Liferay DXP Interview: How Developers Can Use the New Platform

In this interview, Veriday COO, Chris Lamoureux, sits down with Delivery Lead, Sam Hyland, to discuss Liferay DXP compared to previous Liferay platforms, and how it affects developers working with the platform. This is Part 2 of our ongoing series of interviews about Liferay DXP. For an overview of the new platform, check out Part 1 of the series.

Chris Lamoureux: How are you doing this morning, Sam?

Sam Hyland: Good, good! How are you, Chris?

Chris: Very good, very good. We’re here to talk about Liferay DXP, which has been on the  marketplace for about half a year now. At Veriday, we have been using it since it rolled out and more and more you have been out working with clients who are thinking about upgrading to DXP.  Who are thinking about how to actually develop on it. What are your first thoughts on the DXP platform?

Sam: Well, first I think the platform has certainly evolved. Liferay is referring to DXP as an “experience platform”. The experience for users (the front end and the interface) is certainly a lot more advanced than it was in Liferay 6.2. It’s bringing it into the modern era. A lot of the other changes are in the back-end, in the development frameworks available, which is what we’re here to talk about today.

The big, big change in the back-end is the move to  very modular development. So, you’re building small components that are discreet, easy to manage and upgrade. I’m hearing a lot of excitement about the modulation of DXP. Even though the previous portal architecture supported somewhat of a modular approach (you could deploy portlets individually) there were some challenges with that approach.

A lot of clients had developed large applications, with a lot of different portlets in them, to work through that. In the end, a single change involved re-deploying their entire application. It involved doing a full regression test against that application because they didn’t have the confidence that their change was isolated. That it would only affect one part of the application. This made the cost of a change quite high. Clients are excited about the new OSGI modular approach because it allows them to separate components while still allowing for all the flexibility needed for communication between the components. Deploying components with that modular framework means that developers can ensure their changes are isolated, enabling more rapid change.

Chris: Very interesting. Historically, Liferay was always thought of as the lightweight portal, does this imply that Liferay is getting even lighter relative to competitors in the marketplace?

Sam: In some ways it does, because each of these modules can be turned on and off individually. This means you can deploy your individual modules but you can also look to the Liferay components. If there are certain modules there that you don’t need, you can turn them off and disable features that aren’t relevant to you.

Chris: So I’ve heard a lot about OSGI, and I’m trying to get my head around it. Tell us a little bit about what the change to OSGI is all about. What’s the impact to the developers using the Liferay platform?

Sam: OSGI itself isn’t anything new. It’s been around for many years now. If your application developers or Java application developers use Eclipse, or any products built on top of Eclipse, they will have seen OSGI before.

Eclipse uses OSGI behind the scenes. It’s a proven platform that’s been around for a long time and it’s a specification that, at it’s simplest, is a Java jar. If you’re familiar with Java development you’re familiar with the concept of a jar, which people traditionally use for libraries. If you deploy a library, that’s a jar. It gets out there and it makes certain classes available. OSGI now adds some extra information to the manifest file inside the jar that declares capabilities this jar has to make available. So you deploy a jar to the OSGI container, the manifest file exposes certain requirements and capabilities, which are then available to other OSGIs that are there.

So, for example if you deploy an OSGI jar with your user service, for looking up users. It might say, “I have this capability that I know about all the users on the Liferay platform”. Then your application with the OSGI module says, “I need to know about the users.I have this requirement. I require this capability”. The OSGI container takes care of wiring everything together, looking up all the references and pulls everything together. It says “Liferay, you have this user service, you can provide this capability. Application, you need this capability, we are going to connect the two of you together.”

In some ways, it’s not that different from the EJBs. It’s the same sort of idea. It’s just a newer take on it that is working very well. It has been used by Eclipse for ages. Liferay is using their new foundation and it’s being adopted by other vendors throughout the marketplace.

Chris: So Liferay is keeping pace in that area?  

Sam: Oh Definitely!

Chris: What are the other areas of Liferay DXP, from an application development standpoint, that you would mention specifically to an existing developer thinking about how to do something differently in DXP?

