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James Falkner
Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
November 8, 2011 2:36 PM
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James Falkner

LIFERAY STAFF

Rank: Liferay Legend

Posts: 1222

Join Date: September 17, 2010

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Hi Everyone!

Many of us are comfortable with Liferay technology and remember what it was like when we were not so familiar with it. There are many more community members who are struggling with basic Liferay concepts, or have been assigned to an existing Liferay project and want to quickly get up to speed, and even more on the way that are coming from varied backgrounds and with varied levels of expertise on Liferay and related technologies, that need better guidance on how best to get started and progress through their career using Liferay to solve their problems.

We in the Liferay Community are working on a new structured program to more easily get new users over the initial learning hill of Liferay, and provide valuable educational content to all of our community, regardless of expertise level. WIth the goal of getting our community deeply involved, and producing high quality educational content that follows a well-structured series of steps (curriculum if you will), we are going to do the following:

  1. Identify pain points, common use cases, questions, or scenarios from new community members, and topics that are of interest to someone learning or improving Liferay skills.
  2. Produce new content, or organize existing content, on the above topics (in the form of short videos, wiki pages, existing forum posts, and the like)
  3. Define curriculums based on role (administrator, developer, publisher, editor, community site administrator, and others) that use the above content
  4. Publish content and curriculums on liferay.org in a sort of university-like structure, allowing one to progress through a set of objectives, or randomly consume content


It is here that we need your help! While we at Liferay set up the program (website structure, etc), I want to engage the community to help create the set of topics and curriculum to cover, and to create content (or organize existing content). We have some amount of community content organized here, but it is somewhat sparse, somewhat out of date with the pending release of 6.1, and doesn't cover many of the initial pain points we know and love.

So, how can you help? For starters, use this thread to:

  1. Identify a topic that you feel should be should be covered (for example, "Database Configuration" or "What is a Web Content Structure?"). Ignore any existing content that may be available already, this is more about defining canonical topics for Liferay'ers regardless of what's already been done.
  2. Identity a structured curriculum for a specific role. For example, an editor that is contributing articles to a Liferay publishing site needs to know about WCM fundamentals, how to use the asset publisher or web content article editor, what categories and vocabularies are and how to use them, and so on. What other roles have you encountered, and what series of articles or instructions would have best gotten you to where you are today?


As we define the topics to cover, I will be asking for volunteers to choose one or more topics, organize (and possibly correct) existing content for that topic, and create new content, especially videos (we are preparing a HOWTO for those that want to create a video, such as a screencast, which we will post-process for consistency).

I would like to have an initial set of content available by this time next month, and then continue to produce content while we improve the website interface for access (and for submitting new content!). That way it remains fresh over time, and we don't wait 2 years for a super-awesome interactive website with fancy graphics.

Anyway, please share your thoughts and contributions below. I am very excited about seeing what our community can produce out of its shared expertise that I know is out there!
Drew Blessing
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
November 8, 2011 4:47 PM
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Drew Blessing

Rank: Junior Member

Posts: 79

Join Date: January 27, 2011

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This is exciting! I can't wait to see what the community can come up with. With that in mind, here a few quick thoughts I have for content:

End-users - Quick Liferay tour. Add/remove portlets, my account management, discussion board posts/subscriptions, add/edit wiki articles, etc. Anything that an end-user may be able to interact with in Liferay.

Web Content Creators - Little tips and tricks for the HTML editor, structures/templates basic and advanced use, plus all that great stuff you gave as an example above.

Administrators - Site templates/dynamic templates, user administration, community and organization management including hierarchical options

System Administrators - From basics to the full spectrum of options available in portal.properties, etc. Here we could identify some common use cases. For example, we could examine clustering configuration. Consider a basic cluster, 2 application servers, 1 database server, and shared storage for data. How might this be configured?

Developers - Lots of options here. One big pain point for me personally has been setting up and visualizing the permissions for a new portlet.

Those are just the ones I can come up with on a whim. Hopefully this sparks some discussion.
Luis Mas
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
November 14, 2011 8:55 AM
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Luis Mas

Rank: Regular Member

Posts: 146

Join Date: May 18, 2009

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I think that Video, Slides and Webinars are ideal... organized by role:

- End Users
- Business Administrators (Advanced Users)
- Administrators
- Developers
Wasim Shaikh
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
November 14, 2011 9:57 AM
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Wasim Shaikh

Rank: Junior Member

Posts: 95

Join Date: July 16, 2009

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As Liferay Front End Developer. Below was the pain point areas for me, when I was new to Liferay theme development.
- Understanding Liferay theme structure (folder/css/js)
- Understanding Layout Templates
- convert html template to liferay theme.
Gnaniyar Zubair
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
November 16, 2011 6:57 AM
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Gnaniyar Zubair

Rank: Liferay Master

Posts: 603

Join Date: December 19, 2007

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wasim shaikh:
As Liferay Front End Developer. Below was the pain point areas for me, when I was new to Liferay theme development.
- Understanding Liferay theme structure (folder/css/js)
- Understanding Layout Templates
- convert html template to liferay theme.



