Documenting Your Work With Liferay

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 19, 2013

I’m generally adverse to large software bundles, especially ones that are aimed at businesses. All too often they are a cludgy mess of disjointed and barely related applications that have been thrown together. Not so with Liferay, Liferay is an open source portal that actually makes sense.

My coworkers have been pushing me to adopt the new Liferay Wiki for documentation and collaboration. I resisted, of course, because I prefer keeping most everything in plain text files on my desktop. My hands are hardwired at this point to plug in Vim keyboard commands, and using command line search with ZSH and grep always finds me what I’m looking for. However, no matter how much I’d like to stay doing things the way I’ve always done them, to keep current and relevant, and to actually know what everyone else is up to, I had to adopt the wiki.

The Liferay administrator was actually a bit sneaky about it, enticing me with dropbox like folder syncing between machines that would automatically upload my documentation to the server, where it would be indexed by the Lucine search engine and made available to the rest of the team. After switching over to Linux, it became necessary to start putting the new documentation on the wiki proper, and I’ve not looked back since.

Of course, the Liferay admin did do the right thing and disabled the horrible WYSIWYG text editor. We now write all of our documentation in either Creole syntax, or in Markdown, which is converted over to straight HTML before posting. This way, I can still do my writing in Vim, still keep my text files locally, and just copy and paste to the wiki when I’m ready.

The wiki component of the Liferay Portal is a very small part of the entire package. Liferay includes a fully featured CMS, a unified document repository, message boards, forums, blogs, instant messaging, and a host of other features. After using Liferay for a few days, it is easy to see how it could replace many features of desktop office applications.

There are very few things that actually need to be printed in the office these days. For printing documents, applications like LibreOffice and Microsoft Word are still necessary, but when the main goal of these applications is to share information within the company, a more modern, centralized approach makes sense. Information is the life blood of an organization, and the faster it travels, the easier it is to maintain, and the more reliable it’s storage is the better. Liferay’s open source core ensures that it will be around for many years to come, and that it can be depended on to be robust and feature rich. If your organization is researching centralized information management, or if they are even considering outsourcing, Liferay Portal is well worth considering.

And it will help get your vital information out of the scattered text files on your hard drive.