Sam: So the first thing I’ll point out is that if you’re used to building and deploying portlets, you’ll still be doing that in Liferay DXP. There is actually a compatibility layer that allows you to continue to build and deploy portlets the old way if you have an existing portlet that would better suit your needs.

If you’re looking at this OSGI stuff and think “this modular deployment, this lifecycle works for me and our development team, we want to build portlets using OSGI” you can do that as well. The biggest difference that developers will notice when building portlets in OSGI is that you no longer define the portlets inside .xml files.

Traditionally, when you build a portlet there would be a series of .xml files with most of the configuration in them. There would be a “porlet.xml” which would have things like your portlet name in it. If you were using portlet communication you would have some of the settings for that. There would also be a “Liferay-portlet.xml” that would define any additional capabilities for your portlet. When you’re building an OSGI, all of those are using Java annotations. So, you’d create your portlet class, put an @ at the top of your class and you would put all your properties at the front.

I personally am a big fan of annotations. It’s easier to look at. You’re looking at your portlet class; all your properties are there in one place. Everything is ready for you to go.

Chris: So, if you’re a new developer and you’re not experienced with Liferay 6.2, what are you thinking about as you start to use DXP?

Sam: As you get in and start using Liferay DXP, like everything else, there’s going to be a learning curve. You’re going to start small and look at, “how are we going to build our applications on Liferay?”. If you have built web applications before, you’ve probably used an MVC framework, and so the model, the view, the controller. Liferay supports that approach.

You’re going to build your view as a portlet. You’ll have to do a little bit of reading on what the portlet specification is and what a Java portlet is. It’s going to take you an hour or so and you’re going to have a “hello world” portlet up and running that’s going to spit out a view for you.

Then you’re going to say, “well we can display some information. We can have a simple form. We’re interacting with that form.” You’re probably using a JSP (if you’re a Java developer you’re probably used to JSPs) for your view. Then you’ll want to interact with a service.  Now you have to interact with something.

This is where you’re really going to start building multiple OSGI modules. You’ll have one OSGI module that’s your view, then you can start building your service. The first thing you’re going to do when building a service is define an API for it. Your API itself is another module. It’s going to be one Java class, It’s going to be the interface into your service. You’re going to deploy that as a module and make it available to your view.

Then you’ll have to write the implementation for that service (another OSGI module). That’s going to start talking to your database. It’s going to start storing and retrieving data and making it available to you.

As you go deeper into Liferay, you may find that you’re using it for integration. It’s an excellent platform for integration. You might be calling out to third party services. You may also want to store your data within Liferay.

After you reach that level of expertise you might look at some of the tooling available in Liferay. It has a service builder, essentially a code generation tool. You would define your model. You would define all the data fields needed. You would define any descriptions or associations within an .xml file. Liferay has a code generation tool, so you would run a command and it would generate all the classes for your service using all the OSGI modules needed for your database.

Chris: So, Liferay has a “sweet spot” within the marketplace. Historically, they’ve had nice growth but with DXP where is that “sweet spot”? Is it the same as what it was in 6.2? For you, as an application developer, in what situations would you use this is a product to solve client problems?

Sam: I think it continues to solve all the problems it solved in Liferay 6.2. It works as an integration platform on the front end. It can serve as your system of engagement (system of record). I think in DXP it does a better job of that because of some of the front-end pieces, which we won’t discuss in detail today. It has a much richer interface. It’s more modern. It has all the Ajax pieces to wire everything together. It’s a single page application. So, instead of refreshing the entire page every time you click, it only refreshes the data that’s changing, making it a lot faster and smoother for your end user.

Liferay DXP also has some very strong mobile libraries and toolkits available, allowing you to turn the web application you built out into a mobile application. Everything in Liferay is responsive, condensing down nicely on your phone. Liferay has a “Liferay Screens” feature that turns your application into a mobile application. It makes spruces available on mobile, it has a mobile SDK. You can use that or you can use some of the Liferay built-in pieces to build a kiosk application. Maybe you’re in retail and you’ve got kiosks available for your customers to interact with. So, now you’re not just engaging on the web, you’re engaging on phones, kiosks, etc.

Chris: Which is where the marketplace is going… going, gone.  

