What's New In Liferay Digital Experience Platform (DXP)?
2016 was a significant year for the Liferay platform. New version no. 7 called Liferay Digital Experience Platform was issued, aiming to support the current trend of creating customer-oriented systems.
The fundamental technological pillar is the use of Open Services Gateway initiative (OSGi) - standard for Liferay modularization core. Such greater modularity brings several advantages for the Liferay platform operators. One of the most important advantages is the easier change of the Liferay default behaviour.
Changing the default behaviour previously required a complicated set up, so called EXT (extension). While now it is possible to set it up through a simpler 'bundle', which covers only a specific part of the functionality.
Modularity also enables to monitor and resolve dependencies between different modules. They can be added and removed from the system on the fly, and turning off modules that are not in use can improve the performance of the entire solution and reduce the hardware requirements.
OSGi generally provides an opportunity to more flexibly respond to business needs, which can allow for shorter development cycles and deploying changes in smaller bits.
Liferay hasn't only come up with technical upgrades. There is also a number of improvements both for DXP users and DXP administrators:
- A significant shift is in the appearance of administration, and its applicability. Many bugs have been removed in the CMS usability. Thanks to this customers are easier to use Liferay.
- The updated Liferay uses Bootstrap 3 framework that eliminates many bugs from the previous version 2 and provides more options for easier work with the grid as well as adapting the content to different devices.
- The redesigned WYSIWYG is a true leap forward in the usability. The editor feature is simplified, provides basic (but sufficient) options for HTML code styling, generated by the Liferay platform, and it is not messy because of any inline CSS styles used. Preparation of the content is much easier. Administrators will also appreciate the option to spread the editor to the whole page view, upload images using Drag & Drop, including cropping images.
- Another new option is to create templates for configuring portlets. This can save administrators time with repetitive portlets adjusting. If used correctly, such templates can be also managed by less experienced web administrators.
- Another new functionality are user-configurable forms that can be used to gather information. We can define multi-step forms, set up own validation, conditional field hiding, etc.
- Furthermore, Liferay DXP provides enhanced content targeting, allowing collecting user information data from multiple channels. This can help divide users into segments, and not only target them through the web content. This data is then used for sending newsletters.
- Thanks to using senna.js framework retrieving web content is asynchronous and thus only necessary data is downloaded. Sites then behave during the transition between pages as SPA (Single Page Application), which results in much faster loading.
- Another new thing is ADT support for other pre-prepared portlets.
- Intranet and platforms have been enriched by several interesting portlets for cooperation among users and for information sharing. For example, 'Quick Messaging' for short messages stream location among users, and 'Invite Member' to invite users into workgroups or 'Contact Center' to manage and share contacts.
By launching Liferay DXP, Liferay strengthens its position as a leader among portal solutions. Using OSGi will certainly give some hard time to quite a few developers, but it is only a matter of time and experience to learn how to correctly adjust the development processes and deliver modulary written solutions. An essential advantage for operators is cost reduction for further maintenance and other Liferay upgrades.
Those who will appreciate the new Liferay CMS most are administrators. They will be pleased by much better interface for content management. The speed of the editing intervention into the contents is now smoother and faster, and can be managed even by less experienced users. However, it must be noted that even in this area can be found a few weak links, which will hopefully be addressed in the next update of the Liferay platform.