Friday, May 13, 2011

Liferay East Coast Symposium 2011: My experience

Just back from the Liferay East Coast Symposium 2011 and thought I'd post some of the interesting bits of information that I picked up:
  • Random stats:
    • The conference was attended by nearly 300 people from 110 companies, up from 150 people from 75 companies in 2010
    • Liferay gets ~500k hits per month from ~200k unique visitors 
    • There are nearly 100 Liferay partners around the world
    • In 2010 they had 40k forum posts
    • Between 2002 and 2010 there have been:
      • 250,000 deployments
      • 31,620 website users
      • 164,966 messages
  • Notable quotes:
    • "We want to make a software that makes a grown man cry"
    • "When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail"
    • "Liferay is just as good as Oracle" 
    • "Liferay is like IKEA - they provide parts/components so you don't have to reinvent the wheel each time"
    • "Liferay is one of the first to marry portals & cms"
    • "Workflow will do 80% of what you need it to"
  • Liferay takes pride in being "lite"
    • Quick to download
      • 150mb vs 4gb for IBM WebSphere
    • Easy to use
    • Richness/Depth: "80/20 Rule: 80% of the features are used by 20% of the people"
  • Liferay vs. Sharepoint
    • The point was made that Liferay has a community of 45k vs Sharepoint which only has a few hundred engineers.
  • Liferay has never taken venture funding
  • In support of "social" they did a show-of-hands poll to see who had seen a recent viral video, curiously only a dozen or two hands went up of the 200-300 in the room.  I immediately checked YouTube to see the view count and it was at 11.3 million.  I expected more awareness from this group, but it goes to show that even among techies not everyone has bought into social media.
  • Buzzword alert: "Liferay is cloud-ready", I presume they are referring to multitenancy here, but it wasn't clear
  • A show-of-hands poll to the audience indicated that around 40-50% were developers
  • AlloyUI is an HTML, CSS, JS framework built on YUI with a consistent taglib
    • Most libraries are lazy-load (not loaded until called)
  • Liferay hooks go through rules and are supportable, extensions break rules and make it harder to upgrade
  • Brian Chan built Liferay because Oracle license fees were more expensive than the organization he was working for could support.
  • Portlets can be exposed in Facebook or iGoogle with only a corresponding API key, title, description and a few mouse clicks
    • I saw a demo of this and it was impressive
  • Road-map
    • 6.1 will be a big investment in content management and will allow for integration with many more backend document repositories.  It will also include an improved UI for blogs and discussion boards, a richer notification template and more social sharing tools.  It was also mentioned that they plan to "invest heavily" to improve existing tools, in particular social collaboration and content management will have "huge improvements"
      • 6.1 CE is slated for July, 2011
      • 6.1 EE is slated for Sept, 2011
      • 6.2 (which might be version 7) is slated for Sept, 2012
    • Social Office will become an add-on package as opposed to an either/or type of app
    • A "Market Place" akin to the Android/Apple markets is in the works with a target launch date of Q4 2011 for 6.1 EE
      • The goal is to encourage the community of developers to contribute more 
      • like cell phones, it will have a link to install the apps and the install will be automatic - no need to download and go through confusing configurations
      • There will be a basic membership to post free apps and a developer membership to post apps for sale of which 20% of proceeds will go to Liferay and 80% to the developer.
      • Featured Apps will be posted for $1500 per month, or $750 per month for a specific category
      • There will be various purchasing models including: per user, per session, per CPU (can't be enforced currently), per server, or "all you can eat"
  • can be used to make funky word clouds - here is one based on my blog's RSS feed!
    Wordle: Geoff's blogger wordle
  • They showed this chart from which shows the fast-rising growth in Liferay jobs

  • The Hershey case study session was interesting.  They are hoping to replace their current WordPress intranet with Liferay in the near future.
  • "Data Lists and Workflow Forms" look nice and appear easy to use
    • They are coming out with a "spreadsheet view" in version 6.1.  This basically looks like an editable table which presumably would be a quick way to make quick content edits.
  • The web content management seems to use automatic versioning, so users don't need to be confused by the check-in/out process.  The WCM also appears to use CKEditor
  • It was stated that Kaleo and JBPM BPM tools are provided out of the box, but have to be installed separately as a plugin.

My overall impression was that this was a good conference with excellent speakers.  Their impressive growth and product capabilities will surely make them a contender for customers looking to replace their intranet/extranets.
On a side-note: Wow! Apple iPads and laptops are EVERYWHERE! I didn't know companies had embraced them so much.


      1. Thanks for this run down. I couldn't make it to this year's conference as I'm swamped on a fairly large Liferay implementation. Thanks again.

      2. Very interesting post. As I can see, you seems to have a serious background in Oracle products, specially portal solutions. It would be very interesting to talk to you about Webcenter and Liferay ,as I am focusing on Liferay portal for couple of years, but definitelly would be interested also in competitors :) If you are interested, please let me know (