Sam: Exactly!

Chris: So, Sam it sounds to me like Liferay has continued to raise the bar when it comes to its ability to increase YOUR productivity as an application development at a material level, which is ultimately what customers want. They want to get better, faster, cheaper. Give us your observations so far on your usage of DXP and your productivity?

Sam: I would say it has gone a long way in improving productivity. Liferay before – the preferred way to develop on it was using Liferay’s SDK. So, you had to learn their toolkit if you wanted to work with Liferay. You could stray beyond Liferay’s libraries but there was always a gentle nudge saying “this is the Liferay way to do it. Let’s do it the Liferay way”.

What DXP has done is become more platform agnostic. So, if you like using Grails for your build, that’s well supported. If you like using Maven or Ant, you can do that as well. You’re no longer pushed towards using Liferay’s toolkit. The same thing goes for the front-end and the middle tier. As you’re building out your application, if you have a Javascript framework that you love, it can be used with Liferay with a lot less of the conflicts that you would have seen historically working with Liferay. A lot of the challenges that were there in Liferay 6.2, when working with, and bringing in new toolkits, have been removed thanks to the added modularity in DXP.

Chris: So, it sounds like Liferay has come out with a great product!

Sam: I would fully agree!

Chris: Well, thank you very much for your time, Sam.

Sam: Thank you, Chris!


That ends our interview with Sam Hyland, Service Delivery Lead at Veriday. We touched on many points related to the new Liferay DXP. We discussed OSGI technologies, the modularity of the new Liferay platform, various features of the new platform from a back-end perspective and how Liferay will affect developers working on the platform.

Stay tuned for more interviews about Liferay DXP, the new digital experience platform brought to you by Liferay.

If you have any questions or comments about this discussion, please let us know on twitter @VeridayHQ or #LiferayDXP

Liferay DXP vs. Liferay 6.2 : Interview with VP of Solutions, Nick Quach

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In this exclusive interview, Nick Quach, VP of Solutions at Veriday and resident Liferay expert, sits down with Veriday CEO, Marc Lamoureux, to discuss Liferay DXP (Digital Experience Platform), the latest and greatest Liferay platform. In this discussion, we will hear about what’s new and innovative, what changes you’ll see from the previous versions, what new business challenges it can solve and when an organization might choose to migrate over.

Nick has extensive experience using and implementing the Liferay platforms, including Liferay DXP, for a wide range of solutions, clients, and industries.


Marc: It’s Marc Lamoureux and Nick Quach from Veriday. We’re here to talk about Liferay DXP (Digital Experience Platform). To start off this discussion, I thought I’d ask you, in your experience, what kind of customers traditionally would be using Liferay?

Nick: I think one of the strengths of Liferay, even before DXP was introduced, is the fact that they have always prided themselves on providing a platform versus providing a product. What that allows the end customer to do is to use that platform to deliver their requirements in however many ways they need.

So, whether an organization is using it for a corporate intranet (which is probably one of the most prolific use cases for the platform out there), using it to build simple web sites, or using it to engage their customers. Whether it’s a B2B or an e-commerce type engagement, Liferay has them covered.

I think for us the diversity of the Liferay client base is probably what’s most compelling and what’s most telling about the actual platform itself.

The distribution of what we actually see clients using Liferay platforms for is quite broad compared to what we would see in the more traditional web content management system like WordPress, that are only used in situations where someone is looking to build websites. You see Liferay being deployed in a much more diverse manner.

Marc: Interesting; so traditionally Liferay has described itself as a “portal platform”, but now they’ve rebranded the product to the platform “DXP” (Digital Experience Platform). Talk to us a little bit about why they made that change and what do you think is behind the positioning of a product from portal to digital experience?

Nick: Liferay itself has always been a platform, however it was called Liferay portal because the problems that we were trying to solve 10 years ago dictated what most of the organizations were using Liferay for. A lot of the organizations that were interested in portal technologies already had a dispersed set of software in-house with information separated into different subsystems. These organizations were looking for a technology that would allow them to consolidate the data into a single touch point with the benefit of providing a more seamless customer experience, which is where the term “portal” came from.

