Liferay inroads

After installing Alfresco and admittedly suffering a few hiccups with it I seem to be making enough progress that I also decided to investigate Liferay as an alternative to Plone as our intranet portal and internal information site.

There are some areas that Plone really does well such as the content type handling and content workflow. But lack of documentation in other areas has left me pulling my hair out at times, such as ldap user and group integration with openldap and active directory, debugging modules and some new gotcha each time something is updated in a buildout.

Liferay has also had a steep learning curve, but I found it no where as bad as Plone. No messing in the ZMI for setting up ldap auth, changing database backends or setting portal defaults. Just one config file. I have found the speed surprising compared to Plone on the same hardware too. With java webapps I have tried in the past I have been left with the impression of them being bloated, memory hungry and slow. But I am slowly coming around thanks to Alfresco and Liferay.

It took a long time to get the liferay-portal-5.2.2.war running in the ubuntu jaunty tomcat6 environment and it still had a couple of issues so I just went back to running the liferay-timcat6 bundle which does run well without issue. I guess that is the price I pay for avoiding java for so long.

To make it suitable for my needs the interface needed to be cleaned up and I decided to just create a fresh theme which can be seen in the screenshot below. The theme is called Winter Sky and is adapted from MMOZINE, and is available from the Liferay community plugin section.


Other additions over the classic liferay theme are multiple level navigation menus and print styling css targets. Which were just a couple of extras that made things much more usable for my victims…. oh.. target users.

There are still a few visual glitches to fix, but everything seems usable and I will post the link to the Liferay project page once it is approved.

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  1. May 26, 2009 10:46 pm

    Have you looked into some of the new Plone LDAP config tools like ? It really simplifies the setup of LDAP auth in Plone and you don’t need to go to the ZMI side of things.

    As far as buildout woes go, make sure you pin all versions in your production environment so you don’t get any unexpected results. It makes deployments repeatable and reliable.

    • May 26, 2009 11:55 pm

      Nope I havn’t. It didn’t find any mention of it in the docs I read at for ldap setup. But I sure looks like it will simplify plone+ldap a lot. I’ll have to try it soon.

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