We have an application that needs to be built and are looking for some Java based portal framework. In last few days we have gone through over 10 different open source option Liferay, JetSpeed2, GateIn etc.

But they are all too complex to be judged so quickly. Can anyone suggest some framework which is ease to use but has the functionality to handle complex situations.

Most importantly, the portlets will run Flash/HTML5 content.


We did a lot of this work, and found out a couple things:

  • Liferay is about the most feature rich of the portlet technologies. It does support flash/HTML5
  • Portlets in general are hard if you're trying to make a lot of them.
  • Liferay is one of the easiest to setup
  • Liferay is also one of the biggest and hungriest platforms.

Short of it is, if I had to use a portal platform, I would use Liferay. If I could do anything else, I would roll my own (which is what we did). While the feature set is great, it's not easy to setup dozens of portlets and easily develop/manage them. I would use a portlet when all I need to do is give a client a wiki and a basic intranet, but not much more.

All IMHO. Hope that helps!

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  • I had to work with Liferay 2 years ago. It was a larger project running over 1.5 years. And I am happy that it is over. Liferay is full of bugs and veeery poor documentation. Most of the time the only javadoc you can find is the author name of the class - that's it! Maybe it is better today but the version I know was the most horrible thing I ever had to use in my life! – Fabian Barney Jul 11 '12 at 13:31
  • @FabianBarney - Did you look at any other options? All the others have worse (I know, but it's true) documentation, and tend to be a lot harder to setup/manage. I'm with you on Liferay isn't really worth much, but sadly, in a pile of turds, it's the most polished and cleanest. (again IMHO) – MaddHacker Jul 11 '12 at 15:42

Before you decide to use Liferay be sure to check these points first:

  • have a decent look at the javadoc (there is not much more than author tags)
  • read the Liferay forums
  • pretty URL support and such things if you need it
  • do not trust ANY feature until you verified it is working as expected
  • have a look at the bug tracker, especially the older unfixed bugs and how they deal with bugs and how they release bugfixes
  • have a look how they deal with bugs from older versions
  • check how it is working if you're using something else than Apache Tomcat

Just one thing which is symptomatic: I opened a bug on 11 Aug 2008 with a XSS vulnerability. First they tried to say that it isn't one, because they're doing some strange stuff instead of HTML-Escaping which should prevent this. Then I proved it's vulnerability and reopened it. It was accepted then but it is still unfixed 4 years later.

Another bug I remember: When you restrict access to parts of the forum to a user group only that group can see that forum. That's good. But when a user creates a new topic inside such a restricted forum this topic was accessable by everyone by default except the OP checked a checkbox in advanced options when creating that topic. So having the URL of that topic everyone could read it even when the forum where this topic is placed in has access restrictions. oO This might be fixed today, but I would not count on it. Nevertheless it shows how carefully you've to verify any feature if it is really suitable for your purpose.

Well, this all might be better nowadays. My experience is some years old. I do not know the other products you mentioned in detail but my recommendation is to NOT use Liferay until you're very sure you really really need it and it is suitable for you.

Features that are not working properly may be enough for impressive presentations but they do not count for production use.

And for the old Liferay version I tend to summarize: All show and no substance.

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