Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Liferay Within a Day or Two!

In this modern, fast world it is not practical for anyone to read through a book for months to learn something new. The fact that someone is looking to read up on Liferay is not because they are bored but because there is need to learn Liferay Portal to get on a project or for a potential job opportunity. Liferay Portal 6 Starter is the book you need if you want to get started with Liferay within a day or two.

This is definitely a newbie guide. So you are not expected to know anything about Liferay. This will take you from zero knowledge to an extent that you can start playing and exploring the features of Liferay. Sandeep Nair, the author of this book distills the Top-5 feature of Liferay you must know out of the zillion features the product documentation will teach you. For me this was a book that I finished during my commute time as this is 54 pages cover to cover.

Here are the Top-5 features that you must know about Liferay according to Sandeep in this newbie guide to Liferay:

  1. Content management and workflow
  2. Document management
  3. Collaboration
  4. OpenSocial gadgets
  5. Dynamic Data Lists
Beyond the explanation to these features instructions are also provided to download the product and play with these features. This will help you to get started with Liferay practically than just reading about it. The author will induce your taste buds so that you will start playing around with Liferay when you get started with the instructions in this book to download and work with the features.

Another interesting information I found in this book was the links to some of the useful blogs. With Google all the information on the internet is in your finger tips. But the challenge is to filter the results and end up in useful website. The author provide links to interesting blogs and podcast about Liferay so that the readers are really motivated to learn beyond what is in the book.

Personally I ended up reading a huge beginners guide and then a book for developers when I wanted to learn about Liferay. Had I picked up this book couple of year ago then it would have been a more natural learning curve for me. Still I enjoyed this book and learned new things. If you are newbie to Liferay this is definitely a book that you must start your Liferay journey with.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Liferay Portal Systems Development - Another Book!

Now that I got introduced to Liferay, its features and how to set it up on WebLogic Server, I wanted to learn more about the strengths of Liferay in detail. So I picked this book for my reading - Liferay Portal Systems Development. You can get an electronic copy of the book here. If you are a beginner to Liferay or you are an initial learner then you should look at my other post - Liferay Beginner's Guide.

This book is for you if you want to get serious about development with Liferay. Once you get to know the portal as user from outside the next step is to get your hands wet and dirty. This is more like opening your automobile's hood. This book explains all about the under-the-hood implementation and customization. You should be Java developer to get more benefits out of this book. But prior Liferay knowledge is not necessary.

This book clearly explains 3 different levels of development and takes you down that path.

  •  Level-I is where you will develop portlets, themes, layouts, hooks etc. At this level you are using Liferay Plugins SDK. 
  • Level-II is for advanced developers which requires you to change config files, write custom Java code, custom JSP files etc. 
  • Level-III is for more advanced developers which involves changing Liferay Portal source code. And this is the level for you if you wish to contribute to the Liferay Portal core development.
 If you want to build custom portlets, MVC portlet bridge and its extension are the gist of portlet development in Liferay. Once you build your portlet using SDK the process of deployment, configuration, using service builder to build services and models for your MVC portlet are all explained by the author in detailed steps with a sample close to realworld project in this book.

The most interesting aspect for me in this book are Hooks. Hooks are hot deployable functionalities that can let you override the portal core functionality. You can perform actions on portal startup, user login, overriding portal services, servlet filter mapping, servlet filters etc. Along with Hooks you will also learn about Ext Plugin which are used to modify the behaviour of internal out-of-the-box portlets that are distributed with Liferay to customized them for your needs. These 2 powerful features provide flexibility and customizing ability for the Liferay Portal.

One of the notorious feature of Liferay portals is the Enterprise and Web Content Management (ECM) which provides the ability to organize, store and render enterprise contents such as images, documents, organizational official business records etc. In my experience most of the organizations have their standard content management systems and would prefer to integrate their portal to existing ECMs like Documentum, Sharepoint, Alfresco etc. Author explains how to create contents, configure and use the them in Portal and integrate Liferay with exsiting ECMs. Along with the content management features the Open Social API, Social Office provides powerful social and collobartion features on top of the portal in Liferay. The books goes detail into the collaborative tools such as Wiki, blogs, message boards, polls, bookmarks etc. Also using the workflow feature of the portal and intergrating it with existing workflow engines like jBPM, Kaleo, Activiti, Intalio etc. is also well explained. Finally you can read about the mobile device detectors and WAP themes which are useful if you want your portal to be accessed by mobile devices.

Another big challange for bigger enterprise implementing any framework is how to set up the portal environment in the lower environment, test it and transition it to the production. This book explains how to setup local staging of portal and contents then publishing it to higher environments. So if you want to understand Liferay as a portal and its strengths in other areas in much more detail then this is the book you want to read. Download a sample chapter from here. Enjoy your reading!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Liferay Beginner's Guide - Review

If you are trying to build more than just a simple web application and you need features like look and feel, administration, search, emailing, content management then you want a portal. There are many open source and commercial JEE portals available such as Liferay, Open portal, JBoss, Web Center Portal, Web Sphere Portal etc. Liferay is a popular light weight open source portal. "Liferay Beginner's Guide" is a good book to get started if you want to learn Liferay by yourself. You can buy an electronic or paper copy here at Packt Publishing.

