Service Portal: What to know before you begin

Service Portal was designed so that anyone can get a portal up-and-running quickly and easily. However, there are still some concepts that are good to know before building your own portal.

Service Portal was built as a visual layer over the ServiceNow platform, which means that in addition to building a more visually pleasing UI for your end users, portal administrators actually do most of their configuration within Service Portal (Service Portal > Service Portal Configuration in the platform UI)

Service Portal contains several different layers of configuration.
  • The highest layer was designed so that even the most basic user with limited coding knowledge could set up a portal. The Service Portal quick start guide and most of the documentation on this site is intended for this user.
  • The second layer of configuration requires a more in depth coding knowledge. Because Service Portal is built using AngularJS, developers with an understanding of the JavaScript framework should have a relatively easy time finding resources and understanding the layout of the system. There is documentation on this site intended for this user, however for more in depth information, try the Service Portal developer site.
  • The third layer of configuration requires an understanding of the ServiceNow platform. Most portal configuration takes place in the Service Portal configuration page, but in some very specific circumstances, Service Portal administrators may need to do additional configuration directly within the platform. The Service Portal advanced configuration overview is intended for users with this level of experience.
Don't confuse any of these users types with "roles". In all cases, the user configuring a portal must have the admin role.

Make sure you have a solid understanding of Twitter Bootstrap and CSS 3 Flexbox before changing any layout configuration.

You should have a basic understanding of all of the following components that make up a portal:
  • Themes: define the look and feel of the whole portal but can be overridden by pretty much any other style configuration.
  • Pages: control where and how you store portal content. Pages don't have a defined relationship to portal records, they just exist. They can be public, internal, or role-based.
  • Widgets: Pretty much everything in Service Portal is a widget. You can use HTML templates, CSS, client scripts, server scripts, and any JavaScript dependencies to define what a widget does.