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Liferay 7 Alpha 1 - the beginning of a brand new user experience

As announced in my last blog post, the period of our milestones has finished and we are getting into the launch field with the release of Liferay 7 alpha 1. We appreciate all the feedback from the people downloading the milestones and participating in the Community Expedition program. If you haven’t sent your feedback yet, it’s never too late to make Liferay the best fit possible for your needs :)

Most of our cross-functional teams have been focused lately on trimming down the known bugs, since delivering a high quality release is our #1 goal for Liferay 7. But don’t think for a second that this alpha 1 is going to be boring to test. On the contrary, since it is the first release where the Lexicon Experience Language has started to surface after many months of hard work. And it’s done it through the front door :)

Lexicon - the new Liferay Experience Language

You may be wondering, what is Lexicon? Lexicon provides designers and developers with a set of patterns (visual and interaction) that are connected to each other and focused on the Simplicity, Efficiency, Consistency, and Beauty. These patterns can be carefully combined, like lego pieces, to obtain the desired user experiences.

Lexicon is a new design language designed to be fluid and extensible while providing a complete collection of visual and interaction patterns. It has been created by our UX team to create outstanding user experiences on top of Liferay. Liferay 7 includes an implementation of Lexicon as an extension of the Bootstrap framework.

If you are able to attend DevCon, or one of our upcoming Symposiums, don’t miss the presentations where Lexicon will be formally announced. A brand new website with all the information will be presented and will be launched soon after.

You are curious about how it looks? Here are some screenshots:

Lexicon is design to be stunning and beautiful, optimized for the most common operations and taking the best from the most popular modern UI patterns out there.

 

Liferay-Seven---Desktop-and-tablet.png

It’s obviously designed to work well with tablets...

Liferay-Seven---Blogs---Mobile---Cover.png

And of course with smaller screens too, since it was created with a mobile first approach.

We are working on redesigning the user experience of all of Liferay’s applications (and there are quite a few) to adapt it to Lexicon. The Alpha 1 release we already have the first version for several administration portlets:

  1. Web content

  2. Forms

  3. Dynamic data list

  4. Tags

  5. Categories

  6. Recycle Bin

  7. Image Selector

The work on this and several other portlets is ongoing so you can expect many further improvements in the upcoming releases. Meanwhile, feel free to keep the feedback coming.

Platform Infrastructure

Liferay 7 now supports Java 8. The main work here has been in testing, which have caught a few minor (but some highly visible) issues. If you download Alpha 1, go ahead and try it with Java 8. If you find any issues please report it.

Additionally we have done some simplifications to the scripting engine. Instead of shipping out of the box with many different language options, from now on Groovy is going to be our scripting engine by default. The other engines are still supported, so in the case you need any other one, you just need to install it.  

Improvements in WCM

Web Content can now be sorted by priority in Asset Publisher

First of all, we would like to thank Jan Eerdekens and its great contribution to make Liferay better. Everything started when he catched Julio Camarero’s attention by writing this forum thread Liferay - The missing parts: web content article priority, we invited him to contribute the improvement and now asset publisher allows you to filter web contents using priority. We love our community!!! You are great guys!!

The priority of a web content can now be set within Web Content administration, editing the web content and setting the priority within the Categorization options:


The Navigation portlet gets bootstrap super powers

A set of different bootstrap nav styles have been included in the navigation portlet as application displays templates. From the configuration option in the navigation portlet, those styles can be selected to decide which style will be applied to the page name within the site.

 

Ability to group Site Pages

This is a commonly requested feature and common extension that is now provided out of the box. Liferay supports having an unlimited number of site pages organized in a hierarchy, but up until now all pages were assumed to have some content.

Now, site administrators can create pages of type “Node” (tentative name, suggestions welcome) that have the only purpose of grouping child pages.

By having this new page type the default theme can be smart about it and...

  1. Don’t show a link to it, instead make it a drop down

  2. Only show it in the navigation once it has some child elements

If you were hard-coding this type of behaviour for specific pages in your custom themes, there is no longer a need to do so. That will make your themes much more reusable!

 

Improvements in Calendar & Workflow

Workflow of calendar events can be configurable via Kaleo

We added a new resource “Calendar Event” in the Workflow configuration options, there you can select the workflows that calendar events have to follow

 

Later, when you create events in the different calendars you have access or you manage, they will follow the assigned workflow to them, and those events can be managed by the user from “My workflow tasks” option menu:

 

The user can assign to herself the tasks, update the due date or it can assign it to other users who have same roles as her. A comment can also be included on the assignment pop up window:



In addition to these highlighted improvements, Alpha 1 includes +100 stories finished since M7 was released the last month.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and download Alpha 7 now from sourceforge and keep the feedback coming.



