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Using Liferay as a Social Platform

Whether you plan to build a social network or enable social applications as part of your overall user experience, Liferay Portal has the tools to make those features work for you. Starting with a suite of applications–including a profile summary, activities feeds, social requests, a wall, and more–and rounding things out with an API to handle relationships between users as well as publish their activities to each other, Liferay Portal helps you implement common features of social networks to enhance your existing site.

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Figure 1.7: Liferay Portal provides feeds of social activities. These feeds can contain entries from any of Liferay’s built-in applications or applications that you write.

Social relationships within Liferay Portal are ideally suited for many different kinds of implementations, whether you’re building a public social network or want to enable social features in your corporate Intranet. Users can create relationships within the system, allowing them to see updates from those whose activity they need to track. That’s far more powerful than having them subscribe to multiple individual RSS feeds or visit multiple profiles, because the system keeps track of the updates from those with whom you have a relationship, automatically.

More than this, however, Liferay is a great integration platform for social applications. It fully supports the OpenSocial framework. You can use Liferay Portal’s built-in OpenSocial gadget editor to create and serve your own OpenSocial gadgets.

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Figure 1.8: Liferay Portal’s OpenSocial gadget editor lets you rapidly create social applications that can be served across the web to any other OpenSocial container.

Liferay Portal also supports the creation of Facebook applications; in fact, no additional coding is necessary to publish your Liferay applications on Facebook (you would, of course, need to use Facebook’s API to use Facebook-specific features–such as posting on users’ timelines). The only thing you need to do is get an API key and canvas page URL from Facebook.

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Figure 1.9: Any Liferay application can be published to multiple social networks with a few clicks.

As you can see, Liferay Portal is built for social applications: adding social features to your web site, creating a social network of your own, creating social applications to be published on other web sites, or building a social application for Facebook.

As with social applications, Liferay Portal is also an easy to use, robust platform for any web application you’re considering writing. In addition to this, Liferay Portal is easily configured to be used as a shared hosting platform for multiple web sites. Let’s look at the benefits you can reap by using Liferay Portal in these ways.

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