SAP Freestyle/Custom portal sites

In the previous blogs, I mentioned the portal offers two main user experience options that fit different business needs:
The first being the Fiori launchpad portal sites which I have already covered in the previous blogs, second being the free style portal sites. Both options offer end users a responsive, role- based central access point to business transactions and data.

In this and coming few blogs, I will focus more on free style portal sites.
Freestyle sites provide portal users with the flexibility of combining business applications with Web content in a real Web site experience. While Fiori launchpad sites offer a pretty structured tile-based, dashboard-like application launcher experience, the freestyle option is just that – free, open to your design, creativity, and mistakes.

The freestyle sites option enables the creation of actual Web site user experience and provides greater flexibility in building business sites, suitable mostly for engagements with customers and partners. With freestyle sites, portal admins enjoy extensive capabilities through the portal admin tools and can add multiple pages to their site; design layouts and repeatable UI elements like header, footer, company logo, and others they can set business applications together with Web content in site pages; expose site pages as publicly accessible on the Web; they can even combine a Fiori launchpad page together with freestyle pages in their site, and more.

 Let’s compare the Fiori launchpad site to the freestyle site :

Now, this is the fiori portal site, that I showed you in the previous blogs, its basically has tiles that launch the applications that you developed.

And if you compare it to the freestyle site – here is an example of freestyle site:

You can see that this has an actual Web site look and feel. So it has a public landing page, which is accessible publicly on the Web. And the important thing is that it combines your business applications together with Web content and data.

Building blocks of freestyle sites
Now let's move on to introduce the various building blocks that make up a freestyle portal site. The main building block when creating a portal site is the site template. Portal sites are based on a site template, so when portal admins create new sites in the portal Admin Space, they start by selecting one of the available site templates. A site template is a blueprint of a solution which contains a set of predefined page templates, layouts, branding, applications, and content.

The portal is delivered with a set of site templates out of the box, which offer a great deal of flexibility and enable portal admins to easily create sites in the portal Admin Space.

However, if you would like to introduce a different design or custom capabilities that are not available with the existing site templates, new ones can be made available in three ways:

      1) The first one – you can have your developers develop new custom site templates using the portal tools in the SAP Web IDE.
      2) The second one – leverage one of the site templates and accelerator solutions available as open source.
      3) On top of that, additional templates can be made available by subscribing to the SAP Cloud Platform accounts of partners or third parties who offer custom site templates.

From the site template we move on to the site instance. A portal site instance – or a site – is created by portal admins in the Site Directory based on a selected site template. The site is created as a copy of the site template which it is based on, and inherits its branding, page templates, layouts, default content, and more. Once created, the site instance is opened in a visual editor called the Site Designer, which allows portal admins to easily add content, configure, and design the site instance.

When a portal admin creates a new site, it is created with the set of page templates defined in the site’s original site template. A page template defines the layout of a page and is divided into content sections.

Portal admins can add applications and content into those sections. This is useful when a specific layout or content is repeated on several pages of the site, having for instance a common header and footer. The portal admin can design and edit the content of a page template in the Site Designer and then create pages based on these templates.

SAP Cloud Platform Portal is provided with a set of page templates with various layouts, like a full-page layout, header and footer, tall header, and others. These layouts are pretty flexible but if you require a specific layout or design that is not available, you can have your developers develop additional page templates with the portal tools in SAP's Web IDE.

Now after designing the page templates, the next building block is the page instance.