Sunday, February 20, 2011

Social Auditioners

After several more weeks of faffing about we now have the Social side of Liferay working so that our users can request friendships and once "friended" they can post on walls, get updates on activities, etc. We also have an Amazon bookshop, Google Adsense, YouTube integration and a conceptual model of the main default communities. Also, email notifications for new users and password resets, etc. and Chat are working nicely. We now have to play around with site and ensure that the default behaviour is appropriate and, sadly, begin to find the limitations of out-of-the-box Liferay portlets.

Aside from that, we've been busy updating an "Audition Pieces" database and a database of specialist Drama Schools in the UK along with the audition fees, main requirements, etc.

Oh, and the and the are both now registered with our ISP and pointing to our server; and we have the router routing to dev and production boxes based on port numbers.

We have our own "FavIcon" too, thanks to the advice on the Liferay forum about this. And it does look much nicer.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Up and walking

..or crawling at any rate. Well, we now have a site that "exists" and rapidly approaching an Alpha version. It is, however, nothing related to medicine. As I mentioned in a previous post, I felt that life is too short to struggle to develop highly complex data structures and design extremely user-friendly UIs in our spare time - we needed something that would attract a higher number of loyal users for a proportionately smaller amount of development effort. The solution was to steal my wife's idea of creating a social network site specialising in services for the Performing Arts; she is a drama specialist and is aware of number of applications that might attract the interest of teachers, students and professionals in that market. So now we will soon be in business as ", the performers network". Actually, this is still - the .com address is not set up yet.

We have a dedicated test server on which the site is hosted and even a dedicated development server which is currently hosted at Both these sites are likely to go down at random moments as we are not yet ready for real users.

Getting this far has been a struggle and we've had to learn a little more than we wanted to about Routers and Virtual Networks, etc. but we are live at last with Ubuntu 64bit server v10.4, MySQL, Glassfish and Liferay.

This latest version of Liferay (6.0x) is excellent, the "control panel" is a great innovation and the new social tools such the Wall and an updated Chat utility bring Facebook-like functionality quite easily into Liferay world. There's an annoying bug with the Blog and Message Board that requires an awkward work-around unfortunately but we got the workaround working so its "invisible" now.

Our next steps are to confirm our themes, community pages and default behaviour and then start to add our unique applications. Still a long way to go but it already looks like a proper site.