You can find lot of information about using Liferay with Tomcat on the internet but very less information when it comes to commerical application servers like WebLogic Server. This book explains on how to get started with Liferay on WebLogic Server using illustrations and screen shots. I am big fan of pictures and illustrations as they can speak 1000 words :-) The previous book I read on Liferay was very developer oriented and doesn't have interesting screenshots for someone who is new. But this book explains a topic with screen shots, instructions and expalins what we just did with a summary section titled "What just happpened". I believe that is a better approach to explain hard technical concepts. "Have a go here" section will engange you to experiment with the topics more practically.

Overall this books will get anyone who is new to Liferay started with all the major concepts and help you build a site to understand the concepts. You will also build a online shopping website practically which is very interesting. More interesting topic when you build the shopping website is the integration with the Paypal sandbox environment. Publishing and content management is one of the highlight for Liferay in addition to its portal features. This book explores all the content management features of Liferay which is useful for most business scenarios. Another strengh of Liferay is the built-in portlets that comes bundled with the product and thess discussion about those built-in portlets in this book. Enterprise Edition of Lifeay is bundled with more built-in portlets and this book discussed the Community edition of the Liferay for simplicity.

One of the best topic comes as the last chapter - Administration. It is crucial for anyone who works with the product to understand little bit about the server administration. Creating multiple sites, Virtual hosting, implementing staging environments, Configuring logs, Monitoring server and portal sessiona are key topcis being discussed.

Overall, this book is a good introduction to anyone who is new to Liferay. Download a sample chapter from this book here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Book Review

For a change I thought of writing about my upcoming book review and Liferay Portal. I had a chance to work to Liferay Portal which is an Open Source JEE Portal. Liferay comes bundled with Tomcat but it can be deployed to run on WebLogic Server as well.

Now that I am familiar with Liferay and I am off to review this book "Liferay: Beginner's Guide". I shall share more information when I am done reading this book. For anyone who is new to Liferay, it is a light weight JEE portal. Even though it is open source there is a good support structure available from Liferay itself. There is a community edition which is free and there is a enterprise edition which is commercial. You can find more information about Liferay @

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A good WebLogic Server Administration book after a very long time!

Recently I was involved in reviewing a book for Packt Publishing - Oracle WebLogic Server 11gR1 PS2: Administration Essentials by Michel Schildmeijer. I am not writing this post because I reviewed this book but I had a chance to read the entire content of this book. This is a book written on the topic of WebLogic Server Administration after a very long time, and a good book too. If you are someone who works on WebLogic Server & JEE technologies you would certainly know about the scarcity of books on WebLogic Server and especially administration. WebLogic Server is being used as a commodity these days for many applications and products built on JEE platforms. Even though it is widely used there aren't many books available for WebLogic Server and the documentation serves as a good reference. But with the growing features on WebLogic Server in the past few years it is hard to learn for any new comers or who are non-developers if you are not following the product for a few years. This book comes as huge gap filler on this area.

The flow of this book would prepare you from planning to production and tuning with a good story line. As WebLogic Server is being used as the application server for almost all the Oracle Fusion Middleware Suite of products Michel not only talks in the perspective of simple JEE applications but also talks about how WebLogic fits in the Fusion Middleware area which is a key benefits that you can ripe from this book. As WebLogic is rich in features especially the administration console, I expected a bunch of screen shots and less narration when I first started reading this book for review. But Michel really balanced between the content and the screenshots, which are presented wherever it is necessary. When I used to go around training customers for BEA and Oracle in WebLogic Server, I was always in need of a white board rather than prepared presentation contents. You can clearly see that need from this book which has many diagrams hand-drawn (Of course using some tool) to explain a lot of topics.

It would say the power of this book is the take off low and fly high approach to many topics, cohesive order of the topics presented to the viewers, compilation of real world experiences and best practices.

This is a good reading if you are a Oracle WebLogic Administrator or any Oracle Fusion Middleware product administrator or trying to become one. So if you are looking to learn or reinforce your knowledge in WebLogic Server this is a good book. And this is available both in printed and electronic format.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

IDE for WLST Scripting - OEPE

In the past many folks asked me about a GUI based tooling support for WLST. Some people managed to use some Jython tools for WLST but it is not straight forward and supported by Oralce. What you need to author WLST scripts more efficiently is a tooling support to develop WLST Scripts. If you are involved in writing a lot of WLST scripts then you will appreciate this initiative.

Oracle just came up with a OEPE (Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse) based tooling for WLST. Some of the features of this tool are:

* WLST/Jython/Python Source Editor
* Syntax highlighting, validation
* Code completion
* WLST Templates
* MBean Navigator for browsing MBeans
* WLST Execution and Console in Eclipse
* WLST integrated Help
* Support for both online and offline modes

Currently anyone who is authoring WLST scripts must refer to the docs for syntax and samples. This will be a good tool for developers so that they can build WLST Scripts within a comfortable environment - Eclipse/OEPE. Also administrators can benefit from the this tool as there are features like templates, code completion etc. The latest release of OEPE 11gR1 ( comes with this tooling. To find more about the new features of this release see here.

5-Part WLST Best Practices Series

A while ago I wrote a 5-part WLST Best Practices series . Here I am consolidating this post with link to all those 5 posts.