Ask Google

Custom Search

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Liferay Portal

Over the past couple of months I’ve seen an increase in the number of customers who have shown interest in Open Source products as an alternate to commercial products. In Portal and Social networking space, Liferay Portal has been a clear leader – in most cases customer has already made their choice, while in others we’ve found Liferay portal to be a good fit for our customer requirements. As a result I have been playing around with the product for some time now, so thought of putting my together for interest of others. Since Liferay Portal 5.2 also got released while I’m putting this together, I’ve made an attempt to capture the key enhancements that have been made in this release.
With over 75000 download per month, Liferay is the leading Open Source portal server which supports operating system like Linux, UNIX, Mac OS as well as Window. The Application server support is even more impressive with support for 14 application servers including the leading ones like WebLogic, WebSphere, Tomcat, JBoss, Oracle AS etc.
Gartner, in its 2008 Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portal Products has recognized Liferay portal as Visionary for its strengths in innovation, market understanding and product development strategy.
Although the Liferay portal’s key strengths and focus has been on Collaborative as well as Intranet Portals solutions, its capabilities extend far beyond and it is now emerging as a reliable & a cost effective enterprise portal product.
Portal Architecture
Liferay is based on the J2EE platform thus available on almost all leading application server; it is compatible will all leading databases; run on UNIX, Windows, Linux as well as Mac OS – resulting in over 700 configurations to choose from, with the various combinations of middleware and database platforms. It also provides support for open standards like JSR 168, JSR 268, JSF 128, JSR 170, JSF 314; WSRP, Web Services, AJAX, Springs, Struts, Tiles, Hibernate etc making it must have in any portal evaluation.
The Portal architecture of Liferay has been built around Users, Organizations, Communities, Roles, Pages and Portlet that enables user to build flexible yet robust collaborative portal. 

I love the idea of Liferay portal, its a self sustaining portal and content management system that comes with many applications out of the box that enable you to shape your site as you wish without seeking a third party applications or plug-ins. The portal supports the JSR 168 and 286 for portlet development allowing you to develop a very elaborate applications on top of it with the power of Java, Spring, Hibernate, EJB, JSF and more.
The position of this Portal as of all portals is more in the mid-size business more then the personal site developer.
But with this positioning comes some software design and architecture responsibilities.
The portal should be able to cluster easily and be able to give better performance using caching.
The good news is that although clustering is not a simple switch in the configuration it is not allot more complex then a configuration of the web server, cache and Liferay. caching is also OOTB and has the benefits of the Hibernate.
Having this is very good and very reassuring for the business that sets its eyes on establishing a portal as their website.
The other great feature in the portal is the CMS based on the popular Journal portlet. though it is not a really great and flexible CMS with many of an enterprise CMS features it does get the job with simple content like Articles and so on. Dont expect to get the Vignette Content Management server out of it. ;-)
I do have some problems with the portal, especially GUI design and the separation of interfaces.
My first trouble started with the lack of a backend administrative application. i am used to this type of mechanism in most of my web applications including the WordPress i am using now. the separation of preview and management is some thing i find very important for applications.
For an example i would bring the page template management. though i have chosen a very arguable example i believe that this should be a part of the navigation tree and it should be possible to make a selection of several pages and change their templates collectively.
Liferay Layout Management
But this is not the end of the problems with the lack of administrative application, the administration is done by pages in the system that make it very elaborate to make it clear what is user controlled and what is administrative.
Now i have not gone beyond the simple install and have not tried to integrate it with any LDAP for users and groups or any other integration to Caching mechanisms but it appears that there is some community out there that will be happy to try and help and you might be able to archive your goal.
So if your company is in the route to get a portal and you want to go the open source way you probably should consider Liferay Portal. if you want an enterprise portal Come to Vignette.

No comments:

Post a Comment


  © Blogger template The Beach by 2009

Back to TOP