Today Liferay released the next CE release of its flagship social collaboration product: Social Office 2.0 CE! [Download from the Liferay Marketplace] [Documentation]
Liferay Social Office is a social collaboration solution for the enterprise that streamlines communication, saves time, builds group cohesion and raises productivity. It is built on Liferay Portal, and shares much of its functionality, but also adds additional functionality for social networking and department-level collaboration.
The Social Office team, in conjunction with its awesome community of users and developers, have spent many months getting this release ready, and I'd like to describe some of the details about new features and additions to the product.
Social Office 2.0 CE is now available in the newly opened Liferay Marketplace. It can be easily added onto your existing Liferay Portal installation (starting with Liferay Portal 6.1 CE GA2). Simply navigate to Control Panel, click on the Store tab (under the Marketplace section of Control Panel), and you will see Social Office 2.0 as a Featured App. Alternatively, you can download it through the Marketplace's web store at liferay.com/marketplace.
New and Improved Features
Social Office 2.0 is a major revamp, and includes many features for social collaboration. Here are a few of the highlights, but I highly recommend you check it out for yourself!
Unlike previous versions of Social Office, Social Office 2.0 is available as an application that can be installed on Liferay Portal 6.1. Liferay applications, or apps, are packages of Liferay plugins that are grouped together with descriptions, version information, and other metadata. Social Office 2.0 is one of those applications. They're available from Liferay Marketplace. Prior to version 2.0, Social Office was provided as an independent product that was based on, but separate from, Liferay Portal. Read the Social Office Documentation for more details on getting started with Social Office 2.0.
Social Office fully integrates with Liferay's Dockbar, providing easy to access links to common functions and a notification area to quickly see what's important to you. Users are alerted to new notifications or requests, providing a quick means of responding to the notification.
Your profile page represents you to other users. It provides details about you, including your name and picture, descriptions that you provide, links to your presence on SO and other social sites, status updates, site memberships, a summary of connections, and other pertinent personal information about you. it has had a major revamp in 2.0.
Your dashboard shows you a collection of information pertinent to you, such as upcoming tasks and events, your status updates (and the ability to enter new ones), related activities, and allows you to manage your contacts and private messages. The Dashboard is easily reachable from the Dockbar.
New to Social Office 2.0, the Contacts Center is a key enhancement that makes finding, following, and tracking your contacts much easier. You can add other contacts as connections or simply follow them, to receive updates when activities occur. You can also do things like send private messages, or even block them.
The Events Center integrates with Liferay's out-of-the-box Calendar functionality, giving you a birds-eye view of upcoming events that you are involved with.
Followers and Connections
You can now connect to other users as a two-way relationship (friending), or simply follow users to receive updates on their activities through the newly revamped Activities Stream.
Social Office 2.0's new Activity Stream integrates with all facets of Social Office, showing you activities from your contacts and followers. You can also filter activities to only display those from connections, those you are following, activities on sites you are a member of, or your own activities.
Another key feature and highly requested improvement is the ability to publish content to your very own microblog, targeting subsets of your contacts, or broadcast to the entire site.
Hashtags, Mentions, and Autocompletion
When sending messages or updating your status, you can use #hashtags to give context to your post, and you can @Mention other users, providing an easy link to their profile and giving them notice that you are talking about (or to!) them. When using mentions, Social Office dynamically provides autocompletion for contact names, so you can quickly find the person you want to mention.
Another highly requested feature, Social Office allows users to send Private Messages (PMs) to other users. Messages are email-like and you can also attach content to the message, and include multiple people in a private conversation.
When on a Social Office site, your notifications are displayed in the Dockbar, giving you quick access to important information or activity to which you need to respond. Clicking on the Notifications dialog shows you all of your unread or pending notifications, and can be cleared as needed.
Social Office adds extra collaborative tools to Liferay and allows you to quickly set up sites designed to facilitate collaboration. Each site is template-based and designed to provide a single group or team with a virtual shared workspace. Members of your organization who belong to multiple groups or teams in your organization can belong to multiple Social Office sites on the portal.
Social Office also features a Task Management System, allowing you and your team to track tasks to completion. Tasks can be filtered by tag or site, and expected task attributes like due date, assignee, percent completed, are present.
Social Office features a new flexible theme. You can toggle between a fixed and fluid theme layout where fluid layouts conform to fit the width of the screen, giving you extra real estate to manage your site.
Integration with Liferay Portal
Build on the award-winning Liferay Portal, Social Office users and sites can also use Liferay's built-in document management, blog, wiki, forum, chat, and custom plugins typically used with Liferay.
Integration with Liferay Sync
transforms the Liferay platform into a central, easy-to-use document sharing service. Combining Sync + Social Office allows your teams to access Social Office documents from desktop and mobile platforms. The Community Edition
of Sync is limited to one Social Office site. If you need to sync multiple sites, get the Enterprise Edition
The Liferay Documentation Team has been hard at work updating all of the documentation for the new release, and the new "Working Smarter With Social Office" is ready!
As always, the project continues to use the Social Office JIRA site to report and manage bug and improvement tickets. If you believe you have encountered a bug in the new release (shocking, I know), please be cognizant of the bug reporting standards and report your issue on issues.liferay.com, selecting the SOS project and the "2.0.0" release as the value for the "Affects Version/s" field.
Support for Social Office 2.0 CE comes from the wonderful and active community, from which Liferay itself was nurtured into the enterprise offering it is today. Please visit the community pages to find out more about the myriad avenues through which you can get your questions answered. For Enterprise customers, Liferay also offers Social Office 2.0 EE, which is due to be released shortly after this CE release.
Of course we in the Liferay Community are interested in your take on the new features and improvements in Social Office 2.0. If you are interested in learning more about how you can get involved, visit the Liferay Community pages and dig in. Also, check out the Social Office Project page for even more SO-specific information.