The use case was to provide a more seamless customer experience, to provide a one-stop shop for their clients, allowing them to access everything they needed in one place. The portal was typically viewed as a system engaged with a touch point in which an organization could interact and communicate with their client.

Five years ago it was really about collaboration and aggregation, it was really about getting people onto a platform that allowed them to communicate. But the world has changed and what we’re seeing today is not so much a fundamental shift in the way people are viewing technology but the way in which people want to consume technology. I think that’s what’s really driving Liferay and the platform and where we see the marketing of the platform heading.

Before, portals used to solve the problem of “I have a lot of data and I need to be able to consolidate that data in a single touch point” but now it’s more about “I have a lot of data but I want to be able to engage with my client in whatever fashion they choose to be engaged”. It’s no longer about just aggregating the data but also using it to engage the customer. Your system is now part of a greater ecosystem of engagement, providing consistency between interactions with clients.

Marc: Let’s say I’m currently using Liferay to engage with customers. When I see that Liferay released the DXP platform, what would you want to convey to me about new tools, or features that provide better opportunities for engagement and improvement in customer experience?

Nick: Well, I think it would be naive of me to of sit here and list all the new features feature-by-feature that Liferay DXP offers but I would tell them that if you’re already using Liferay, the engagement model doesn’t need to change. What I would challenge them to do is to think about how you could extend your engagement model.

My main point in an explanation to a customer would be to consider your engagement model and think about how you could increase the number and quality of touch points in which you interact with the client.

So, for example, if you’re in a B2B context, there are a lot of different channels in which an  organization can interact with their business clients and so regardless of the channel, how do you take all the data provided by the channel, all the various engagement models and how can you use the platform to provide you with not only insight, but a richer engagement?

Liferay DXP allows businesses to increase engagement by having tools in place that can capture and analyze data and provide a more personalized experience depending on the situation, providing different offerings or information depending on their situation, whether the customer is using a desktop or a mobile device.

It’s all about engaging people in different ways, for example if the client was attending an event in which you were hosting a booth, could you interact with them in a way that lets them know “we’re just around the corner from you, come pay us a visit” and offers them an incentive to visit? You already have a good solid foundation to engage with your customer, but what else can you do to engage more seamlessly in other medium. How can you use DXP to deliver that engagement?  Then, and only then, we can start talking about some of the new capabilities that DXP is offering.

Marc: It sounds like the customer experience can change for people who are engaging with these websites or forms. A more personal experience can be provided, with real time enablement, so you can respond to all the data you have about that customer and become more engaging over time. Basically it boils down to thinking “with a digital DXP platform I’m going to get a much, much more personal experience”?

Nick: Absolutely. The idea of real-time engagement, the idea of personalized engagement and the idea of omni-channel engagement, where regardless of how you are interacting with a client, the experience is seamless and they will get the same consistent customer experience regardless of which touch point they are using to interact with your business.

I think the real key here is “what do you look for in technology and what do you look for in a platform that will allow you to engage with your client that way.”

Marc: If you’re a current Liferay customer and looking to make the move to DXP, what are some of the business or technology issues you have to be thinking through on the way to making that move?”

Nick: That’s a bit of a tricky question to answer due to the fact that Liferay is a platform with a diverse range of use cases. Not every client is going to be the same. That being said, nearly every single business is looking for ways to increase their business capacity. Whether that’s through sales, more efficient communication or by any other means, whatever their method is the Liferay DXP platform can enhance the experience of client interaction. This makes their business processes more efficient through providing a platform that allows the customer and the business to communicate and engage.

Regardless of what your use case is, what I would do is ask “what are you using the platform for?”. Whether it’s  B2B, B2C or an e-commerce situation, you must ask, “how do you engage with your customer and how can you do it better?”. How do you look at that engagement model and say, “can I provide a better experience? Can I provide a more seamless experience?”

Whatever you were using Liferay for in the past you can continue to do it. You’re going to get a lot of new features so even if you choose not to look at engaging your customer differently, you’re going to get new features, new capabilities and you’re going to get a product that is going to be able to meet the standards of web technology today.

Marc: So from a business consideration the first recommendation is just to think through your engagement model, your strategy, what you want the customer experience to be and then plan those components against the new platform?

