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Liferay 7.1 – Check out what we know so far

Peter MesottenPeter Mesotten
A couple of weeks ago at Liferay Devcon in Amsterdam, Liferay unveiled their plans concerning their next release for the first time. The most striking developments in Liferay 7.1 are a total revamp of the CMS and the way pages are composed, a full-fledged set of e-commerce modules and interesting expansions to the forms engine.
This blogpost is the first in a series that discusses these developments.

How it all started

The CMS in Liferay started as a sponsored expansion of the at the time existing portal engine somewhere in the nillies. During the next few years, the CMS continuously became more powerful and flexible.
The CMS in Liferay 4 (2006)

The CMS in Liferay 4 (2006)

Even so, it stayed intrinsically connected to the sometimes limiting architecture of a portal. An article created in the control panel could, for example, only be published on a page by configuring the page via a portlet. The article’s structure, that determines the fields able to be filled in by an article, had to be determined in advance and wasn’t very flexible. Even though this was all very logical to a developer, it was much less so for the actual user of this system: the content editor.

How users see developers and how developers see users

The best on the market

Liferay has, however, big plans for their CMS in Liferay 7.1. Their mission statement makes this very clear: the site and content management experience have to become the best on the market. According to Jorge Ferrer from Liferay, “Liferay wants to create the best site and content creator ever.”

To make this a reality, Liferay has started identifying the most important users of a present day CMS. There are of course the web developers who know everything about HTML and CSS. There are also the designers who create beautiful environments. Finally, there is the marketeer, who focuses primarily on the content. The new CMS will only be successful if it is able to to gratify the needs of each of these three profiles.

Web developer, designer and marketer
Let’s quickly go over some of the most important planned changes to realize this goal.

Page fragments

Liferay realizes that it should renounce the requirement that pages need to built from portlets in order to make the CMS truly user-friendly. This is why they are introducing page fragments: building blocks in HTML, CSS and JavaScript that can easily be combined into a page.

Via the built-in ‘fragment editor’, web developers are able to implement a fragment. Afterwards, some parts of this fragment can be made editable and translatable. A marketer can then fill these dynamic fields in, inline, with actual data, and this without the intervention of a (back-end) developer.

Page fragments image
This is a much more flexible way of working compared to the present process of working with portlets, structures and articles. This is especially true for the marketer, since they don’t have to leave the page anymore and are able to adjust content on the fly!

Content centric page templates

Via a visual editor, page fragments can be included into a page template. This template can then be used as the basis for different pages. Each page can then provide its own value for the dynamic elements in the different page fragments.
Content centric template image
Since these page templates are reusable, they will be made available in the Liferay Marketplace and can be valorized.

Other improvements

Next to the new site and content management, there will be extra tools for SEO optimization. A translation engine will be provided to reduce the effort needed to provide translations. Additionally, navigation menus will be easier to manage, since it is possible in Liferay 7.1 to create multiple menus and pages belonging to multiple menus.

Excellent! So… when?

Even though Liferay hasn’t announced a release date for Liferay 7.1 yet, it’s very likely this will happen in the second half of 2018.
It's done when it's done
The new CMS won’t be the only novelty in the newest Liferay version. In a next blog, I’ll zoom in further on the second big announcement: Liferay Commerce.

 

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