The Learning Curve, Chapter 3 - Documentation (sic!)
General Blogs July 28, 2014 By Olaf Kock Staff
Are you new to Liferay? Found Liferay and want to know what it can do for you? Or are you with Liferay and still remember the time when you were new and unexperienced? Where did you come from and what was the biggest problem you faced? Can you ever learn enough? And how do you keep up with the current trends and new features?
A platform as big as Liferay spans several technologies and areas of best practices that are beneficial to know of. Nobody can know everything - there's always a learning curve. At the beginning, it's quite steep. Some argue that it's flattening the more you know. Some argue that it gets steeper: The more you know, the more you know what you don't know.
I'd like to give you pointers to resources that are available to you, in order to learn about Liferay, resources that help you avoid steep detours, when there are flatter direct connections. This is meant to be (eventually) comprehensive but I'm sure that it will never be complete. It's just what I remember while I write this article and the follow ups (yes, there are more, already drafted)
Today's Target Audience: All (unless more specifically indicated in the individual paragraphs below)
There's a good argument that this chapter should have been the first. However, just saying "RTFM" is guaranteed to give the least amount of attention possible. So I postponed the obvious until chapter 5. Is it really obvious? Let's check.
Have you ever read Liferay's User Guide? Whatever you answer, my prediction is that you don't know what's in there today - if only because it's constantly updated. As a regular user of Liferay, no matter what your role is, you probably need to know several of the chapters outlined in that guide. It's covering anything from Content- and User-Management, Installation, Dealing with Plugins etc.
It's worth checking it out, even if you have some experience developing with Liferay. After all: When you know about a feature being available in Liferay, you can just use it instead of implementing it yourself. Every built in feature that you use, you don't have to write & maintain yourself. Remember that story from chapter 1 - the training participants that only took Mastering Liferay fundamentals training years after their project started? Same reasons here.
Next to the User Guide you'll find the Developer Guide. Similar to the User Guide, this document is a living one and gets updated from time to time. If you have read it already, you might want to check back if it has been extended since that time. Even if you believe that you should know it by now: There are many gems that you might have missed the first time you read it. (I am constantly learning new tricks in Liferay, especially when going through well known material again)
I'll have to admit, it's been a while since I last read books about Liferay. Among the ones that I read, there were some that I liked and some that didn't really match my expectations... As it's been a while (a few versions ago), only one recommendation is left: Liferay in Action, though based on version 6.0, still contains very relevant content.
Sorry to not be able to point you to new books. If you want to recommend in the comments, please do so. Also indicate any relationship to the author or why you particularly liked the book - please don't just mention that there is a book.
I'd like to mention our Wiki here. For one, you might find it as search results in case you're looking for information. It has quite good information, but you'll have to be aware that it's sometimes severely outdated. Double check the history of the articles: If it hasn't been touched for a few years or mentions Liferay versions 4.x, use it with a grain of salt - more to this in a later chapter about community resources.
Stay tuned for Chapter 4 - Next week: Well hidden documentation (for developers), covering documentation that is available, but arguably harder to find than clicking on the "Documentation" link or searching for "Liferay" on Amazon.
Call For Feedback and Suggestions
For chapter 5 or 6 I'm planning to cover Community Resources. You might have your favorite go-to place that I haven't found yet. If you want to make sure that your favourite resource gets mentioned: Give me a hint.