Yes you are right. It is a big challenges for Webdesigners who knows the basic of liferay and wish to start the Liferay Theme. Except Liferay Designer, No one can create the Liferay Theme. It should be a easy way to migrate all the css and html from ordinary HTML design to Liferay.

I dont have any solution on this but Community members who has interested in Theme development can try to achieve this migration from ordinary HTML designs themes to Liferay Theme. I am doing R&D on this and would share my idea if i get any proper solution .
James Falkner
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 6, 2011 1:33 PM
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James Falkner

LIFERAY STAFF

Rank: Liferay Legend

Posts: 1222

Join Date: September 17, 2010

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Thanks everyone that took the time to reply! Of course there are some obvious topics that everyone would need to understand before using Liferay, and I have included these along with the suggestions made so far (and I have had some private conversations through email with Szymon and others on this topic).

The general idea is that someone would choose a path, based on their role, and progress through a series of videos or other documentation on their way to learning and ultimately mastering their role.

The initial proposed set of video topics are listed below (if you have more, then let us know -- honestly if we get this far we'll be doing VERY well!). We can map these to specific curriculums. For example, the "Front-End Developer" curriculum might go:

1. Getting Started with Liferay Portal UI (for basic knowledge of the components of the portal)
2. Typical Site Structures (pages, layouts, sites, organizations, themes, etc) (to understand how sites are constructed)
7. Liferay API Patterns (Basic grounding of Liferay programming and libraries)
3. Intro to Portlets (incl. diff types, MVC, JSF, Vaadin, etc) (understand how to develop portlets)
3. Intro to Themes (understand what themes are)
6. Intro to Alloy UI (understand the stuff already built for you)
4. Converting HTML+CSS+JS templates to Liferay Themes (this is very common)
5. Developing with Liferay IDE

That's just one example of a curriculum. We can publish as many of these as we want. We just need the actual content (videos and other docs emoticon ). That's where you come in! We need volunteers to help with all of the below topics. If you feel you are an expert (or even just reasonably experienced) in one of the below topics, let us know you'd like to tackle that, respond in this thread with your chosen topic(s). Our design dept. will soon be publishing a "HOWTO" on recording videos, and at that point you can get to work! I will put this info into a Wiki page for easier editing.

Initial "Liferay University" Video topics:

Using Liferay Sites
--------------------
  • Getting Started with Liferay Portal UI (Dockbar, using Control Panel, etc)
  • Managing your account
  • Using Discussion Boards
  • Using the Wiki
  • Finding and Connecting with your Friends
  • Finding other sites and content of interest

Creating and Managing Sites
------------------
  • Intro to Portal Structure (Users, Roles, User Groups, Teams, Orgs, Sites, etc)
  • Creating pages on your site and adding/removing portlets
  • Intro to Web Content Structures, Templates, Articles
  • Typical Site Structures (pages, layouts, sites, organizations, themes, etc)
  • Integration with external social networking sites (Facebook, etc)
  • Creating Sites Using Dynamic Site and Page Templates
  • Making Site Announcements

Web Publishing
--------------------
  • Intro to Liferay Web Content
  • WYSIWYG Web Content Creation Tips
  • Categorizing content using Vocabularies, Categories, and Tags
  • Publishing web content to pages and sites
  • Adding other components (portlets, images, banners) to pages
  • Creating Internationalized Content
  • Using Documents and Media Gallery
  • Using Asset Publisher
  • Liferay SEO Concepts

Plugin Development
--------------------------
  • Plugin Architecture and how plugins interact with other plugins, and Liferay core
  • Intro to Portlets (incl. diff types, MVC, JSF, Vaadin, etc)
  • Intro to Scripting Portlets
  • Intro to Themes
  • Converting HTML+CSS+JS templates to Liferay Themes
  • Integration of custom portlets with Liferay Permissioning

Admin
--------
  • Basic Installation and Database Configuration
  • Anatomy of a Liferay Installation - what files go where
  • Liferay Permissions (including how to set via UI)
  • Backing up Liferay
  • Integrating with external authentication

Intermediate Development
----------------------------------
  • Basic Java Skills for Liferay Developers
  • Developing with Liferay IDE
  • Using Service Builder
  • Using the Scheduler
  • Role-based Content Delivery
  • Intro to Alloy UI
  • Liferay API Patterns

