Monday, November 16, 2009

Porting our existing J2EE ecommerce application to Liferay.

The main reason for porting the existing portal to Liferay was, to use the
CMS capabilities it provides. On the evaluation on what CMS to use
we found a hand full of Java Portal/CMS systems.
Although the framework of each of them were attractive they lacked good portlets or plugins which can be used out of the box. Liferay on
the other hand has many plugins available already. It has a Forum, Blog, RSS/Atom Module, A fine HTML templating module and a couple of simple frame works to write CRUD applications which were critical for our requirements.

The site we implemented had three full fledged ecommerce applications, landing sites for several affiliate products, promotion pages,
forums, blogs, newsletters, testimonials, press releases and articles. There was a magazine and advertising
campaign application that was meant to be used by the readers of the company magazine. This application
had a poll, a survey, a competition and couple of other options aimed for the campaign.

From the side of implementation we used an agile development approach and our development
team had 11 members. The time span for this project was only 2 months and the site had around 80 pages both
dynamic and static. Although this was a tough deadline we had to accept it as the management already scheduled advertising
campaigns that follows the delivery of the site.

Since the complexity of the user interface designs and for the flexibility we agreed not to use portlets for implementing
the ecommerce modules. The architecture was to use AJAX/JSON to integrate functionality and keep the pages
generating from the Liferay CMS.

Today we got a reward for completing the project on time with a lot of appreciation from our management. Being the
project manager Im so pleased and like to thank the whole team for their dedication and hard work. Cheers Guys.
Also now we are fully convinced that Liferay Portal is a better Java based CMS (or a WCM - Web content Management System) among the
Java CMS family.

If you like to have a look on the site visit this link
>>>Link Removed !<<<


Nivanka said...

Money always sounds great.

Anyway by using LifeRay I have pluses and minuses.

the pluses are - its has a handful set of implementations such as the blog, forum, the rendering engine, ability to edit the pages from the front end which I love most at Liferay and the portlets with the CRUD functions.

What I feel as minuses are that when you step on to any CMS you find the features as blogs, forums, e-commerce stuff, the fact is that the amount of effort we have to put into implement these. And with frameworks like Rails / Sapphire the code is always in our hands, ready for ajax etc, and they are supports REST.
Here on liferay I couldnt find a REST service.

Also as the other CMSs the categorization is not much better I guess too.

The next thing I thought was the Usability, with other CMSs like WordPress or MODEX for the end client its really easy to maintain the website, and with SilverStripe like CMSs even e-commerce stores are easy to maintain. LifeRay I found a way behind with those.

Also personally what I felt was that it is not that much sensational to work with LifeRay, Yet there are features I love about as I mentioned the JS stuff which enables to create the pages on the front end itself.

I congratulate you about this great achievement and the BONUS as well. lol. Keep the passion..

Kishantha Nanayakkara said...


I think you have to dig more into Java and Liferay. It has a lot. Not only AJAX and REST but many more. I said Liferay is a better Java based WCM. In the beginning we even tried to evaluate it against PHP based CMS Systems.
We too had a doubt whether Liferay can do all the tricks the other PHP based CMS systems offers since we did not get
enough time to evaluate it fully. However now we know it’s a perfect blend of Java and CMS.

Again each of the languages and frameworks have their own pros and cons. Choosing the language to implement your product
depends on many criteria. The budget, hosting plane, scalability, available time, number of developers, available development tools,
maintainability of the product. When it comes to development tools and maintainability Java outdo any other language as I know. So the decision is
up to you. It’s a free world. Enjoy.

Nivanka said...

this is going to be an interesting conversation. Yes with LifeRay too I enjoy some of the stuff. Yet, when is comes to the world of CMSs the dynamic features of the programming languages are much important, my feeling is that it is that quality of PHP, Python, or Ruby is powering the most web frameworks and CMSs. I know PHP is the king of those, as it powers a lot, wordpress etc. Python too is a good one, which Django is written. And ruby which I dont have to talk about, which is Rails, and Merb is built on.

I feel that the LifeRay is not that much flexible as a CMS is that because Java lacks that dynamic qualities which PHP or Ruby has.

