There are different angles to this question.
- As a developer, I like the simple and easy method of customization and development of new modules (portlets).
- As a business owner, I like the security it offers along with ready-to-use features it provides.
- Liferay is shipped with more than 50 portlets that include forum, wiki, blogs, and calendar-like modules that make collaboration very easy. It has a very organized, clean, and ‘usable’ control (admin) panel.
- Liferay’s UI, along with the control panel, is very powerful and helps to manage the content on the portal.
- Liferay is a product that has been released with beautiful thinking behind it. When there was no portal to support drag and drop for content placement on pages, Liferay had its head held high with such features that made the user experience better.
Improvements to My Organization:
With Liferay, setting up an enterprise portal is very quick and easy. Its faster development methodology helps us to customize Liferay to our needs.
For our organization, we have designed modules which help us with employee information, trainings, meeting room booking, performance evaluation, exit process, on-boarding, recruitment, and 360 feedback.
Room for Improvement:
Technology trends change so quickly that a product has to continuously evolve and improve what it offers. There was a time when Liferay’s documentation was not up to the mark. However, the release of new versions and the setup of dev.liferay.com brought fantastic documentation for developers, administrators, and business stakeholders.
There are still some parts where Liferay can improve:
- Document library: Allow you to view and preview all popular types of files
- Auditing capability
Use of Solution:
I have used Liferay for more than seven years.
Liferay Enterprise Edition releases are very stable. They keep a list of known issues just like any other software. There were very rare incidents when my team faced a bug in the product and we had to approach Liferay for a resolution.
We have not had any scalability issues so far. One Liferay node is capable of handling a large number of users and a document base.
When it comes to very heavy loads, Liferay nodes can be clustered using simple configurations. With the configurations, we can do many other optimizations to make Liferay quicker, lightweight, and secure.
There is a huge list of case studies that support Liferay’s scalability. We can understand how much Liferay can scale by looking at the Tata Sky portal which is a Liferay deployment and handles massive traffic daily.
There are multiple levels of technical support depending on your client or whether you have purchased a package. I find them very responsive and prompt in resolving the queries.
Apart from the technical support from Liferay, the developer community is also very active and responsive. Users can also put their issues/requests/suggestions to Liferay JIRA as well.
Previous to Liferay, I knew of WordPress and Joomla!, which people use to write their websites with little content.
When I came across Liferay, I got to see the out-of-the-box portlets and the way I can just put things in the deploy folder.
I can use the hot-deploy feature to create a site with very little configuration and place it on as many sites as I wanted.
I immediately switched to Liferay because of what it offered.
I got a chance to compare Liferay with other portals and tools like IBM WebSphere, SharePoint, GateIn, etc. I found Liferay’s development and deployment faster, along with its capability and offerings of the in-built portlets.
For new users, Liferay has very simple steps: Download the bundle and extract it.
If you don’t have Java, install Java and run bundled Tomcat. In a minute or two, you will have your server ready to be used.
Of course, no production level deployment will be using these steps. But Liferay provides a very comprehensive configuration file named "portal-ext.properties". It allows configurations for almost everything, such as database, sharing, sites, and clustering.
Cost and Licensing Advice:
Liferay releases its portal as Community and Enterprise Edition. Like any other open source software, Liferay has a pricing model with levels of support for the Enterprise Edition. There are two levels of support with minor differences: Gold and Platinum.
Other Solutions Considered:
For most of my proposals, I provided a separate sheet that includes other recommended tools. These recommendations were sometimes from the client based on their previous implementations.
For most of the client’s requirements, Liferay was a clear win because of its out-of-the-box features, portlets, and the depth and type of customization it can do.
From enterprise intranet website requirements to a public facing website that receives heavy traffic, Liferay passes all tests and checks off your requirements.
Using Liferay Portal, you do not just get open source and bring down the cost of software, but you also get total implementation time decreased as well.
Liferay has a large and responsible community to support you throughout your implementation.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.