Liferay Portal quick review

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.

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