Connecting through Liferay’s Open Source Community: Papa’s Story
2 Min Read

Connecting through Liferay’s Open Source Community: Papa’s Story

How do a university student in South Africa, an old laptop in the Netherlands, and a technology partner in Italy come together? Through the Liferay Community.
LR-Devcon2019-15 (2).jpg

How do a university student in South Africa, an old laptop in the Netherlands, and a technology partner in Italy come together? Through the Liferay Community. 

A Budding Young Developer Meets Liferay 

While Liferay technology can be very powerful, the connections made through the Liferay open source community can be even more powerful. 

Before Account Manager Greg Gatherer came to work at Liferay in South Africa, he met a young, passionate developer named Papa Vilanculo for an interview with his previous company. Papa was too young for the position, but even at 17, he was extremely bright and committed to learning and improving his developer skills. 

Over the years, Greg and Papa continued to stay in touch and that’s when Papa expressed interest in learning Liferay. Since Liferay is open source and boasts a community of over 200,000 members, Papa was able to quickly learn how to develop on Liferay while finishing up his studies at the University of Cape Town. 

“I choose the Liferay platform because it's open-source and saves time from a developer's perspective, it is simple to install and easy to learn. Liferay platform allows you to create web applications in a short space of time. It enables you to combine content from different sources so you can have multiple web applications on the same page like the blog, weather, wiki, etc.”, said Papa. 

The community has been instrumental in Papa’s journey; as a developer not only has Papa been able to learn how to use Liferay to build apps and websites from the guidance of other community members, but he has also been able to forge connections with people from around the world! 

From South Africa to Netherlands 

Through the community, Papa was able to connect to different developers around the world, like Liferay Sales Engineer Jan, in the Netherlands. Upon seeing the solutions Papa had built with Liferay, Jan could tell that this young developer had great potential. But the version of Liferay Community Edition that Papa was using was extremely old; this was because of the limitations of Papa’s aging laptop.

Upon hearing this, Jan remembered the older laptop he had and wanted to give it to Papa so that he could access the newest version of Liferay to create even more powerful solutions. 

Coming from a poor area of South Africa, Papa didn’t have access to many resources. In fact, around the same time Papa was connecting with Jan, he was mugged and had to go to internet cafes in order to use a computer. The package from the Netherlands came at a serendipitous time, allowing Papa to not only finish his schooling and projects, but also to work on the latest version of Liferay. 



Papa continues to be an active member of the community as he finishes his final year at university. The community continues to provide opportunities for growth as Liferay partners in Italy have expressed interest in employing Papa once he graduates. 

Currently, Papa is working on a pharmaceutical delivery platform that will enable customers to order from various pharmacies online. His goal is that “users won’t need to physically hand their prescriptions to the pharmacists and instead upload them online to get their orders delivered.” 

Collaboration, Connection, and Community 

None of this would have been possible without the support of the community. Developers and partners were able to come together from all parts of the world to guide and teach a budding dreamer to build and achieve new solutions. This is a story about more than just Liferay or technology, it is a story about the power of people growing and getting better, together. 


Learn more about the Liferay community here.

Originally published
June 2, 2022
 last updated
July 27, 2022
Want more Digital Experience Insights and news?

Related Content

pexels-fauxels-3183181 (1).jpg
Accelerating Your Digital Innovation with Pre-Built Solutions
1 Min Read
July 21, 2022

Want more Digital Experience Insights and news?