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liferayctl - download and run Liferay locally from Docker images.

Company Blogs 31 de Agosto de 2015 Por Milen Dyankov Staff

Looking at Liferay 7 Milestone 7 download stats, it seams many have tried it already. Yet considering the size of the community, the numbers are not that impressive. I'm pretty sure it's not because it's too hard or too time consuming to do it. However if that was your excuse, you may need to think of another one because trying out Liferay just got easier. How much easier? As easy as typing ./liferayctl start in your command prompt!


If you are Linux or OS X user, please allow me to introduce to you liferayctl - a command line tool to download and run a Liferay version from a Docker container.

Obviously you need to have Docker installed before you can use it (if you still don't, I really admire your resistance to IT trends)!

Let me give you some examples:

Before we start, let's get the tool and make it executable

curl -LO && chmod +x liferayctl

Now lets run Liferay 7 Milestone 7 (attention OS X users, make sure you are in a boot2docker terminal window)

./liferayctl -v 7.0m7 start

Be patient - it needs to download the image the first time you start it. This may take few minutes. Once it starts go to http://localhost:8080 and enjoy it ;)

Now let's say you want to compare it to the latest stable release (6.2ga4 at the time of writing), side by side in your browser. Type

./liferayctl -p 8180 -a 8109 start

and point you browser to http://localhost:8180. Feel free to add and modify whatever you want. Once you are done playing with it, simply run

./liferayctl -v 7.0m7 stop
./liferayctl stop

to stop both instances. You can start it again later on by repeating the steps above.

As you see, you don't have to be a Docker expert to use liferayctl. However it helps to get to know how it works!

Liferay Docker images

Now that you know liferayctl starts Liferay from a Docker container, you may wander which images it uses. If you search for Liferay in Docker Hub you'll find quite some images. Those vary widely in size, configuration and what Liferay version they target.

As much as I hate to reinvent the wheel, I had to create own images to satisfy the following requirements:

  • have minimal size images (based on Apline Linux image)
  • have minimal layers (single layer above Alpine providing all the data and several layers with meta data only)
  • make sure images do not depend nor contain anything but Java and Liferay Tomcat bundle
  • image structure is the same for each Liferay version (here is how they are generated)
  • hove control over stable and latest tags and make sure they point to the latest stable release and latest milestone release respectively

The images are uploaded in azzazzel/liferay-standalone Docker Hub repository. Sticking to those allows liferayctl to make some assumptions and provide very simple command line interface. However those are regular docker images and can be used directly with Docker. For example there is nothing that prevents you from running

docker run -ti --rm azzazzel/liferay-standalone:7.0m7

Be aware though that liferayctl makes some assumptions about container names and if you start liferay-standalone container directly from docker, it may interfere with the containers created by liferayctl!

Disclaimer and feedback request

I hope you'll enjoy liferayctl and the images and find them useful. Please keep in mind they are NOT meant to be used in production!

Please also keep in mind liferayctl as well as the docker images are NOT Liferay official artifacts and thus are NOT officially supported by Liferay. All images are build upon Liferay Community Edition versions.

As of now, there are only 3 images uploaded

  • 6.2ga4 (also tagged as stable)
  • 7.0m6
  • 7.0m7 (also tagged as latest)

I can release other versions on request. There are currently no plans to release Liferay Enterprise Edition images as far as I know! In the future Liferay may or may not decide to release official and supported tool and images. Meanwhile I will do my best to support those tools (I have plans for some more, such as allowing to use different database, automated creation of dev environment, ....) and images as long as there is interest!

So please, please send feedback, pull requests and report issues at liferay-docker-images project page on GitHub. Of course you can also drop me an e-mail or comment here, but this may take longer for me to notice and react.

Last but not least, you can meet me and discuss those and other subjects face to face at Liferay DEVCONLiferay Portal Solutions Forum - UK and Liferay Symposium North America.

Mobile Device Recognition beyond the UI

Company Blogs 27 de Junho de 2013 Por Milen Dyankov Staff

As you probably know in version 6.1 Liferay introduced the mobile device rules feature. However if you haven't followed the discussions and presentations about it, you may be under the wrong impression that is't very limited. Some people even claim it doesn't work. Judging by the number and type of questions I still get asked now days, I think I know where most of the confusion comes from - the user interface.

The first problem is that the UI will let you create rules even if there is no plug-in capable of actually detecting the device. Yes, you do need a plug-in for that. The API, data model and the UI are provided with the portal, but similarly to workflow and search (just to name a few) functionalities, the actual work of detecting the device is delegated to an external plugin. At the time of writing there is only one such plugin in Marketplace - Device Recognition Provider which internally uses WURFL. However if other providers become available in the future (or you create your own one), you will still be able to seamlessly hook them in.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, the UI will not warn you if the plugin is not installed. It will let you create a rule and the rule of course will never match as long as the plugin is missing! Of course all this is explained in the documentation but for those very few people who don't have the time to read it, in Liferay 6.2 we added a very visible warning message!

