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in architecture, an opening, usually an entrance into a building. Typical ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek portals were simply ornamented and had level crosspieces. In ancient Mesopotamia portals were arched, and in the Near and Middle East peshtak portals were typical; these were rectangular and had a cut-out lancet arch. Beginning in the 11th century arched, or perspective, portals became widespread in romanesque, gothic, and ancient Russian architecture. These portals were projections whose corners had columns joined by archivolts. Renaissance and baroque portals usually had pilasters and columns that supported the entablature or frontal.
["PORTAL - A Pascal-based Real-Time Programming Language", R. Schild in Algorithmic Languages, J.W. deBakker et al eds, N-H 1981].
portal(1) See Facebook Portal.
(2) A website that provides interactive services for users, not just links to other pages. Any site that stores a user's personal data can be called a portal; for example, a banking, telephone or medical website.
(3) The original meaning of portal was a Web "supersite" that provides search, news, blogs, discussion groups and shopping. General-purpose portals such as Yahoo!, MSN and AOL also offer free email, while TV network and newspaper portals do not. Some portals allow the home page to be personalized (see personal portal). Prior to the Web, CompuServe and AOL functioned as portals, aggregating information from various sources.
The "Vortal" Vertical Portal
Trade magazines, associations and special interest groups host vertical portals (vortals) that provide news and articles applicable to their industry. The vortal may include top news stories and weather, but search is typically limited to its own archives. See corporate portal, business intelligence portal and portal server.