Review: Liferay Portal

I was going a Sun white-paper on Open Source technologies for Web applications; Sun was soft-marketing the Glass fishframework. My take from it was LifeRay, an open source portal technology. I never really of a Java-based portal other than Alfresco, and this is something so close to Sun. I created a demo site for myself to test the feature set.

One the technology front, it is supported by various OS, application servers & databases. It uses J2EE and some PHP for the code, ehCache for caching, ICEfaces for portlets, a couple of open source ESBs, jQuery, Struts, Spring, Tapestry for MVC, jBPM for workflow, Hibernate for persistence and a lot more. The SOA capability lets you connect and integrate with other EIS. Authentication & Authorization is based on several pre-defined roles with fine-grained permissioning at individual file, group or application level; administrators can easily manage this through front-end consoles. Search & taggings capabilities are not only restricted to portal content but also extend to integrateed applications. All this, plus single sign-on with LDAP and multi-language support.

LifeRay is rich in its toolbox and UI. Like SharePoint, you can choose from over 60 out-of-the-box tools to build your portal. Along with drag-n-drop features, each user gets his own homepage. Desktop folders can be easily uploaded using WebDAV. The document library is revision controled and features MS Office integration & format conversion. The UI is theme based implementing CSS and jQuery standards. It supports IMAP & SMTP for email and ships with an AJAX-based IM. InfoWorld calls the ‘Best Open Source Portal’ on the market, do you?

Screenshots from my demo LifeRay site here