8th October 2013 Liferay UK User Group meetup – getting local!

A surprisingly local meetup this time, in Bristol! Thanks to Paul Brown of Jordans for organising this and his interesting talk on using Vaadin as a portlet MVC framework. It was great to finally have opportunity to meet the Gavin Beckett, Chief Enterprise Architect of Bristol City Council. Several of his team were present too, and I wish I had more time to speak to them. Bristol are doing some great work on redeveloping their online transactional services delivery platform and using Liferay Portal to achieve this. It is clear that they are taking time to understand citizen needs and using this knowledge to design a great citizen user experience. Prior to the meetup I had been approached by Digpen organiser Sophie Dennis who as turns out is helping project manage the Bristol on their Liferay Portal implementation. This was a really big surprise to me because I have known Sophie for some time from attending Digpen conferences and Exeter Web Dev meetups, but the topics of these have almost always been PHP or lifestyle related. Liferay user groups have mostly been in London, and a whole different group of developers to me. It is quite exciting that Liferay Portal projects are becoming more commonplace in the south west! A UK user group meetup may be hosted in Exeter in the not too distant future.

I really enjoyed meeting Andrew Long of Technophobia who was also present. To my amazement they were also using a Liferay Portal + Orbeon Forms based architecture and were using this to deliver amazing user experience. I knew this was happening internationally, but I hadn’t yet come across any UK projects like this. Along with their Delivery Partners, WorthIT, Andrew explained how Orbeon Forms have been used on the Technology Strategy Board’s _connect platform to enable multiple users to collaborate on the completion of a single form simultaneously, in a similar fashion to Google Docs.

Ben Brown of South Worcestershire Shared ICT Service was present and gave a talk about how they are  hosting Liferay Portal using the Jelastic cloud. At some point I would really like to explore this hosting option further because it makes installation of the community edition of Liferay Portal a real breeze from the looks of it! I envisage that once Liferay Portal’s upcoming official Liferay Portal OAuth 1.0a provider plug-in has been released, cloud hosting will be on the increase as it will increase the location independence of Liferay Portal implementations. There are definitely some benefits that the UK public sector should take advantage of, but I’ll talk about that another day!

My small contribution…

Liferay Portal and Orbeon Forms integration talkI gave a talk at the user group covered the merits of different Liferay Portal and Orbeon Forms integration approaches. Towards the end of the talk I gave a brief introduction to a Liferay Portal plug-in which I have been developing. I have yet to give it an official name, but let’s call it the OAuth XForms HTTP proxy plug-in for now! In a nutshell the plug-in further enhances integrations by allowing easy consumption of the local Liferay JSON webservices API from an Orbeon portlet (should work with other XForms processors too). And once the aforementioned OAuth 1.0a provider plug-in has been released it will be just as easy to consume the Liferay JSON webservices API of a remote portal as well.

You can find the slides to my talk here.

I’ll blog more about this in the future, but for the moment, if you are facing particular challenges with XForms and OAuth services (with or without Liferay Portal integration) it would be great to hear from you!


If you mildly curious about XForms but wondering why you should care, then you may want to check out the slides from my talk last year covering the W3C XForms standard.

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