The second problem is about answering the "how much is not too much?" question properly. I guess we can have an endless discussion on this one but the fact is that at some point of time a decision was made that the only criterias that need to be available in the UI are operating system and whether the device is a tablet. In Liferay 6.2 you will be also able to specify ranges of screen resolutions and display sizes. I understand this still may be too limited for some of you, but the truth is, everyone has his needs and there is no way to make an user friendly interface that will cover all WURFL capabilities! Well, may be there is - a DSL (Domain Specific Language) on top of some rule engine will actually fit nice in here. Unfortunately there were more important things in the 6.2 road map so you'll have to wait a bit longer for this one or help us implement it!

The good news is you can use all of the capabilities in your custom portlets. You can use DeviceDetectionUtil to get the current user's Device. Once you get the Device object you can get the value of any WURFL capability by calling getCapability(java.lang.String) method. Actually you can do the same even from web content templates. Here is a simple example that will render some phone numbers as links if the device is capable of doing phone calls or sending text messages.


<?xml version="1.0"?> 
  <dynamic-element name="phone_number" type="text" index-type="" repeatable="false"/>   
  <dynamic-element name="sms_number" type="text" index-type="" repeatable="false"/>  
  <dynamic-element name="email" type="text" index-type="" repeatable="false"/>

Template in Velocity:

#set( $callPrefix = $device.getCapability("xhtml_make_phone_call_string") )
#set( $smsPrefix = $device.getCapability("xhtml_send_sms_string") )
#set( $canDoPhoneCalls = $callPrefix != "none" )
#set( $canSendSMS = $smsPrefix != "none")

<h3>Contact us!</h3>

You can
  <li>call us at  
    #if( $canDoPhoneCalls )
      <a href="$callPrefix$phone_number.getData()">$phone_number.getData()</a> 
  <li>or send an SMS message to 
    #if( $canSendSMS )  
      <a href="$smsPrefix$sms_number.getData()">$sms_number.getData()</a> 
    and we'll call you back  
  <li>or <a href="mailto:$email.getData()">e-mail us </li>

Template in Freemarker:

<#assign callPrefix = device.getCapability("xhtml_make_phone_call_string")>
<#assign smsPrefix = device.getCapability("xhtml_send_sms_string")>
<#assign canDoPhoneCalls = (callPrefix != "none")>
<#assign canSendSMS = (smsPrefix != "none")> 

<h3>Contact us!</h3>

You can
  <li>call us at
    <#if canDoPhoneCalls >
      <a href="${callPrefix + phone_number.getData()}">${phone_number.getData()}</a>
  <li>or send an SMS message to
    <#if canSendSMS >
      <a href="${smsPrefix + sms_number.getData()}">${sms_number.getData()}</a>
   and we'll call you back
  <li>or <a href="mailto:${email.getData()}">e-mail us </li>

I hope the above proved to you the device recognition functionality in Liferay is not as limited as it may seem on the first look! And I certainly hope more will come in upcoming versions.

The power (user) is back

Company Blogs 22 de Janeiro de 2013 Por Milen Dyankov Staff

The title will probably make some people argue that it was never gone on the first place. That's true. But there are some resources out there trying to convince you that  User and Power User roles are basically the same thing. Some even state that Power User is there for legacy reasons but it's not and will not be used by Liferay in a future. While I'll refrain from making any statements as to what Liferay will do in the future, I think you shold know that currently (which is Liferay version 6.1) User and Power User roles provide different permissions set! 
The confusion comes partly from the fact that by default all users are assigned to both roles. Thus from user perspective it would theoretically make no difference in which role given permission is set. But keep in mind that users can be removed from Power User role at any time. So before you do set a permission please think whether it should apply to all users ever (then add it to the User role) or it should only apply to given group of users (if so add it to a specific role - for example Power User)

To add to the confusion, in 6.1 a new button called "Clean Up Permissions" showed up in Control Panel. While the description tries its best to describe what it does, it may not be very clear if you believed that User and Power User are the same. To help you better understand, I generated the following table which shows what are the default permissions for Guest, User and Power User roles before and after you click on "Clean Up Permissions"  (click on the screenshot below to download the PDF):         

Liferay 6.1 default permissions (screenshot)

Liferay source code history - a piece of art

Company Blogs 14 de Janeiro de 2013 Por Milen Dyankov Staff

Ever wandered what it takes to build a product like Liferay? Let me show you in a ... very visual way. Please sit comfortably and watch how the time flies (not to mention the developers) and several years of source code history draws an extraordinary picture in just  8 minutes:

For those of you who are more concerned about how the video was made then what it represents (and also to comply with some of the licences) here is the information:
  • animation created by Gource - tool which displays software projects as an animated tree with the root directory of the project at its centre. Directories appear as branches with files as leaves. Developers can be seen working on the tree at the times they contributed to the project.
  • source code history based on commits in Liferay's master branch
  • the developers avatars comes from Gravatar
  • Background music by
  • everything put together in OpenShot


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