There are a number of things we like about Liferay and once you start using Liferay it is easy to see why. Liferay is a leader in the portal space (according to Gartner, not just Zia). It also has a highly flexible user interface and integration platform that makes it easy to use. In fact, we recommend it as a go to technology for Web development and integration.
With so many great things about Liferay, it was hard for me to narrow it down to 5 things for our recent Webinar. In case you missed the “Favorite Things about Liferay” webinar, here are the top five reasons Zia loves Liferay:
1) Open architecture – Liferay is extremely flexible as an environment and can be used with any Java application server and any database that is JDBC compliant. This means that most companies will able to leverage existing technology investments with Liferay. You can use products like Tomcat, JBoss, WebLogic, WebSphere, MySQL, Oracle or SQL Server. You can also use any Java web framework such as Liferay MVC, Spring Portlet MVC, Struts, JSF or GWT. As with any open source product, Liferay customers benefit from being able to ‘see under the hood’ and look at the source code to address problems and report bugs/fixes. This open architecture makes Liferay both an excellent social platform (wikis, blogs, etc.) and integration platform. On a recent customer engagement, I used Liferay to integrate with an ERP, CRM, ESB and several web services.
2) Fast Site Creation – For any company that is consistently adding or updating site content, Liferay makes it easy to quickly create and add a web page. Content creators can create new pages with little technical background and with minimal or no IT involvement. This puts the control back in the content creator’s hands and frees up IT resources. From a developer standpoint, it is easy to mock up sites for new projects and manage overall site creation. Liferay’s content management system manages all file types including images, documents, videos, and web content. Web content can be a simple snippet of HTML, or a complex mix of images and HTML that are neatly organized using structures. The structure is then combined with a template for displaying the web content, so that content contributors can focus on the content and not technical details. Liferay makes it easy to create content, update navigation menus, and create pages and sites in minutes.
3) Liferay Plugins – With Liferay you do not need to re-create the wheel. The functionality you need to build your web presence is often available in an existing Liferay plugin. A brief list of the most commonly used plugins are web content display, sign in (user login and forgot password), social media features (such as chat, Wikis, message boards, blogs, etc.) and web proxy. The web proxy feature is great because it allows you to expose legacy web applications in your enterprise through Liferay so that they are all managed the same way. You can customize Liferay plugins in several ways, including the portlet’s UI configuration settings, control panel, and portal-ext.properties. This saves time by avoiding rewriting code. If configuration changes are not enough, you can use Liferay hooks to change JSPs, CSS, and actions (to name just a few). Zia has a lot of experience customizing Liferay using hooks. For example, we have helped many companies customize the sign in plugin by putting in a company’s own look and feel or adding in pages and documents / terms that a user has to agree to. Hooks can also be used to integration with other systems such as LDAP, ERP, CRM, etc.
There are lots of things I love about Liferay and these are just the top five. One additional feature specific to Version 6.1 that I am excited about is the out of the box previewing of PDF and Word documents. This will save companies a lot of development time.
If you want more information on these features, view our On Demand Webinar to see how easy it is to create pages, use plugins and custom development pages. Or contact Zia directly for more information on how we can help you leverage Liferay in your organization.
Tim is a Principal Consultant at Zia Consulting
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