Liferay Portal
November 18, 2020

Java Basics: What Is Liferay?

Java Application Development
Java Tools

If you are not finding an out-of-the-box solution to fit your portal needs, Liferay and its customizable portal creation may be the platform you need.

In this blog, we take a look at Liferay portal software by detailing what it’s used for and exploring its two main components – the Digital Experience Platform and Content Management System.

What Is Liferay?

Liferay is an open source enterprise portal used to enable corporate intranet and extranet. This Java-based web application platform provides a toolset for the development of customizable portals and websites.

What Is Liferay Used For?

Mainly, Liferay presents itself as “One Platform. Endless Solutions.” It helps with various kinds of development challenges and is mostly used in B2B and B2E environments. With Liferay, you can create a portal solution tailored exactly for your business.

With many extensions, called “portlets” in Liferay, you can build almost any type of portal you need to meet the needs of your customers. Whether you are working in finance, science, health, or government, Liferay is definitely worth considering when deciding on what platform to use to build your portal.

Liferay Portal

Liferay Portal is an open-source product of Liferay Inc. built on top of Java. While it was first developed more than 10 years ago, it still adapts to new technologies and trends.

Liferay Portal is available in two editions: Community Edition and Enterprise Edition. The Community Edition, free and licensed under the LGNU public license, is a very popular choice for building company portals. With Community Edition, you can link Liferay with your own code whether it is portlet, theme, hook, or others, and it doesn’t matter what license you use for your code. If you modify the code of Liferay, modifications need to be released as free software.

The enterprise edition (EE) is a supported version of Liferay Portal and is available on a subscription basis. Liferay EE includes

  • Liferay Support
  • Updates
  • Fix Packs
  • Cloud Services
  • Liferay Portal Enterprise Edition

If you want to start working with Liferay Portal, it is available in the “Downloads” section of their website. The Community Edition is available in many options, including a full solution with everything already bundled together (Tomcat application server is used), or you can also download a .war package for manual installation.

What is Liferay?
Liferay Portal

Liferay DXP

In 2016, a new version of Liferay was released with version number 7, named Liferay Digital Experience Platform (Liferay DXP). One of the main changes in the technology was adapting the Open Services Gateway Initiative (OSGi) as a standard that is used to modularize the core of Liferay.

When comparing the Liferay 7 DXP against its predecessor, Liferay 6.2, the main change is obviously modularity achieved by OSGi, but there were many more changes. Liferay 7 DXP also brings support for Bootsrap 3, AUI 3.x components, and the new search engine, Elastic Search, is already embedded.

With Liferay DXP, you can build better and more flexible portals to fit your needs. To date, the newest version released is Liferay DXP 7.3.

Liferay DXP

Liferay CMS

Sharing information is probably the key part of every portal solution, and it is not any different with Liferay. The Liferay CMS – Content Management System – is the main tool where you can not only share, but also create and edit new content right from your web browser.

The great thing about Liferay CMS is that even if you are a non-technical user, you can still create and publish web content without having knowledge about web technologies or programming. This includes working with media files that are stored in the Documents and Media Library in Liferay Portal. The library is much more powerful than just a simple file manager. Each document can be described with metadata such as description, location, participants, and more.

Liferay CMS
Liferay CMS

Why Use Liferay?

Using Liferay gives you many benefits. Liferay is a modern and secure solution that offers personalization, analytics, and content management all in one place.

Other key benefits include:

  • Easy to use & learn
  • Feature-rich
  • Large community of users
  • Free (Community Edition)
  • Support for standard technologies
  • Extremely flexible in deployment options

Final Thoughts

There are many options to build a web site or portal that fits your needs. You can start building everything from the scratch and spend a lot of time (and money). In the end, you’ll have something that is tailored exactly as you wanted, but comes with many development challenges along the way.

These challenges can be minimized by using a solution like Liferay, which has already faced and solved these issues. With Liferay, you can easily start creating your feature-rich and secure portal without building everything from scratch.

Additional Resources

Curious what Java developers are using most in 2020? Our 2020 Java Developer Productivity Report gives data and insight on the most popular technologies in Java today.


Looking for additional reading on Java tools? These resources are worth a look.

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