Nick: Absolutely, and then also look at how to utilize the platform in your greater ecosystem.

Typically we used to think about platforms (and Liferay in general) as an engagement system but we always typically looked at Liferay being THE engagement system, i.e. “this is where you go to engage”.

What we’re seeing in the industry today and what we’re seeing with DXP is now the platform has the capability to be part of a greater ecosystem, a component in the Internet of Things. It allows you to look at Liferay DXP as not solely just the primary engagement model but a component of the greater engagement model.

However, what you’re getting from the platform is the ability to use a consolidated capability. You’ret not losing the ability to consolidate data and the ability to have a lot of systems underneath that you need to interact with.. You still get a lot of benefit in that sense however, you can start to challenge your thinking about what engagement means. DXP doesn’t stop at DXP. It has the potential to be used in a greater ecosystem as part of the Internet of Things.

Marc: So in preparation for this conversation I was reading a little bit about Liferay DXPs technology platform and it seemed to me that there are opportunities for some technologists to make some improvement in the way they build and deploy these engagements/experiences. Talk a little bit about the opportunities that exist in the technology.

Nick: Of course, we already discussed Liferay DXP and what business challenges the platform is trying to solve and one of the things we haven’t talked about so far is the trend in the industry: that development is moving faster than we’ve ever seen before. The internet is constantly changing now, whereas before it used to change maybe once per year. What we’re seeing as a result is a greater need for modularity, platforms that will allow us to change capabilities, add, remove and update features in a safe way so that we can meet business goals quicker, cheaper and more efficiently.

I think that ability to change and evolve is fundamental to any platform that you’re looking for. So we’re not just looking at how to engage but how to select a platform that allows you to stay current with how quickly things are moving in the industry.

One of the key features of Liferay DXP is it’s move to modularity. Liferay spent a considerable effort to re-architect the platform. They’ve introduced a technology called OSGI which is very technical but put simply it’s a framework for modularity that allows Liferay (the platform) to be separated into separate components.  Everything that you do and interact with on the platform is a component in itself and you can add (or remove) components into the platform without having to disturb the platform itself.

The modularity brought to Liferay DXP by OSGI means users are looking at an increased agility, allowing you to quickly and easily develop new features and capabilities to your end customer.

Marc: So are the implications of the modularity that if I’m using DXP as a technologist, that I have a chance to make it extremely light (for a technology platform) and able to run really fast, really only using a small number of features?. On the other side, I am also able to turn on lots of robust features and drive a different kind of model. Would I have that kind of flexibility?

Nick: Absolutely! The ability to customize the platform is unparalleled to what was in Liferay 6. Having said that, Liferay has always been the strongest vendor in terms of providing “hooks” or “extension points” into their platform that allow you to customize the platform to your desires.

Liferay DXP has taken that flexibility and has increased it a hundred-fold so that now with modularity you can run a much slimmer, or heavier version of the platform, whatever you choose.

You can add new capabilities and alter what is provided out of the box much easier than you ever could before and in a very safe manner where it protects your code, your intellectual property which you are deploying or creating on the platform. It also allows Liferay to be able to update its system more readily so that it can provide new features and capabilities to the market in ways that it never could before.

While there is a steeper learning curve than previous versions of Liferay, the technology only shifted, not changed completely. Having said that the product is relatively new and is only now starting to be fully understood. I think the learning curve will solve itself over time.

Marc: Let’s talk a little bit about the reputation of Liferay. Traditionally, Liferay has been viewed as a really strong technology platform that is extremely cost-effective because of their business model and how they deliver a combination of open-source fundamentals but for an annual subscription model. How does the DXP release preserve that value?

Nick: I think if anything the DXP release increases that value proposition for customers. The cost hasn’t changed between DXP and Liferay 6. Materially you’re still looking at a platform that delivers a much lower cost of ownership than any of its competitors.  

