Liferay and the Future of Portal Development
Company Blogs February 3, 2010 By Paul Hinz Staff
This week's webinar was a kickoff of the Liferay Webinar Series and a demand for changes in our industry to solve issues impacting our user community.
In that webinar, we pointed out several issues surrounding web/gadget/java/portlet development, tooling and the new demand for end user capabilities. In the past, the original goals for portal technologies mushroomed to solve every enterprise development issue becoming overly complex, while at the same time, new demands for collaborative development became increasingly important. Enterprise architects were focusing on Service Oriented Architectures while end users were demanding greater capabilities at the presentation layer similar to what was available from internet applications. Java, a superior platform for enterprise integration, security, standards, etc. - became more complex for developing new applications than lighter weight frameworks and tools. Portals too were replaced in favor of "stove piped" development. However, as the use of lighter weight tools became more prominent in the development of new services, new problems arose.
The use of lighter weight frameworks resulted in issues with scalability reliability (the reliability/manageability experienced as we scale out an implementation), feature scaling (the ability to grow additional features within an application over time) and a host of other architectural issues originally used when defining Service Oriented Architectures. Therefore the original goals for the portal layer have returned but now in need of the benefits of lighter weight development as well as the need for new capabilities which empower the end user.
Liferay's tremendous growth these recent years is very much because of the quality of the work from the Liferay community and employees - as well as Liferay's focus on combining the best of both enterprise and web/html development. The right platform, at the right quality, at the right time if you will. Additionally, Liferay's focus on enabling the end user to define content, applications and communities with the addition of social interactions between users, greatly expands the possibilities for future applications. Where other portals and platforms have focused on a few developers building content and services for everyone - Liferay has added the capability for end users to build content, applications, policy and communities - plus allowing users to leverage them within a social network. These features have allowed a new capability for web and application development, but there are still demands from our community.
Systems of the future will require us to enable developer/creator capabilities across a range of actors - such as - standard users, power users, administrators and core developers. Each user's role needs to be well defined with capabilities available to each, allowing the entire user base to become developers within the system. Additionally, we need to solidify how this layer fits within the stack of applications within the enterprise, from data layer, to application layer, to this portal layer - and how other applications will interperate with them.
Liferay will need to focus on enabling our community - our most valuable asset - in defining and delivering on these demands. And we will do so in open source - where we believe technology progresses the quickest, for the benefit of everyone. Welcome 2010 and beyond.