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New Features in Liferay Portal v5.1

This article describes the most significant new features in Liferay v5.1. For instructions on how to upgrade from previous versions check Upgrade Instructions from 5.0 to 5.1

Higlighted New Features #

New default Look & Feel #

The default Look & Feel has been considerably revamped and greatly improved. Not only it looks much nicer but it also behaves much more smoothly (this is in part thanks to the use of jQuery UI as mentioned below). See the results for yourself:

Also certain UIs components, such as the tree of pages, have been improved to load faster and be more responsive.

Scheduled Staging and Remote Staging #

Liferay’s staging features first available in 4.4 / 5.0 have been further enhanced with the addition of scheduling and remote publishing capability. Users can select subsets of pages and data to transfer to the live site, which can now be a separate, remote Liferay instance.

The publishing process is more efficient, taking differences into account rather than uploading the whole data set in bulk. Transactional security has also been introduced, as well as the ability to revert a set of pages to a specified date.

Finally, pushes of data can now be scheduled in advance and directed at multiple remote Liferay instances.

Share Any Liferay Application through Facebook or any Website #

Since Liferay 5.1 it's possible to share any portlet deployed in Liferay as a Facebook application or through any website that you own or allows you to edit its HTML. The Facebook integration can be done either through FBML or iFrame. The taglibs provided by Liferay to developers have been adapted to automatically produce FBML if the application is accessed through Facebook. Visit Liferay's community forum and click «Add to Facebook» to see this feature in action.

It's also possible to use a Liferay application in any website, including those built with static HTML pages. Just copy & paste the HTML code provided:

Social Networking and World of Liferay #

A developer's social network in a single plugin. It showcases how to build a social netwok by leveraging the Social Networking services provided by Liferay. Some of the portlets included in World of Liferay (WOL for short) are:

  • Profile Summary: Show the picture and presentation of the user along with a summary of the participation of the user in the blogs and forums.
  • Activity Tracker: Show the activity of a user in any of the following tools: Liferay Blogs, Liferay Message Boards, Liferay Wiki, Liferay Wall, Atlassian JIRA, SVN / Sourceforge (Code repository).
    • In addition, the Activity Tracker API makes it easy to integrate third party portlets / applications with minimal effort.
  • Friend List with ability to invite friends and respond to friend invitations
  • Facebook-style Wall for leaving messages to users
  • User Location Map: automatically geolocates the user based on his IP address and show his location and that of his friends.

Other significant improvements #

Better Announcements and Alerts #

The Announcements portlet has been enhanced and a new Alerts portlet has been added. These portlets can be used to broadcast messages to users by Community, Organization, Role, and User Group (also directly to individual users if using the API). As such, they may be simple announcements or "newsletter"-like in purpose. They may also be used for individual warnings and notifications and any Announcement can be scheduled for later delivery. Additional Alert and Announcement types can be configured by the portal system administrator, and the each type can easily be styled according to its purpose.

Users also have control over how to receive their alerts; in addition to the standard portal-based web alert that all users receive, they can optionally choose also to receive notifications via SMS or Email individually for each type.

See Ray Auge’s blog entry for more information: http://www.liferay.com/web/rauge/blog/-/blogs/announcements-and-alerts

MediaWiki importer and several new features in Liferay's wiki #

After the full revamp in Liferay 5.0, Liferay's wiki has taken another big step forward by adding the following new features:

  • Support for changing the parent of a page
  • Support for adding a summary of the changes made when editing an article
  • Better look of the preformatted areas
  • Performance improvements and a new cache system
  • Support for changing the order of wiki nodes or hiding some of them
  • Show actions menu in the list of pages for easier access to common operations.

Furthermore it now comes with a MediaWiki importer that allows importing all the pages and images of an existing wiki into Liferay with very little effort. The import process takes care of the conversion of wiki formats, converting categories to tags, etc. If you want to import from a different wiki, we've designed the importers architecture so that it's super easy to build your own importers. Look at portal.properties for details.

Much more flexible personal page default configuration #

In Liferay 5.1 it's possible to apply different personal page configurations to different types of users. Furthermore, such configurations can be applied dynamically during the life of the portal. Read How to use User Group Page Templates for details

New Web 2.0 Mail portlet #

The mail portlet has been fully revamped for 5.1, with performance and scalability enhancements, a more elegant user interface, and support for multiple accounts.

New Presence service and Web 2.0 Chat portlet #

Facebook-style chat portlet to see which friends are online and chat with them.

This portlet is provided as a plugin and can be tested out in liferay.com.

Groupwise Integration #

Liferay has made the recently open-sourced Novell Groupwise portlets compatible with and available for Liferay Portal.

Improvements to existing tools #

  • Blogs:
    • Support for Trackback URLs
    • Automatic saving of drafts to avoid losing those great posts if the browser dies.
  • Configurable Social Bookmarking: several tools show links to add the current page to several social bookmarking sites. The list is now fully configurable through the portal.properties configuration file.
  • Increased number of scripting languages to develop portlets: now there is support for PHP, Ruby, Groovy, Python and Javascript. Read this for more details.