Compared to Transfer Portal by IBM, compared to WebLogic, compared to Adobe Experience Manager, Liferay DXP is still a fraction of the cost of onboarding when compared to other competitive products. The ROI doesn’t stop there. Outside of the cost of acquisition I think what you’re going to see is the cost of ownership further reduced due to modularity. The ability to provide new capabilities, develop, extend and test the platform, with modularity, in a very safe manner is going to increase your ROI. Outside of the original cost of acquisition of the product, you’re going to see that the ROI benefits of DXP are going to be greater than what we’ve traditionally seen in the past.

Marc: Interesting, so if we wanted to recommend to the audience how to learn more about DXP, what would you suggest they do? With the technical community? With the business community?

Nick: From a technical perspective, Liferay provides resources online. is a great resource if you enjoy reading code. Liferay is still a proponent of open source so there is a Liferay 7.0 which is the open-source version of the DXP offering. For the most part the two are very close. The code base is 99% the same so Liferay doesn’t hide anything. You can look at the source code, you can read the documentation and forms online. The community is still strong and so there are a number of ways to get information and tangible experience; play with the product if you so choose. You can also get trial versions of DXP as well.

From a technology perspective, I think being open source and the vibrant community that Liferay offers really maximizes your ability to learn and engage with Liferay, which is largely unchanged from previous generations.

From a business perspective I think there are a lot of ways to engage with Liferay. You can reach out to partners like ourselves, here at Veriday, to walk you through the thinking in terms of where we may be able to help you view your current offerings differently, how you can potentially engage your clients better, and how you can leverage what Liferay DXP offers in a way that is going to provide you with a greater ROI.

You can also always engage Liferay and their sales channel, or look at the plethora of literature available online (blog posts, podcasts, ebooks etc). There are a lot of different ways that you could get information from a business perspective

I believe that one of the things you’ve got to look at before you even think about a platform is: how do you want to engage with your clients today? How do you want to engage with your clients tomorrow? How do you look for a platform that gives you all the tools you need to engage with your customers in a way that provides you with all the benefits we previously mentioned?

Marc: Good stuff. I think that’s enough for one day. As Nick mentioned, you can reach us at if you’d like more information. You can also drop us a line on Twitter (@VeridayHQ). We’d be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding Liferay itself or Liferay DXP. We look forward to talking to you again on our next podcast. Thank you very much!


That wraps up our interview with Nick Quach. Stay tuned for more interviews, with our Liferay experts, about Liferay DXP, the newest digital experience platform.

In the next part of our series, we will be sitting down with Sam Hyland, Service Delivery Lead here at Veriday, to discuss the new technological features that you can expect to see in Liferay DXP. As always, if you want to continue the discussion, you can reach out to us on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

A Recap of Veriday’s 1st Liferay Meetup


Veriday held its 1st Liferay Meetup on August 18th, 2015 at our new office location. It was a successful evening full of great people, food, refreshments, and insightful presentations on Liferay. A big thank you to Chris Lamoureux, Patrick Lafond, Scott Ord & Nick Quach for sharing their insights and wisdom on everything from Liferay Inc. to user experience design to agile development.



For those of you who missed it, here’s a quick recap of the night:

Nick Quach, VP of Technology and Solutions at Veriday, got the evening going as the first presenter of the night.  Nick spoke about Liferay as a System of Engagement, a term coined by Geoffrey Moore, a business author of such books as Crossing the Chasm. Nick discussed Systems of Engagement and the transition from current enterprise systems to systems that are focused on human culture, communication, and peer interactions, as opposed to processes. Systems of Engagement focus on a totally new user experience. Nick’s discussion highlighted how many enterprises are turning to Liferay to provide an effective System of Engagement in order to more effectively systematize their organization.

The next speaker up was Patrick Lafond, a Solutions Engineer at Veriday.  Patrick presented an insightful presentation on Liferay as an Integrations platform. Patrick focused on sharing some of his observations and experiences using Liferay as an integration platform (both providing and consuming web services).  Patrick’s background in Enterprise Integration provides a unique perspective on an implementation pattern commonly used in a Portal ecosystem. His discussion highlighted that Liferay provides developers the ability to leverage numerous tools, libraries, and frameworks in order to quickly and easily integrate with many diverse systems.

