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So what's new with the recently released Liferay 7, from the technical standpoint of a seasoned portal architect? For Auge, one of the biggest points of pride is the work being done to improve the maintainability and extensibility of the platform. "We're doing a massive push towards modularity" said Auge. But of course, the work being done on that front will be appreciated more by the technical experts doing maintenance, management and administration of Liferay portal servers, people who are actually running Liferay in production, as opposed to changes that provide additional eye candy for end users. "Much of the modularity work won't be forward facing, but instead will be changes in the underlying platform that will result in a huge improvement of the quality of the product," said Auge.
From internal changes to forward facing apps
Ray AugeSenior Architect, Liferay
That doesn't mean that a bunch of internal changes and overall quality improvements are the only thing new with Liferay these days. For starters, their version 7 offering has perhaps the best, out of the box, mobile integration of any similarly complete portal suite on the market. Furthermore, there are plenty of new tools, apps and portlets available to keep users happy and improve both the desktop and mobile experience.
From a developer's perspective, one of the neatest tools to come out of the Liferay brain trust is Liferay Screens. It's a collection of visual components that allow for native mobile applications to easily consume various Liferay APIs. "The goal of this project is to provide tooling that makes building native apps that integrate with a Liferay backend very easy," said Julio Camarero, a Liferay software engineer. After all, the challenge of actually building native mobile applications has largely been solved, and creating a native iOS or Android application is no longer a big challenge. But the challenge of backend integration remains a major challenge. But when the backend is Liferay, the Liferay Screens project makes integration and access to backend services uncharacteristically simple.
Moving towards features that will appeal more to the business users who are using the portal to engage customers is the Liferay Audience Targeting application. Available from Liferay Marketplace, the Audience Targeting app allows audience segmenting, and the subsequent targeting of specific content to different segments. For organizations that want to provide highly customizable content to their users, Liferay's Audience Targeting is bringing personalization to a whole new level.
To hear more about what's' going on, both internally and in terms of front facing portal applications, listen to the full interview between TheServerSide's Cameron McKenzie and Liferay architect Ray Auge.