Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

Summary: The new paradigm is the "social app" and Liferay plugs right into it.


The big problem with good news stories is no one reads them.

Good stories, the ones we love to read, the stories we respond to, start with conflict. They end with it, too.

Happy endings -- whether Cinderella's marriage to the prince or Samwise's marriage to Rosie Cotton -- are only for people who fell in love with their initial conflict.

So the story of Liferay may not appeal to you. It's a full content management tool. You can use it to build a deep, social Web site. It's open source, but with customers like T-Mobile, Honda, China Mobile and many more.

Boring, right?

Not to Paul Hinz. But he's the chief marketing officer for a nice family company, in his case the Chan family. He needs to make this as exciting as possible. It's his life.

Liferay takes just 200 megabytes, it takes just 7 minutes to download and install, and it lets you immediately start building social applications with Facebook-like features, to run either inside or outside your corporate firewall, he began.

"It lets you form ad hoc teams, let managers blog about lessons they've learned, do internal messaging, see the status of others in your group," he said.

The new paradigm is the "social app" and Liferay plugs right into it. " is all Liferay. The Cisco Developer Network is all Liferay."

What's out is the idea of layers. This was big in 1999. When open source was new the portal was called the presentation layer. The business logic was the application layer. It was hard to build applications.

Liferay has changed that.

"With Liferay 6 you don't have to think about the layers below. You get a collaborative layer, a database layer, everything you need in it, plus you can plug into your existing rules engine. You can use mySQL or Oracle. You can run Tomcat, or Websphere."

Some industries are buying the Liferay paradigm ahead of others. Government likes it. Education loves it. Finance has gotten big since the crash, with banks seeing they can pay $1 million for a full Web server or $30,000 for Liferay support.

"Gartner says 25% of portals will move to open source in the next few years and we're the only player," Hinz concluded.

Oh and if you want to get into this yourself Liferay is starting to grow its OEM business, with partners who specialize in geographies or industries.

A great story, but where is the conflict?

Topics: Open Source, Apps, Banking, Cisco, Networking, Oracle, Servers, Software, Telcos

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  • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

    "The Chan family business" ;) We've never heard ourselves called that before. Thanks for the mention, Dana.

    Here's a link to one of the Gartner Magic Quadrants we're in:
    • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

      @aliceatliferay I got the idea from looking at the management and seeing a Chan as CEO and another as head of Administration. I've worked in family businesses before. They can be quite comforting.
  • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

    Having worked with liferay the last few months i cant help but feel that liferay will collapse under it's own weight. It's features are lacking. The product is extemely buggy, and the code quality absolutely abysmal. <br><br>I feel that there is no way they can possibly sustain it
    • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

      Sorry you're not having the best time. Anything we can help with? What exactly are you using it for?
      • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

        @aliceatliferay <br><br>I don't think you want to challenge me on this on a public forum that potential customers will be reading. But then again it's your funeral<br><br>Let's address my complaints one by one.<br><br>1. Not production ready<br><br>Liferay 6 ga 3 was released with among others, the following bugs unresolved<br><br><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br><br>Eg. if you are running a liferay instance now, your cache and consequenly your database *will* get corrupted. <br><br>Adding to this. Liferay does not use any foreign key constraints<br><br>What you should take away from this is that your data is *not* save in liferay<br><br>2. Abysmal code quality<br><br>When you are prompted for a password, enter username guest<br><br>If you are considering Liferay and employ java developers. Let them take a look at the length of the servicePre method in<br><br><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br><br>or the scriptlets in any of the following jsps<br><br><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br><br>Let them see the number of arguments the addUser method takes in <br><br><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br><br>And then tell them that this is a public api, that will change, even between point releases<br><br>Then tell your developers none of this is unit tested and that they will have to provide support on this. Watch their reaction!<br><br>3. Buggy product<br><br>Just take a look at and watch the number of bugs on<br><br><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br><br>And in particular notice the amount of bugs that go unresolved. Even when the community has provided a patch<br><br>And this is *after* liferay's team closed every open issue that was not looked at for a while<br><br><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br><br>Point to take away from this that liferay is very buggy, and if you report an issue they will close it without even investigating<br><br><br>I can go on and on about Liferay and rage all day but I have more pressing matters to attend. Nobody gets fired for choosing IBM. You *should* be fired for choosing Liferay
    • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

      Have you tried to install and run a portal product from any of the BIG vendors? All you can show for a page long rant is two bugs on a huge product. I dont know of any software that is bug free. Secondly the fact that Liferay is willing to openly publish bugs speaks volumes about their openness. Try getting a list of bugs that were created and resolved on any of the BIG portal vendors....