Misc.
-------
  • Participation in Liferay Open Source Community
  • CE vs. EE


Sample Curriculums
  • Content Authors, Editors, and Publishers
  • Collaboration Site End Users
  • Collaboration Site Administrators
  • Liferay System Administrators
  • Front-End Developers
  • Back-End Developers
  • PHP Developers
  • .NET Developers
  • Integration Specialists
  • Marketplace Developer
James Falkner
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 7, 2011 1:11 PM
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James Falkner

LIFERAY STAFF

Rank: Liferay Legend

Posts: 1222

Join Date: September 17, 2010

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I created a wiki page with these topics. We are working on a quick guide for those of you who wish to create videos, that should be ready to go tomorrow or Friday. So please, sign up for whatever topics you feel comfortable discussing, and once the guide is ready, start recording and soon you'll be a star emoticon
Leo Pratlong
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 7, 2011 1:28 PM
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Leo Pratlong

Rank: Expert

Posts: 362

Join Date: July 6, 2010

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Great idea!
I have a question: is there only one presenter per topic or is it possible to make a video with a very specific subject?
Drew Blessing
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 7, 2011 1:38 PM
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Drew Blessing

Rank: Junior Member

Posts: 79

Join Date: January 27, 2011

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Awesome! Thanks, James. I signed up for one for right now. I am definitely willing to choose a few more but I'll let others have a shot at it first. Can't wait to get started!
James Falkner
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 7, 2011 1:53 PM
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James Falkner

LIFERAY STAFF

Rank: Liferay Legend

Posts: 1222

Join Date: September 17, 2010

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Leo Pratlong:
Great idea!
I have a question: is there only one presenter per topic or is it possible to make a video with a very specific subject?


Hmm, good questions. While I don't want to set up a "competition" to see who can create the "best" video for a given topic, some of the topics might be too big to cover by a single person (or within a reasonable amount of time).

What I suggest is that for now we stick with one-presenter-per-topic, and that you add your "very specific subject" (and put your initials next to the title so I know that you added it) to the wiki page, and assign yourself to it. That way, if others do the same thing, we can re-factor the list of topics later on to be more focused for those topics that are "too big".

I'm fine with more granularity. In the guide I am working on, I am suggesting a time limit of 30 minutes, and breaking each video down into easily digestable chunks of 5-10 minutes each. But I would welcome a 5 minute video on a highly specific topic! These shorter videos can be slotted into multiple curriculums (thats the plan with the longer videos as well). We get a library of awesome videos, then arrange multiple streams of videos for each "role".
Hitoshi Ozawa
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 7, 2011 1:58 PM
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Hitoshi Ozawa

Rank: Liferay Legend

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Join Date: March 23, 2010

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Seems like Sandeep Nair wrote a beginner's Liferay book. Was wondering how far that covers on topic discussed here.
James Falkner
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 7, 2011 4:14 PM
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James Falkner

LIFERAY STAFF

Rank: Liferay Legend

Posts: 1222

Join Date: September 17, 2010

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Hitoshi Ozawa:
Seems like Sandeep Nair wrote a beginner's Liferay book. Was wondering how far that covers on topic discussed here.


Yeah, I'm working on getting a copy to check it out! Looks nice!
Hitoshi Ozawa
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 8, 2011 4:03 PM
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Hitoshi Ozawa

Rank: Liferay Legend

Posts: 7954

Join Date: March 23, 2010

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Kindle version is only $16.84 at amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Liferay-Beginners-Guide-ebook/dp/B006H3OBSQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1323388421&sr=8-2

Sample first chapter is free for download. As a beginner's book, it looks good.
http://www.packtpub.com/sites/default/files/7003OS-Chapter-01-Planning-Your-Portal.pdf?utm_source=packtpub&utm_medium=free&utm_campaign=pdf

The only factor I can see is that it seems to be written for Liferay 6.0.x because it goes into "Communities and organizations" instead of "sites".
Ravi Kumar Gupta
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 8, 2011 7:15 PM
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Ravi Kumar Gupta

Rank: Liferay Legend

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Join Date: June 23, 2009

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Yep thats for 6.0.x, the time it was started, there was no sign of 6.1.x emoticon
Sandeep Nair
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 8, 2011 10:28 PM
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Sandeep Nair

Rank: Liferay Legend

Posts: 1692

Join Date: November 5, 2008

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Hitoshi:
The only factor I can see is that it seems to be written for Liferay 6.0.x because it goes into "Communities and organizations" instead of "sites".


Yeah actually we were in double mind as to update book for Liferay 6.1 or not. The thing was Liferay 6.1 is still in beta and it may take some time when 6.1 stable version is out. And we thought it is not right to point the links of downloads to a beta version product as of now.