And I agree with you in a project managers perspective, its not the codes all you have to think of, the capacity which we run, we are actually giving 110% to work. pity I know, yet thats how it goes. lols

Stewart said...

I worked on a Liferay project in 2007. Management chose because of what it supplies out of the box.
Unfortunately, almost everything it supplied had to be customised to our specfic purposes, and upon digging in, I found inside Liferay some of the worst code I've ever seen in a professional sphere.
Examples include:
- a complete misunderstanding of the uses and purposes of Spring; they turned it into a poor man's JNDI basically.
a complete lack of unit tests, and because of the proliferation of static util classes, a severe inability to write our own unit tests; a unit test basically became a system test.
- the Struts code was awful, including using try/catch blocks as flow control which should have been if/else ladders.

I swore I would never work on Liferay again, and strike it from my CV.

Brian Kim said...

Hi Kishantha,

First and foremost, congratulations for successfully deploying on Liferay. We're glad to see that companies are seeing the benefits of the hard work we are putting in.

To Stewart:

2007 is a long time from 2009. Since then, we've refactored our code many times over, and this includes changes to the way we use Spring as recommended by Spring consultants themselves. One of the advantages to the way we develop is that we keep the code clean and using recurring patterns, which allows us to quickly refactor the code. In fact, all of our code is reviewed before being committed into our repository. How many open source or commercial software companies can you name as doing the same?

In any case, we welcome you to take a look again. We've grown quite a bit from the company we were in 2007.

Brian Kim

Nivanka said...

Hi Brian,

Yes true LifeRay is a nice CMS, yet being a CMS developer for sometime I am not going to make LifeRay my first choice, two things I am concerned about.

1. Its not MVC.
2. I dont find a flexible ORM to develop on

Yet I also dont agree with you saying that LifeRay is a company which reviews their codes, and the challenge to name out other companies. Every open source foundation is has its own way, versioning, tickets, testing and many things are there.

Stewart, I have not peeped into the core codes of LifeRay so I dont have any comment on their codes.

Yet as a fact I know sometimes we have to do silly stuff on codes to get the things done, I dont know a way to measure the perfection of a code, yet there are standards. what I feel is that if the same developer look into a code time to time which is written by him he will find a lot of defects on it. Anyway I am out of comments about the LifeRay codes.

Joe said...

It is MVC and it contains a flexible ORM(Service builder). However, it is a portal and you have to understand JSR168/286.

Anonymous said...

A side note here.

I too have used Liferay to develop a web site, but I used Rails to run dynamic content.

"Rails-portlet" makes possible to run auxiliary content (not just Rails but any framework or HTML that is designed for the purpose) inside Liferay portlets.

Just in case someone is considering Liferay but is put off by the amount of hard work to create custom portlets. This makes it easier.

liferay and google said...

Yes Liferay is really a best CMS if you find good reviews from client who are using Liferay and take the rest.

We are leading service provider in the world.

So you can visit our site for more information and projects we did using liferay.


Anonymous said...

I have only one question. Why was your search restricted to Java based J2EEE CMS-portal software?

Having been tasked with selecting a CMS-portal for a Trade union in the Caribbean, my research, aided by two brilliant assistants settled on Plone CMS-portal, which is Python based, but incorporated the Zope OO Application server, and was considerably less cumbersome or complicated to setup, use or configure than e.g. Liferay - also evaluated.

W. Anderson

Kishantha Nanayakkara said...

Hi Anderson,
Thanks for the comment. In our company we use Expression Engine, Silver Stripe, Joomla which are
PHP based CMS systems and also Ruby beside Java and Liferay. Choosing what CMS system
to use and what language to do the development depends completely on
what you really want to do and what framework best matches the purpose.
In that context you can use Perl or Python also if you like.

I have explained this more in one of my other blog posts.
Check it out from the following link.

lamikae said...

I noticed the comment on Rails-portlet. I am the author of it, and it is in active development. The security features are being enhanced and although the web page is not updated yet, it has support for session cookies.

If it optimised for Rails but any source of HTML over HTTP is equivalent. Django, merb, PHP, Haskell...

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