Technological Improvements #

  • Roles-Based Access Control: An alternative permissions system is now available as option to those looking for a more simplified approach to authorization. The new system is centered around roles definitions: permissions are assigned to a role, which can then be assigned to a Liferay User, Group, Organization or Community. Besides simplifying the permissioning interface, the new system provides increased performance and scalability. The old system can be swapped in and out easily for backwards compatibility.
  • Upgrade to jQuery 1.2 and adoption of Jquery UI 1.5: This a very important milestone for all JavaScript developers. It will offer all the features offered by these two amazing JavaScript libraries out of the box. Of course other libraries such as Dojo or YUI can also be used at will. Several components and effects that were previously custom built by Liferay have been replaced by the jQuery UI counterpart. A significant one is the portlet Drag & Drop which is now much more responsive an offers better visual help of the drop zones.
  • Sun Portlet Container: Full integration with Sun’s portlet container is offered.
  • Scheduling Engine Upgrade: In 5.1, the internal scheduling engine was changed into an SOA service.
  • Search Engine Upgrade: SOLR has been added as a search engine option. SOLR is an Apache open source search server based on Lucene but with a more advanced feature set. Please see http://lucene.apache.org/solr/.
  • Asynchronous Messaging and Light Weight Message Bus: Portlets can now communicate using an internal Liferay message bus without having to use a full-blown ESB.
  • Hook Plugins: This is the newest and yet more powerful type of plugin that comes to complement portlets, themes, layout templates and web modules. Through hooks it's possible to change certain configuration properties dynamically and inject behavior into the hooks defined in portal.properties. For example it can be used to add ServicePreAction or ServicePostAction, listeners, etc. See the source of the WOL plugin for a very good example of a hook plugin that is combined with a portlet plugin.
  • Extracted out secondary core portlets as plugins:
  • More API available to plugin developers:
  • Re-written DynamicQuery API: The new API is accessible from plugins and implements the most widely used portions of the Hibernate Criteria Query API. The usage is more straight forward, clean and classloader friendly.
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Threaded Replies Author Date
yay for chat! Levi Beach July 23, 2008 6:06 AM
looking forward the new feature and improvement... hunter Hu July 23, 2008 7:15 AM
Nice to see the new features .... good news! Jonas Yuan July 23, 2008 11:04 AM
good job! Andrea denaro July 24, 2008 4:04 AM
>> Roles-Based Access Control (...) >> The old... Thomas Kellerer July 25, 2008 6:57 AM
I llok for documentation for that issue too, I... Carlos Rincon Rincon August 1, 2008 12:00 PM
Documentation is lack, is too outdate, I need... Carlos Rincon Rincon August 1, 2008 12:05 PM
And I amlooking for the new chat portlet but... Thibault Schalck August 11, 2008 12:08 PM
Hi. I've installed the 5.1 bundled with... Matthew McArdell August 13, 2008 4:27 AM
The wol, chat and mail portlets are delivered... Jorge Ferrer August 27, 2008 1:49 AM
Sorry Jorge, I think you made a mistake because... Thibault Schalck September 4, 2008 11:08 AM
Awesome! A crystal clear summary to rookies,... Shepherd Ching August 28, 2008 8:59 AM
yep, Awesome! in god we trust! Nguyen Do Binh September 2, 2008 7:10 PM
Jorge, how do you configure this chat?, how do... Nicolle Smith November 13, 2008 12:26 PM

yay for chat!
Posted on 7/23/08 6:06 AM.
looking forward the new feature and improvement , try it !
Posted on 7/23/08 7:15 AM in reply to Levi Matthias Beach.
Nice to see the new features .... good news!
Posted on 7/23/08 11:04 AM.
Posted on 7/24/08 4:04 AM.
>> Roles-Based Access Control (...)
>> The old system can be swapped in and out easily for backwards compatibility.

Where is the documentation for this???
Posted on 7/25/08 6:57 AM.
I llok for documentation for that issue too, I very appreciate anyone can tell me where can I get the documentation. The official documentation is too outdate...
Posted on 8/1/08 12:00 PM in reply to Thomas Kellerer.
Documentation is lack, is too outdate, I need documentation about the new release, specially about the new permissions system, anyone can help?
Posted on 8/1/08 12:05 PM.
And I amlooking for the new chat portlet but cannot find it in Liferay 5.1 !! Where is it ?
Posted on 8/11/08 12:08 PM in reply to Carlos Rincon Rincon.
Hi. I've installed the 5.1 bundled with Glassfish, but can't find any mail or chat portlets to add to pages. I recall them being in RC versions I've previously downloaded.
How do I get them? Also the reference to "World of Liferay" I take to be the collection of portlets in the dev area of this site...the article seems to suggest we can just use this "network in a portlet" - how do I obtain this package? Thanks.
Posted on 8/13/08 4:27 AM.
The wol, chat and mail portlets are delivered as plugins and can be installed through the Plugin Installer portlet or by downloading them manually from Sourceforge: http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=49260&package_id=243192
Posted on 8/27/08 1:49 AM.
A crystal clear summary to rookies, experienced developers, marketing sales ... to everyone.
Posted on 8/28/08 8:59 AM.
yep, Awesome!
in god we trust!
Posted on 9/2/08 7:10 PM in reply to Shepherd Ching.
Sorry Jorge, I think you made a mistake because WOL is not available at http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=49260&package_id=243192
We may be able to see the svn sources but not the war file.
Posted on 9/4/08 11:08 AM in reply to Jorge Ferrer.
Jorge, how do you configure this chat?, how do you add contacts? Does exist a documentation about this?
Posted on 11/13/08 12:26 PM.