Social Office Concepts
Liferay Social Office is designed around the concept of users and their work. For this reason, everything in Social Office is centered around keeping you up to date on the activities of your teammates. This works not only within individual teams, but also across all the teams of which you're a member. To do this, Liferay Social Office gives each user his or her own personal space, and each team has its own site where its work is stored. Using the power of Liferay's social API, users' activities are tracked and reported to the rest of the team.
Illustration 2: The three components which make Social Office workFor example, if a user on Team A shares a document, that activity is displayed not only in Team A's activities, but also in each team member's activities. This provides the ability for the rest of the team to know what work is being done as soon as possible, and then they can respond by making their own contributions.
There are really only three concepts which Liferay Social Office uses to accomplish all of this: Users, Applications, and Sites. Let's take a closer look at each to see how you can use Social Office to help your teams work better.
Users are at the core of Social Office. In order to interact with and use Social Office, you must have a user account. Users can register themselves or the system can be set up so that your account is created by an administrator. Administrators have full control over the entire site, can create and delete other users and sites, and can take care of the initial configuration. Administrators can also create additional users with administrative capabilities.
Power Users are advanced users who can create Sites, but have no access to the Control Panel, and therefore cannot create users or set permissions. Power users take care of the day-to-day operations of their Sites.
Other users are the regular members of your team who use the system to get their day-to-day work done. They can view the Sites they to which they have membership and they can interact with files and documents on those Sites.
Users make use of applications every day in Social Office to get their work done. Each page on every site in Social Office is only as useful as the applications installed on it. The available applications range from utilities for online information such as weather forecasts or RSS feeds, to blog and wiki tools, and more.
By default, each user has a number of applications installed on his or her home page. Users have full control over their personal pages: they can add or remove applications from their pages and adjust the settings for available applications. This ability can be modified or removed altogether by administrators.
When a new site is created, it's pre-populated with pages and applications on those pages. In many cases, each application gets a page of its own; in other cases, applications are aggregated together on a single page to provide a unified place where users can see all the new information that their teammates have posted.
Owners of sites are free to add or remove applications from pages on their sites. Regular users will not have the ability to do so. In this way, site owners can maintain the most optimal working environments for their users.
Sites are the structure that holds everything else in Social Office together. Every page contained in Social Office is part of a Site—including users' personal pages, which are just personal Sites. Sites are, at first glance, a collection of pages with specific functions, but they are also the basis of a sort of user "community." Users can be members of certain Sites either by assignment or by invitation, and once they are members they can use the full capabilities of the Site, as well as receive notification of various activities.
Sites ultimately become the key to good collaboration in Social Office, because each Site contains its own Calendar and set of events, as well as its own Document Library, Wiki, Blog, and Announcements. These tools enable members of a Site to communicate effectively with each other. Personal Sites help individual users as they log in to see an aggregated list of activities. This list comes from the activities of all the teams with whom they are collaborating. This way, users can see at a glance everything that's happening with their work, and they can respond very easily to anything that needs attention across all of the Sites of which they are members.
Here's an example of how it all comes together:
Ryan, Jim, and Michael are all members of the Sales Site. Ryan schedules a meeting for the whole Sales team about a new product launch and puts it on the Calendar. When Jim and Michael log in, they both receive a notification of the meeting. Jim can't make the meeting, but he's been maintaining the Sales Wiki for new products, so he asks Michael to update it for him after the meeting.
Michael updates the Wiki with the new information after the meeting, and Ryan posts a summary of what happened in the meeting in the Sales Blog. When Jim logs in the next day, he'll receive a notification of the new Blog post with the information he missed, as well as a notification about the updated Wiki. Additionally, he can easily access those pages to catch up on what he missed. This works because Social Office automatically keeps everyone up to date on the activities of the teams they work with every day.