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Liferay Portal 6.2: Exciting New Features

BS Kavya Rao
Posted 1/14/15

Intro:

Liferay's latest release, Liferay 6.2, offers significant UI enhancements, provides a stunning new skin, and addresses many of the bugs and issues from the previous versions. In this post we'll explore a few of the enhancement highlights in 6.2. 

Mobile Devices:

The majority of web visitors are now on mobile devices, and mobile friendly, responsive websites are the expectation. To help developers more easily create responsive sites, the 6.2 release introduced a new feature: Mobile Device Preview Menu- and it's just a click away on any site page.

This menu provides the preview of your page on standard smart-phone, tablet and desktop, and also allows you to see the preview on custom screen sizes.

No matter the screen size of the device, the Alloy UI and Twitter Bootstrap make sure that the pages and layouts are responsive, and provide a similar experience to  the full website.

Here is a quick peek of the mobile-optimized modules:

The simplified doc bar appears on desktop as

where as on a device

 

The WYG editor on desktop display a full fledged toolbar 

and the mobile device has a light version of the tool bar.

Further we can see the reuse of many of the native mobile components such as calendar, documents, and media components in the newly added mobile features. Mobile Device Rules now make it much easier to set up Mobile Device Families to detect classifications of devices to present the most optimized view for that device type.  And many more improvements add to the robust mobile features.

User Experience:

The default theme has been made more responsive and there are many other UI enhancements to the control Panel:

a revamped Dockbar:

Add function on the sidebar providing an option to add Page, Content and Applications:

And many more UI /UX enhancements are available by upgrading to AlloyUI2.0 and Bootstrap2.3.2 as explainedhere.

Application Display Templates:

In older versions of Liferay, customizations of the built-in applications were usually done using hooks and ext plugins. These required plugin re-deployment or server restart which is not portable and time intensive. Liferay 6.2 makes it easier with Application Display Templates, simple FreeMarker or velocity templates that a site admin can enter right from the site administration screen customizing many out-of-the-box portlets  and also your custom portlets. 

To explain it better let’s consider the Asset publisher application which usually displays contents like blogs, documents, web-content, images etc in a table, title list, abstract or full content form.

Lets add a FreeMarker template to show the content in an ordered list from the site admin login Asset Publisher->Configurations->Display Settings->Display Templates->Manage Display Templates for Liferay->Add.

It also provides a list of all the fields and variables that you can use, with the tooltip giving the meaning of each variable.

The contents will be displayed as

Or you also have an option to upload your template here:

New Calendar Application:

Liferay Portal 6.2 completely redesigned the Calendar Application. It has a new lightweight style and provides all the information that you need at a glance. 

On the left you can see the monthly view, your calendar, your site´s calendar and other calendars that you added to your view. You can add more calendars to your view simply by typing into that input text field that you see on the left side:

You can create and manage resources within the new Liferay calendar portlet just like you would do it with Microsoft Outlook.

You can easily create appointments and events. It’s just a click away.

 

 

Web Content Management:

The Web Content Management is made much simpler inspired by the design of Documents and Media, and it is now in folder structure .You can create folders and sub-folders, and manage content in it. It also has an option to subscribe and set permissions to the content.

You can now add templates and structures to it as we did for Application display templates.

 

Localization Improvements:

I18N enhancements including localizable friendlyUrls is an easy and consistent way to enter translations for multi-language fields, content type, page field names and many more. Also you can set a default language for each site.

Staging:

Staging is further refined in Liferay 6.2, making it more secure by setting up a pre-shared key between your staging server and your production server instead of a user name and password combination.

Liferay Portal 6.2 now validates staging updates and warns of potential inconsistencies.  Also, the inconsistencies during updates from staging to production can be avoided by disabling live changes when remote staging is enabled.

Site Hierarchies and Site Membership Management:

Liferay 6.2 considers the need to group related sites and provide a structure to it, and introduced an efficient concept called Site Hierarchies. It provides a way to group and organize sites in the way you like to any level. Also it allows the sites in the hierarchy to share content between sites and navigate up and down the hierarchy.

Site Membership Management framework makes it easy for you to make sure only the proper users have access to the relevant parts of the hierarchy.

More on this explained here.

Recycle Bin, In-Place Blog Editing and Document Management:

Earlier the web content was either published or expired. Expired web content coexisted with published ones but  invisible in the front end, and if deleted they could not be restored again. The new Recycle Bin feature acts similar to the recycle bin in any OS and can contain web contents along with documents, Blogs, Wiki, Bookmarks etc. Here the trashed content can be restored easily and you can also set a max age for the contents in the recycle bin.

Document Management is made much simpler with 6.2, you can now subscribe to folders to be notified of changes, and drag-n-drop multiple files from your desktop into the library with ease.

Another exciting new feature in Liferay 6.2 is the In-Place Blog Editing. Where the Blogs can be edited by the blog owner/ admin without entering the Edit mode, the portlet provides the full featured WYSIWYG editor to make changes.

Further detailed explanation of these features is provided here.

Conclusion:

This post touches upon only a few of the enhancements done in Liferay 6.2. Much more has changed in 6.2, both visible on the outside and under the hood. The responsive design and all the features mentioned above have made Liferay much more user friendly and attractive.  We eagerly await Liferay 7, rumored to be released in the second half of 2015.