Internet and intranet applications have changed considerably since their introduction in the 1990s. Today's applications do not simply display the same canned information to every viewer; they do much more. Because of the wealth of information being exposed to end users, Internet and intranet applications must integrate large amounts of customization and personalization into their offerings.
Web sites that provide a plethora of offerings give end users the option to choose which parts of the site they want to view and which parts they want to hide. Ideally, end users can personalize the pages, deciding for themselves the order in which the content appears on the page. They should be able to move items around on the page as if it were a design surface.
In this situation, after pages are customized and established, end users need the capability to export their final page settings for storage. You certainly would not want an end user who has highly customized a page or a series of pages in your portal to be forced to reapply the settings each time he visits the site. Instead, you want to retain these setting points by moving them to a data store for later exposure.
Adding this kind of functionality is expensive — expensive in the sense that it can take a considerable amount of work on the part of the developer. Until ASP.NET 2.0, the developer had to build a personalization framework to be used by each page requiring the functionality. This ...