      I cannot find any credibility in your post or your page long rant!!
      • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about


        >All you can show for a page long rant is two bugs on a huge product

        I mentioned those two bugs because they are particularly critical. If you are running a Liferay server now, and you have any significant amount of data in it, you will experience data loss because of them No exceptions

        However i do go on to point out that liferay's bugtracker is full of unresolved bugs. You can can verify this yourself

        > I cannot find any credibility in your post or your page long rant!!

        Fair enough. I am willing to go the extra mile here. What will convince you that Liferay is a product not worth investing in ?

        I can run automated defect tracking software like Findbugs and PMD against the codebase if you like.

        I could get you some cyclometic complexity metrics.

        Would you like me to discuss some fundamental issues in Liferay's architecture.

        Codereview random classes of your choosing ?

        What will it take? And yes I am serious about this
  • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

    I've been using it for the last 4 months and have found it to be extremely stable and quick to develop on. We use grails to develop most of the portlets and while there is not a ton of documentation on grails portlets, there is more than enough on the java ones.
  • Liferay: Top Quality, Top Innovation, Always ready to help.

    Well Dana got some controversy. Chad sounds like an excellent community member and I'll look into seeing if we can get more Grails documentation. I could get grumpy with My3cents or call him a troll or suspect he's a competitor but we're Liferay and we ALWAYS respect the voice of our community. Always we have to listen, sometimes we have to prioritize.

    In response to My3cents:

    Ref the quality: Liferay has some of the highest quality of any software product I have ever worked on or with. Software utilization demands a process of development and refinement. Open source allows individuals to engage with the software during the development process where in contrast, proprietary software requires customers to wait until the product is completed, released and purchased before customers can access the software. Customers using open source get to start evaluating, architecting, developing and even testing Liferay much earlier. Sometimes developers confront a bug in this process. However, no one has better support than Liferay - just look at the response from Alice above, she wanted to help. Liferay personnel are extremely knowledgeable and well trained in support. In contrast, major proprietary vendors have poor support, and customers are required to be very patient to get support or must pay for full time support personnel to be avaiable for their account. Liferay has two audiences, the community (those using for free) and customers (who are provided with support that beats major vendors). We try our best to help both.

    Ref the bugs: The ticket that he refers to in his rant was fixed by

    Ref the closed tickets: Cynthia the Liferay Program Manager had stated that a huge number of tickets within the community bug reporting system were simply administrative questions, i.e., people were using the software incorrectly and using our ticketing system to ask for free help. In order to improve the quality of the ticket system, she informed the community of the process to close out old tickets. Her strategy was excellent.

    Open source is the future of software - people should get fired for building closed source software like IBM's. The Liferay team has built a fantastic product and business model to support customers - just look at a few of the customers listed on And while the CE version has fantastic quality, EE is even better. Brian Chan answered a question in a recent symposium that identifies how the EE version is different; paraphrasing, "when we build CE, we focus on building the features, but when we branch EE, we focus on how each feature is implemented, and how to optimize the code itself". This allows Liferay to participate with the community to build features faster and to build a separate business process focused on customers going into production.

    This openness also means we have special concerns. James Falkner was recently hired to be the Liferay Community Manager, and will create a voice for the community. We truly believe our success has been because of our community and we will continue to listen, to improve ourselves and we'll provide great value to customers - and yes - better than any proprietary software vendor. I welcome a personal email from anyone that needs help:
    • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

      @paul.hinz@... <br><br>Hi Paul Hinz, Chief Marketing Officer of Liferay inc<br><br>It's good to know your support engineers are extremely knowledgeable and well trained. <br><br>When driving a racecar who's wheels can fall off at any moment you want a competent pit crew on your side<br><br>However shouldn't we all just declare such a car unfit for driving ?<br><br>I've seen the list if case studies that you mentioned in your post. I especially liked the monster energy case study. Where is it now ? does not seem to use Liferay anymore. Can you offer any insight on why they chose to abandon their significant investment in Liferay?<br><br>Infact many customers still listed there also seem to have abandoned Liferay when was this list last updated?
  • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

    All great companies are family run. What makes them great is that they extend the definition of family member to employee. Superb companies go one step further and extend the definition to include customers too.
  • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