The book tells you how to set up a site quickly with liferay and learn the concepts on the go. It should hopefully be a good read. Fingers crossed emoticon

Regards,
Sandeep
Wasim Shaikh
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 9, 2011 2:59 AM
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Wasim Shaikh

Rank: Junior Member

Posts: 95

Join Date: July 16, 2009

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Signed up for "Converting HTML+CSS+JS templates to Liferay Themes".
James Falkner
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 9, 2011 12:21 PM
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James Falkner

LIFERAY STAFF

Rank: Liferay Legend

Posts: 1222

Join Date: September 17, 2010

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Hi all,

I have uploaded a video creation guide onto the wiki page. If you need help in creating your outline or your video, feel free to ask here or email community@liferay.com!
Drew Blessing
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 9, 2011 4:14 PM
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Drew Blessing

Rank: Junior Member

Posts: 79

Join Date: January 27, 2011

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I have a question about prerequisites. How in-depth should we go on prereqs before it can be considered it's own topic? For example, my first topic is creating new pages and adding/removing portlets. Prereqs are probably how to create an organization/community and how to create a site. Both of those topics could becoming quite lengthy themselves.

Thanks!
James Falkner
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
December 9, 2011 7:10 PM
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James Falkner

LIFERAY STAFF

Rank: Liferay Legend

Posts: 1222

Join Date: September 17, 2010

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Drew Blessing:
I have a question about prerequisites. How in-depth should we go on prereqs before it can be considered it's own topic? For example, my first topic is creating new pages and adding/removing portlets. Prereqs are probably how to create an organization/community and how to create a site. Both of those topics could becoming quite lengthy themselves.

Thanks!


Great question. In general, it's sort of up to you to figure out "how far down the rabbit hole" you need to go with prereqs. In your example, I would probably quickly show the creation of a new site. With 6.1 it's pretty easy to do. But I wouldn't focus on it, I would probably first describe the concept of pages and that sites are made up of a collection of pages. But then during an demo/illustration, I'd start with a blank/empty portal (just the demo site perhaps, or even a bare bones portal with no demo data). Then I'd immediately create a sample site, perhaps using the built-in site templates as a starting point, and then add some more pages and portlets to that site. While doing that, you can do "drive-by" commentary, describing that site templates are nothing more than a pre-baked set of pages, but not going into gory detail.


Also, be sure to use the most efficient way to do things. A lot of functionality has been added to the contextual "Dock Bar" at the top of the screen. So be sure to use them whenever possible, instead of navigating through multiple screens to get what you want.
Joss Sanglier
RE: Liferay For Dummies: Help new users get the most out of Liferay
January 8, 2012 3:58 AM
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Joss Sanglier

Rank: Junior Member

Posts: 60

Join Date: July 15, 2009

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Can I make a plea about the overuse of Videos?

In education, it is very well established and proven that video's and presentations are a very bad media for detailed education.

They are very good for giving overall ideas, or giving a sense of something, but when it comes down to step by step instruction, they are hopeless.

The written word, with huge attention given to layout, is a much better way of tutoring as it allows the learner to scan the knowledge, skip parts easily that they already know and go back and forwards over a specific topic if they are having trouble.

That does not mean that presentation systems do not have their place. If there was a section on Liferay Sites, then a video or presentation explaining the concept of the "site" in regards to the Liferay Portal is a really good idea. But the "how to create a site" should be a properly written tutorial that users of any skill level can use*.

The other problem about video tutorials is that because they are very easy to make, they are often absolutely terrible! They have not been properly scripted, are often not edited, have not had enough care to ensure that the video content is sharp and clearly readable and so on.

If our collection of honourable experts have to write their tutorials, then I suspect they will come up with a much slicker and neater set of lessons, purely because writing things down tends to concentrate the mind!

These tutorials are not accompaniments to a teacher's live presentation, so it is important to remember that the person using the tutorial is completely on their own; all tutorials should be thoroughly tested by idiots like me to make sure that nothing important has been left out simply because the writer instinctively knows what they are talking about and forgets that the reader might not be so good at reading minds....

Joss

*Note: Liferay should be far more successful and better known than it is - to be honest, it knocks systems like Drupal and Joomla into touch. But it has two barriers - firstly, as a Java based application it cannot be set up on your average shared server, not much we can do about that. Secondly, although getting it set up is fairly straightforward for non-programmers like me, and basic configuration is easy, the very fact that it is Java scares people away - they assume it will be incredibly complicated. The more the documentation can be used to demystify Liferay and show how accessible it really is, the better; writers should not be worried at being overly simplistic or teaching people to suck eggs!
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