Esther Sanz & Jorge Ferrer

Hi,

We are analyzing a new UI design for our existing Liferay site. We use Liferay 6.1.2 EE GA2.

Do you know of any issues using the Lexicon library now?

I see a repository on GitHub at:
https://github.com/liferay/lexicon

Is there a way to access the library already built for use? Will we need to install Bootstrap?

Thanks!
Hey Raymond,

I don't know of any issues with Lexicon in any version other than 7, but just because I don't think anyone has tried yet emoticon

It's probably going to be challenging for you, since you may find many small issues, but I don't foresee any big reason why you couldn't get it to work.
Hi, great news, looking forward to try all new stuff emoticon

As front-end dev I am especially interested into Lexicon and while I tried to follow steps described in https://github.com/liferay/lexicon I can report some problems with it (probably their primary cause is running npm install on Windows):

1. using latest Node JS (v4.1.2) i got following warnings (non-critical, I think):

npm WARN package.json lexicon@0.1.19 No repository field.
npm WARN deprecated metalsmith-templates@0.7.0: This package was split into two simpler plugins: metalsmith-layouts and metalsmith-in-place
npm WARN deprecated gulp-clean@0.3.1: use gulp-rimraf instead

2. major dependency is required (and not mentioned) - Python.

I will update this in case it will be usefull for other Windows users emoticon

BR!
Yeah - as I imagined - installing this on Windows is not a good idea.

As somebody stated: "Welcome to Windows! Where it's always dependency hell.".:

ttf2woff2 (Convert TTF files to WOFF2 ones (NodeJS wrapper for the Google WOFF2 project)) fails to build if you do not have both Python (but < version 3) and (Visual) C++ compiler.

Lexicon looks ok without it (at first glance) but still - I don't like errors emoticon

Waaaay easier to do things on Linux (also dependency wise).

VirtualBOX here I come emoticon
Hey Bogdan,

Thanks for your interest in Lexicon! Note that what you are getting in that repo is the Bootstrap based implementation of Lexicon that will ship with Liferay 7. But you don't need to build it yourself to use it. Just download the alpha and you have the CSS classes available for your use.

We are also working on a website for Lexicon that will explain its concepts, patterns and how to use them to build great user experiences. It should be ready in a few weeks.
Hey Jorge, thank you!

Yes, I've noticed it's "compiled", great.

Looking forward to the new lexicon site.

Are you also thinking of implementing Bootstrap 4 (it's in alpha now but I recon it will be soon launched) ?
Hey Bogdan,

The Lexicon team has been testing with Bootstrap 4 since the first preliminary release was made available. The good news is that it's not so different from Bs 3 as that one was from Bs 2. Almost everything works with little changes.

Unfortunately the release dates of Bootstrap 4 will not allow us to include it with Liferay 7, but the team is confident that it will be possible to create some sort of adaptation layer so that those that want to upgrade later can do it emoticon
Hello Friends,

I thought to use new liferay 7 alpha 1 version bundled with tomcat version. So I downloaded the liferay 7 a1 version bundled with tomcat, After Extracting the zip file i ran the "startup.bat" The server starts properly. And i have created one liferay instance. Then it said to restart the server, So i shutdown the tomcat server by clicking on "Shutdown.bat" then restarted the server again by opening the "startup.bat" file. Now the server runs normally after it opens the portlets like sign in portlet are not visible i get an error like: "search portlet is temporarily not available". This is similar to the other Portlets as well. Once i login using test,test user I didnt get any "User Agreements page". Instead i get a text "$theme.wrapPortlet("portlet.vm", $content_include)" and the header and footer remains the same.

May i know what is the issue and how to resolved this.

I tried changing the Java JDK to latest 1.7 from 1.8 and also jre and set the path variables correctly "JAVA_HOME" and "JRE_HOME" and also set the path variables and removed the duplicate path variables as well.

Liferay 6.2 works fine if i use the same procedures which i mentioned above to run the liferay. But it is not working in the sameway for liferay 7.

Still its not working.

Can anyone help me on fixing this asap. I Really wanted to try out the new Liferay 7. But Because of this error i am stuck in the very beginning emoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticonemoticon

Attached the screenshot of my error and also attached the log which i got while i am refreshing the page . Please check and help me to fix it ASAP
Hey Rehan,

Thanks a lot for reporting this error. It is very useful for us in order to identify potential bugs early on.

In this case we would need to see the errors that are most probably being shown in the logs to be able to diagnose the issue. However, instead of posting here, I would like to invite you to join the Community Expedition at https://dev.liferay.com/web/liferay-7-community-expedition and explain your problem (with logs) in its feedback forum. That way you will be able to reach directly the back-end infrastructure team, the one responsible for the aspects you are having trouble with.

Thanks again.