Liferay: A Portal with a WOW factor

Oct 18, 2010
Jaime Davila

The first time I got in touch with Liferay my thought was "WOW"! Just like Apple, Liferay has the "WOW factor" from the begining. So I've been playing with this beatiful portal and some of its features that include; theming, ICEFaces-IPC portlets, and portal administrations.

Liferay is a superb portal implementation with a lot of out-of-the-box features; you have portlets included for portal administration, Content Management System, news, and some for utilities. It includes AJAX features and you can develop more portlets customized to your needs or your clients. Those portlets can be created with servlets, jsp, jsf (standard jsf, myFaces, ICEFaces, RichFaces), php and some others.

Some of its features are:

  • It runs on all major application servers and servlet containers, databases and operating systems
  • JSR-268 compliant
  • Out-of-the-box usability with over 60 portlets pre-bundled
  • Built in Content Management System and Collaboration Suite
  • Granular level of theme customization even per user

Among the technologies used we can find; Hibernate, ICEFaces, jQuery, Lucene, PHP, Ruby, Seam, Spring&AOP, Struts&Tiles, Tapestry, and Velocity – this one is used for template creation which I will discuss later.

It also supports I18N and it comes with default translation for 22 languages.


Sometimes we don't have the final decision of what Application Server will be used by the client in a production environment, which is probably because the developers must change their environment to fit the production one, this leads to questions about IDE, database, Application Server, even Operative System.

Liferay is agnostic in many ways, from the AS perspective it runs on:

  • Apache Geronimo,
  • Jboss,
  • GlassFish,
  • OracleAS,
  • WebLogic,
  • Sun JSAS,
  • Websphere.

Form the database perspective you can get it run over;

  • Apache Derby,
  • DB2,
  • postgreSQL,
  • MySQL,
  • Oracle,
  • SQL Server,
  • Sybase,
  • SAP
  • and others.

After this you can infer that the operative system doesn't matter. What really matters is which one you prefer or must use for production: Windows, OS X, Linux, UNIX.

A developer doesn't need to upload an AS to test his applications or the theme design, with a servlet container like Tomcat, either Resin or Jetty are enough, but what about the IDE: Liferay is agnostic!!! You can use NetBeans, Eclipse or even a notepad or a console.

Before finishing this post I'd like to include some security and authentication features: Liferay is built with security in mind. It includes algorithms like DES, MD5 and RSA. With Liferay you can use SSO (Single Sign-On), LDAP or MS Exchange.

In the next post I will discuss the theme "creation" which is a straightforward process with the Liferay sdk.