of rendering is done client side.

On the server side, multiple templating technologies can be used, for instance JSP, but also in template languages like Freemarker or Velocity. For content templates used to lay out the content parts of the website's lightweight content - templating technology like Mustache can be used.

Layouts

Layouts are container templates with a server-side and client-side defnition, and they determine how a container visually renders its content, container and widgets. Logically, a container can have a list of six widgets, but visually, the layout determines whether this is a two column layout with three widgets each, a list, or a fluid design. Layouts are data-driven, so an N-column layout exists, for which the container defines the value of N as a preference on the item. Backbase layouts are optimized for all browsers and devices.

Integration Services

Backbase CXP uses its Integration Services for aggregation. The Integration Services assists developers in the creation of widgets that bring together content and functionality from multiple web applications and services.

Because of the increasing dominance of Web 2.0 and SOA - where applications are actually composites of multiple applications and data sources - the Integration Services provides the essential tools to bring these together in a single widget.

The Integration Services consists of three core functions:

  • Web Proxy - A proxy used for requesting web resources from other domains and for directing the handling of web requests.
  • Transformation Engine - A flexible two-way transformation engine for transforming web requests, responses, and content into a format that can be handled by both your widgets and the web services they call.
  • Caching Engine - A cache used to reduce load on the web services used by your widgets, and for speeding up the processing of transformation requests by the server.

Security

Backbase Portal Server uses a Spring Security based security model to secure portal structure and content, to integrate with external authentication systems and to support SSO.

Authentication can be done by the integration authentication mechanism in Portal Server, but more often an external authentication provider is hooked up to identify and authorize against. Backbase Portal supports integrating with many technologies, like basic HTTP authentication headers, LDAP, form-based, OpenID, oAuth, Kerberos, JAAS, and many more. The external authentication system can, next to returning an authenticated token, also return grouping information that can be mapped to Portal Server groups for authorization.

Content Services

Backbase Content Services are built upon a CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) compatible content repository, the Backbase Content Hub. It provides common Web Services and REST interfaces to dramatically simplify the development of content-centric applications and supports composite / mashup style application development.

With Backbase Content Services you can aggregate content from multiple locations into a central repository and mix and match various content ingredients into contextual applications:

Content Repository

Backbase Content Hub enables the integration of different types of content assets from multiple sources (e.g. RSS, ECM, WCM, UGC, CMIS) into a single location. Different portal applications and widgets can access the repository and (re)use specific content where needed. Content Hub supports the CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) standard, which provides repository interoperability, reduces vendor lock-in and simplifies content migration.

Search and Indexing

Backbase Content Services comes with a scalable, high-performance indexing engine (based on Lucene & Solr). It has open interfaces for XML, JSON, HTTP, and Binary capabilities. It offers ranked search results (best results returned first) and comes with powerful query types: phrase queries, wild card queries, proximity queries, range queries and more.

Integration with Existing CMS

Backbase widgets can consume content from any third-party WCM or ECM. If the content is already available as HTML output, widgets can directly consume it. Alternatively, widgets can consume web services (CMIS) provided by the WCM / ECM. In both cases the Backbase Integration Services can be used to aggregate content from multiple locations into a widget. Backbase does not impose any limitations on the choice of CMS/ECM.

Personalization

Within the context of customization, the Backbase CXP empowers your customers to create their own personal portal that gives them their own editable portal environment to fit their needs.

You can enable your customers to add widgets to their portal from the widget catalog, customize the layout of pages, and disable widgets and define customized views for the content and functions they use most frequently. Our customization features manage the page configuration throughout the individual user sessions. It connects to the Security Services to obtain user credentials and interacts with the user profile database, thereby maintaining the page configuration and validating actions that change the CXP's configuration.

Targeting Engine

Backbase Personalization Services offer powerful targeting capabilities in the portal in a very easy to-use manner. For marketing professionals, a powerful and well documented unified customer view describes all information that is available interaction-time to drive personalization. As a basis, a combination of customer and contextual information if offered, typically ranging from explicit preferences, integrated CRM data, behavioral information and RFM data, to contextual information like Google search terms, referral sites and the time-of-the-day.

External data sources can be integrated when needed including analytics and CRM data providers like Google Analytics, Omniture, Coremetrics, SalesForce, SAP and Siebel.

Mobile

Backbase CXP is context aware. When customers are accessing your CXP using a smart phone, they are typically looking for a subset of the same features they use on their desktop PC. Based on user preferences and the device being used, Backbase CXP can render your portal with the right contents and templates.

Backbase CXP uses HTML5 and Mobile Touch Frameworks (e.g. jQuery Mobile, Sencha) to create mobile optimized web portals and widgets that can provide the same superior experience as native mobile applications. By using HTML5 and touch-optimized frameworks you create a cohesive user interface that runs across all popular mobile device platforms. By supporting HTML5, Backbase offers you a solid write once, run everywhere solution for developing mobile web applications.

See below our approach for mobile optimized experience:

Responsive Design

Backbase Portal fully supports responsive design techniques, which means that the web pages adapt to the space available (screen estate) in the same way water takes the shape of the glass it fills. Whether your visitor is on a smart phone, a tablet, or a traditional desktop monitor, your portal will adapt.

The Hybrid Approach: Native App Wrapper (PhoneGap)

In addition to HTML5 and responsive design, Backbase CXP also supports hybrid mobile applications. In the hybrid apps, the widget, built with using HTML5, JavaScript, CSS3, wrapped in a small piece of native application code allowing it to be submitted to, and distributed through, the various OS vendors' app stores.

System Specifications

JDK

JDKs that Backbase CXP is compatible with and for which support is available:


Operating Systems

(Server-Side) operating systems that Backbase CXP is compatible with and for which support is available:


Application Servers

Application servers that Backbase CXP is compatible with and for which support is available:


Databases

Databases that Backbase CXP is compatible with and for which support is available:


Browsers

Browsers that Backbase CXP is compatible with and for which support is available.


Authentication Mechanisms

Backbase CXP uses Spring Security and integrates with most identity providers and authentication solutions.

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