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At the Liferay (news, site) East Coast Symposium, announcements have been flying. Here's what the open source portal vendor has in store.

What's Liferay?

Liferay is an open source, Java-based web portal vendor offering both community and enterprise editions of its products. It was born from the old Sun (news, site) portal, which was released into open source and spun off by various companies. In fact, the Sun portal product sold last year was an OEM'd version of Liferay.

With over 5 million downloads and an only 100MB install, Paul Hines, Chief Marketing Officer of Liferay says their product is similar to installing your own personal Facebook (news, site).

New User Migration Program

One of the new programs announced this week is "Design with Liferay." This initiative targets existing users who are reaching end of feature life with their current portal installations. Rather than suggesting that users immediately convert their existing infrastructure to Liferay, instead the focus is on keeping your existing installations for the moment using Liferay for any new work.

Program participants get their first year of Liferay Portal Enterprise Edition free. There are also workshops available to bring in Liferay trainers to help ease the transition.

New Liferay Education Portal

Another new program is Liferay Live, which offers a free online classroom where live engineers, community members and partners will share presentations. The next few sessions are:

  • High Availability and Performance
  • Liferay Social API
  • Liferay 6.0 Review

Times and dates are still marked to be determined as of the time of this writing.

New Web Application UI Building Tools

Also new from Liferay is Liferay Alloy UI, a "metaframework" offering an API for building web application interfaces. Spanning different layers of the browser experience, Alloy UI includes:

  • Structure in the form of reusable HTML 5 markup
  • Style with a framework for layout, forms and state interaction in terms of CSS3
  • Behavior in terms of a collection of Javascript components built on the Yahoo (news, site) User Interface version 3 (YUI 3)

The Javascript components include an image gallery, autocomplete functionality, a color picker, live search, a paginator, CSS ratings, an overlay manager and more. While obviously Liferay would love you to use Alloy UI to build tools around their products, you can use them with any web application.

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Some of the Javascript components available through Alloy UI.

Liferay Social Office Goes Enterprise

Finally, Liferay has announced that its Liferay Social Office offering has finally been released in an Enterprise Edition. CMO Hines mentions that a lot of time can be wasted with teams needing to catch up over email, phone or instant messages, with communication often working differently depending on how you connect.

Social office, says Hines, provides "an unbroken visibility of team activity" within a shared, collaborative environment. The advantage of this approach, he says, is to shift "each person’s focus from his or her own tasks to how these tasks fit into the bigger picture objectives of the whole team."

Is Liferay Open Source Web Engagement Management?

For those who followed our May focus on the topic of web engagement management, Hines says that he feels that Liferay's offerings are strongest in the Conversational Engagement and Demand Generation pillars, with their focus on "building content, sharing context and collaborating." So if you're looking for open source tools to address these needs, Liferay Portal and/or Liferay Social Office might be worth checking out.