Liferay Kicks Off West Coast Symposium with Early Morning News of New Release
Today is the first day of open-source portal provider Liferay’s West Coast Symposium. Registration isn’t even complete yet and the first announcement of the day is already out. Liferay is releasing a beta version of its next platform release, Liferay Portal 6.1. In addition, the company announced a developer community release of the new Liferay Marketplace.

Liferay App Store Errr… Marketplace

The Liferay Marketplace concept was first introduced earlier this year at the Liferay East Coast conference, but is finally in its first phase of launch. Liferay announced a developer-ready release that includes an API for extending Liferay’s core portal platform with plugins. Liferay is currently working with several partners to get plugin contributions to move the marketplace to the next phase.

LIferay Portal 6.1

The next release of Liferay Portal makes significant strides to improve the end-user experience, document management and non-technical user capabilities. From a technical perspective, this release retains the same interface architecture as the previous release, which should be welcome news for developers and architects.

Improving document management was a big focus of the release. Version 6.1 features a redesigned Explorer-style user interface that is capable of displaying live document previews. In addition, Liferay combined the display of the document and image libraries, making interaction much more streamlined for users.

Beyond the visual enhancements, document handling has been made more flexible. Users can define custom document types with metadata that make managing business documents, such as a proposal, more straightforward, and users can also now define workflows per document type per folder.

Liferay made multiple enhancements to its core web content management (WCM) functionality, such as:

  • Branching -- allows users to work simultaneously to multiple versions of a site
  • Enhanced staging -- includes automatic versioning with rollback for sites and pages
  • Content personalization based on user profile
  • Hierarchical templates -- allows sites to be  updated when changes occur in the template

A number of additional technical enhancements were included in the platform. Organizations attempting to unify multiple content management systems (CMS) will appreciate the new ability of Liferay to support mounting multiple CMIS repositories, which allows users to view resources from heterogeneous systems in one location. Liferay 6.1 also supports the OpenSocial 1.1 standard that allows social applications to be managed as page “gadgets” -- another win from a platform integration perspective.

Developers aren’t the only audience addressed in 6.1.  Non-technical end users also received some new goodies. Liferay includes user-defined data lists and business forms that allow business users to build simple applications without the intervention of technology teams.

Getting the Release

The beta release will be available for download on the Liferay site October 14 with a final delivery date targeted in Q4 2011. Additional information about the release is available on the Liferay site.

These announcements are the first of what may be several over the next two days at the Liferay West Coast Symposium in Anaheim, Calif. I am here talking to Liferay staff, attendees and vendors so you can know what is happening if you couldn’t make it. If you are in attendance, be sure to tell me hello.