Social little things

Let’s talk about social optioons in Liferay. As you know (or not) Liferay has a lot of social extensions out-of-the-box. Some of them are grouped into Social Networking package (you can get it here). and other are in Liferay core. So we have friendship options like: request friendship, accept / deny friendship, invite friends (IMHO this one is obsolete as I don’t see any real use case for than in any of portals we are developing), friends (nice but there is no configuration like show with / without avatras or show only avatars), wall (most functional portlet of them all), activities, friends activities and my favourite ones  – Meetups and Summary. I said that those are my favourite ones beacuse I see big potential in such option not that they have such functionalities. For example Meetups is duplicating functionality of calendar. Why can’t we have “I attend” option in calendar? With that option we will be able to mimic with Liferay sites such as Last.fm.  Don’t know why this one was made as separate portlet. Similar thing is beign done with Summary portlet. Why there is additional field in it that is not linked in any wahy with user profile? Why there is no configuration page where administrator could select what fields from user profile he want’s this portlet to show? Maybe it’s the case of “no functional specification in Liferay”? Maybe. But that’s for another talk. Let’s get back to our social options.

Portlets are one thing. Another one is contributing to your portal. Here situation is also good looking. We can prepare public pages for users and private pages. On his private and public pages user can add his content (with new layer for entering WC through Asset Publisher this is much easier to customize than ever before). One big problem is that Liferay has no Content Sharing option (disscussed here). Oh, there is Global scope but I haven’t’ found proper compilation of user permissions to allow User access to that scope. Also Global scope doesn’t give you any isolation of users and their content so User A is able to edit and change WC of User B. Hope that this will be solved in near future.

So we have functionalities, content and now we want users to enter this damn data into our portal. There is no other option as to give them a virtual carrot so they will follow it. One carrot is the Social Equity and ranking of most egaged users. Users will earn point for writting and commenting and that’s awesome. Second carrot is the ability to personalize their site. They can do that by manipulating portlets (another minus for LR is lack of good graining of perrmisions so we are not able to dissallow changeing Look & Feel of portlets). or by choosing their theme. One thing to remember – Liferay has no option to define theme for each user. Yep, I know that for many portals this is basic function but for reason unknown this is not made in LR. But if you want something like this take a look at Alimozzaman blog (here). He wrote a step by step instruction how to do it. I think he should fill JIRA ticket for that and contribute solution (as we did with data structure in LPS-743).

I won’t wrote much about OpenSocial – you can read Paul Hintz presentation or view his webinar at Liferay LIVE here.

So as you can see you can almost build entire social network application from scratch using Liferay. Just remember that with every functionality in Liferay comes one bug or lack of something (good spec and thinking in most cases).

But that’s for another talk.

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