The 3rd presenter of the night was Scott Ord, a senior consultant at Veriday. Scott discussed “3rd Party Integration with Liferay”.  Scott covered 3 different means to add the necessary files to Liferay based on the type of framework (front MVC or front-end presentation).

Chris Lamoureux,  co-founder and executive VP of Veriday, closed off the evening as the last presenter. Chris spoke about his experiences working on many Liferay projects over the years.  Chris discussed, through his experiences, how Liferay has consistently streamlined the development process, from design to deployment, and as a result of Liferay’s efficiencies, saved enterprises significant time and money.


If you’d like more information on any of the presentations, feel free to get in touch with us and we will be happy to help.

Join us for our next Liferay Meetup, and a great night of food, refreshments, networking and all things Liferay.  The next event will take place at the end of September. More details are to follow, or feel free to sign up for our newsletter to receive updates right to your inbox.

Liferay Vs. WebSphere: Support and Community Examined

Why is Liferay accelerating in the Gartner magic quadrant and why are so many medium to large enterprises continuing to adopt open source products? Has open source software now become the preferred choice for enterprises? According to a Black Duck Software report, over half of all enterprises will utilize or contribute to open source in some manner in 2015.

This is the 2nd Infographic in a series that provides side by side comparisons of Liferay Vs. Websphere, examining different aspects of the Liferay and IBM portal products. The first in the series examined “Liferay Vs. WebSphere: total cost of ownership”, while this article will examine the support and community aspects of both portal products.

Liferay Vs. WebSphere: Support and Community Examined




  • Liferay Commercial offering provides the same level of support as what enterprises would expect from companies such as HP, IBM and Oracle.
  • Gartner reports have recognized Liferay as having a higher customer satisfaction in this space.
  • Security patches and fix packs are regularly provided to ensure the product remains secure, as new threats become known.
  • 24x7x365 support is available to all commercial clients.


  • Liferay is a strong and vibrant open source community with a development network that continues to grow.
  • Liferay has a strong community with roughly 4 million downloads.
    • 80,000 per month
    • 350,000-500,000 worldwide deployments
    • Over 19,000 registered users on
  • The number of contributors (over 15,000), available documentation and available partner channels provides additional support on top of the Liferay commercial support offering.



  • IBM is a world-class product company, which provides support for its products and customers.
  • IBM provides extensive Web-based support.  Download fixes, search on keywords and find how-to information to help solve your challenges.


  • Today, more then 100,000 clients globally are using IBM WebSphere to build and integrate their infrastructure solutions.
  • WebSphere has more then 800 IBM Business Partners worldwide supporting it with software, solutions and services. It supports more than $1 quadrillion worth of business transactions daily.
  • WebSphere is used in B2C (approximately 75% of deployments) and B2B (25% of deployments) organizations.

Liferay Vs. Websphere: Total Cost of Ownership Examined

Why is Liferay accelerating in the Gartner magic quadrant and why are so many medium to large enterprises continuing to adopt open source products? Has open source software now become the preferred choice for enterprises? According to a Black Duck Software report, over half of all enterprises will utilize or contribute to open source in some manner in 2015.

This series of Infographics will provide a side by side comparison of Liferay Vs. Websphere, examining different aspects of the Liferay and IBM portal products.  The Infographic below, the first of the series, examines the total cost of ownership.

Liferay Portal Vs. Websphere Portal: Total Cost of Ownership Examined


  • Liferay Portal is a single product that provides the complete functionality without the need for any additional cost.
  • Over 70 out of the box portlets plus additional portlets are available through its marketplace. 3rd party portals and extensions are also available.
  • Liferay provides:
    • Liferay Social enhanced integrated collaboration
    • Liferay Sync
    • …at no additional cost to Liferay Portal customers.
  • Core products provide the following capabilities:
    • Content Management
    • Document Management
    • Full Collaboration Suite
    • Workflow Engine
  • Leveraging out of the box functionality can dramatically reduce development investments and accelerate time to market, while providing the core portal capabilities.
  • Liferay enables organizations to leverage existing infrastructure and open source, or lower cost options. There is an extensive list of supported operating systems, application services, database, caching and indexing appliances. Liferay does not lock you into a vendor
  • Commercial and Enterprise offerings of open source products continue to grow in the market place. The difference between traditional enterprise offerings and open source offerings are becoming narrower. Significant cost savings can be achieved by leveraging lower cost application servers. Database alternatives will only be further multiplied in deployments and architectures that support high availability and disaster recovering.
  • Liferay’s core products are based on its open source variant and rely heavily on open source libraries.