    I've worked for a couple of different closed-source proprietary vendors in this space that have the same size portfolios as IBM, Oracle, etc. They have tons of new and old bugs, all kinds of security holes (obfuscated of course but not hard to find), and 'abysmal' code quality from the years of mediocre developer churn, aborted attempts at fusing software from various acquisitions, and bad software engineering practices. I spent many days and weeks on hard to find bugs because of the zillions of software layers, frameworks, and general crap thrown in. I would take Liferay over those any day of the week. Every product has bugs (unfortunately), but I find it refreshing that Liferay's open source approach and consistency in architecture means I can understand what's going on without much difficulty. Try that with Websphere or sharepoint. ugh!
  • Thanks to all

    I really wondered whether a good news interview like this could draw talkbacks and readers. Glad to see it did. Even the critics brought something to the party. So thanks.
  • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

    My personal experience with Liferay is pretty mixed. In my opinion, Liferay tries to be a lot of different thinks and does not succeed in every one of them.

    The strength of Liferay lies in it's feature set as a company portal or CMS. It provides most of the portlets you'll ever need (message boards, blogs, etc.), a permission system and a beautiful user interface. If you use all these features, you'll gain a lot from using Liferay. If you plan to use Liferay only as a portlet container to run your own portlets, Liferay does not stand out against the alternatives.

    Additionally, Liferay is a web application framework, thats meant to make development of custom portlets easier, and in this regard Liferay fails miserably. I can see that generating all classes to access a database table from only one config file might have gained you some time some years ago, where you had to use multiple XML configuration files for Spring and Hibernate, but since these can work with JPA annotated POJOs now, working with Liferay's service builder is actually *more* work than the natural Spring/Hibernate way - plus you lose all flexibility provided by these. Here are some disadvantages of using Liferay's service builders:

    * Mass updates are not supported and virtually impossible ("UPDATE X WHERE ...")
    * The generated classes are overdesigned. For each table, Liferay creates about 20 files and classes and you have to be very careful about which one to use or change.
    * The generated classes are used by calling static methods, which is very intrusive. If you want to write unit tests for your client code, you'd either need to stub all these methods or manually encapsulate them with wrapper classes which renders the idea of generating the services ad absurdum.
    * Although Liferay uses Hibernate, you can't use many of the advanced features like entity inheritance.
    * No foreign key constraints. Referential integrity is not enforced by the database which may lead to data loss.
    * Some of the generated methods have over 20 parameters und use names like findByC_G_A_V_T_D_C_T_S_T_D_A_E_R.

    Regarding the source code, you should in no way expect the quality of other open source projects like Hibernate or Spring - it is rather comparable to any closed source project I ever worked with. Liferay seems to never have been able to leverage the community feedback to improve their quality and seem to have more of an "closed source mindset" anyways. The community is free to examine the source code and create bug reports, but Liferay does not provide them with the bug fixes - these are reserved for the enterprise edition (until the next major release).

    Additionally, the authors have very different views of how to do things. Although they use Spring, you wouldn't notice because there are static method calls everywhere. There are very little unit tests because "they dont make sense alot of times". Logging is done very inconsequently - often, you have no chance to access the original exception except by connecting a debugger.

    To summarize: Liferay can be used to great advantage if you use many of it's features, but do not use it's service builder in your own portlets or make your code depend heavily on Liferay code. Be prepared to pay for the enterprise edition, because the community edition has beta character.

    Jens G?ring
  • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

  • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

    We believe that Liferay portal is a Great platform
  • RE: Is the success of Liferay worth reading about

    We have been using Liferay,I think there are several reasons why we choose Liferay as the Enterprise Strategy

    1. More Reliable

    Liferay is maintained and contribute by the technology genius worldwide, easily maintained and updated with the contributors and community support, and you can also participate in maintenance; As huge amount of liferay users globally, so the bug exists generally will be discover and repair immediately, to make the Liferay quality is more reliable.

    2. More Resilient

    Liferay has been widely used in all kinds of small and medium enterprise, so no matter what type of your organization are all safe and easily to use. It not only save your money, but help you grow the business and company.

    3. More Transparent

    Liferay is promoting by the community, good transparency, bug finding, presented the new features in an open forum, you can always get the latest information, you can also get involved, Liferay Portal will evolve based on user demand, not limited by the will of a company, so you can see the future of Liferay development planning and direction, its transparency is much higher than other products.

    Anyway, you are in the choice of products, but I can surely say that Liferay should be considered as a viable and reliable option if you want to grow your business.