  • WebSphere Portal Family consists of 3 main products:
  1. WebSphere Portal Server is the base portal. This does not include collaboration or content management capability. WebSphere Portal Express is targeted at small to midsize businesses and has limits on the numbers of users.
  2. WebSphere Portal Enabled, which contains integrated Web Content Management capabilities.
  3. WebSphere Portal Extend, which contains additional collaboration features in additional to Web Content Management.
  • Licensing cost is significantly higher in the majority of WebSphere deployments due to its Processor Value Unit (PVU) pricing vs. Liferay’s Server and JVM base pricing, which allows organizations to take advantage of today’s multi-core processors without incurring additional costs.
  • WebSphere Portal Extend, which is IBM’s most feature rich portal product, is double the price of its base Portal server PVU cost, and is feature for feature most comparable against Liferay’s single platform.
  • WebSphere has a much more limited list of deployment options and is primarily limited to IBM infrastructure products such as IBM zOS, IBM application server, IBM DB2 and Oracle products, such as oracle dataset.
  • WebSphere Portal is tightly coupled with WebSphere Application Server and RAD, and has a more limited support for databases outside of IBM DB2, which limits enterprise flexibility and increases TCO.
  • Although IBM portal product is a closed product, at its core it relies heavily on open source libraries, so the “open source” factor is not as big of a factor.

An Introduction to Portal Governance


So, your company has embarked on an enterprise portal implementation. You have completed your due diligence, established your business use case, calculated your ROI, and completed the process of vendor/product assessment and selection. The next inevitable question is what’s next; how do you ensure you deliver a product that satisfies your technology, business and end user requirements? How do you ensure that the portal delivers on its goals when launched, but more importantly, how do you ensure that the momentum is maintained?

The implementation of new portal technologies can fail for many reasons:

  • No vision or plan defined
  • No governance model, or have one but don’t follow it
  • No clearly defined process in place to coordinate between departments
  • No way to align technology to business needs
  • No person in place to make the final decisions
  • Mis-use of technology or poor architecture
  • Infrastructure not set up correctly
  • No process in place to prioritize the many things portals can do
  • Organizations underestimate the cost and complexity of portal implementations

Over the past 8 years, Veriday has been engaged in a number of enterprise portal implementations using Liferay. Though the size and scale have varied between small-scale implementation for targeted audiences to large-scale offerings in both commercial and enterprise rollouts, a common thread amongst the successful implementation is portal governance.

Portal governance is key to delivering an effective portal. Portal governance is the practices; policies and processes that govern and help maintain and foster the effectiveness of enterprise portals. It describes how your portal will be implemented and managed in your organization. The governance strategy is aligned with your business objectives so that your portal can continue to evolve along with your organization, and continuously deliver business value. Veriday creates portal governance strategies that clearly outline how activities, accountability and people should be structured, in your portal environment, in order to benefit your business, customers and employees.

Many organizations are faced with serious challenges when implementing an enterprise portal successfully. A portal implementation must align to the business and involve people, process, technology and policy. A well-defined portal governance structure should address the business and organization transformation, portal technology alignment with corporate objectives, ways to measure performance and management of people and accountabilities. Governance requires up front preparation to identify the ongoing processes, objectives and roles as they currently exist and will exist in the future.

The areas that require governance include:

  • Portal content
  • Portal roles
  • Workset design
  • Application integration
  • Desktop strategy and loadsets
  • Web content management
  • Collaboration tools
  • Search and taxonomies
  • Portal infrastructure and layout
  • Portal workflow

It is important to take into account all aspects of a portal and have clear lines of communication between the IT department and the business. Governance is important to keep the portal effective for a full return on investment.


Have you recently implemented a new portal technology in your organization? Did you have a portal governance model in place? What were some challenges that you ran into during the implementation process? Share your comments below!