My 26th of September at LSNA2016

Here's a running note dump of my day 1 at Liferay Symposium North America 2016, here in Chicago.

This is just to pique your curiosity if you couldn't make it out here AND your interests happen to match mine. Wait for the slide decks and presentations to be shared by Liferay so you get it all.

Keynote (Bryan Cheung)

Bryan did it again, making his point with the same efficiency he preaches. I recalled his keynote from 2015 where he began with a heart-warming picture of children interacting with technology at Disney World, and came full circle with a sobering and grounding message not to lose track of what really matters as we embark on our digital ventures.

This year, Bryan took us through a history lesson on the culture of design – one that cuts across all industries – whereby the average and median population has traditionally been targeted. The challenge he left us with was to heed the need to design to the edges, so that our designs, while scaling for the majority, do not neglect the minority and certainly not the “jagged” reality of the majority as well.

Lots to think about. Relevant keynote.


New Features in Audience Targeting 2.0 – Liferay DXP (Julio Camarero)

Prospects: Converting users who are not yet customers

  • Define segments (audience definitions)
  • Fully renovated UI/UX
  • Create/manage user segments and campaigns
  • Users compartmentalized using:
    • IP addresses
    • Language rules
  • Custom fields
  • Take audience to form to capture as a lead

Recent inactive clients

  • Reports by user segment
  • Excel export capabilities
  • Asset Publisher integration
    • Enable user segment filtering feature in the new Asset Publisher configuration
  • New Simulation experience for user segment matches

Engaging customers

  • Improved campaigns
  • Multiple user segments
  • Campaign-specific content display
  • Measuring via reporting

“I want to check:

How many people watched the banner on the home page

How many people clicked on the link on the home page

How many typed into the form

How many actually completed and submitted the form


Audience Targeting is a framework – fully extensible to meet specific company requirements. Rules tutorials that show how to segment users based on custom rules are available on the wiki, etc.

Experimental app demonstrating:

  • Segment users based on mail keywords (keywords from emails they receive)
  • Targeting users by mood

I was really impressed by the experimental mood-driven targeting app that Julio demonstrated. No better way to say the sky is the limit than show a great (albeit forced) example.

Good stuff!


The ROI of Modularity (Ray Auge)

Ray’s gentle introduction to the struggle behind “IT’s platform for diversification” started to get my attention when he said “coupling exists in the IT industry at many levels, not just between one piece of code and another piece of code…”.

I thought this was a really fresh perspective on thinking about ROI for everyone – from programmers (IT decision makers), all the way up (or out) to executive decision makers.

The real takeaway from Ray’s presentation was to understand the importance of decoupling at ALL levels of IT development through delivery. My paraphrased bullet points are below.

  • Virtualization (decoupling inter-system dependencies and gaining virtual )
  • Polyglot (decoupling developers affinity to implementation language preferences)
  • Microservices ( decoupling systems by adopting clearly documented and stringent contracts between the moving parts)
  • Continuous delivery (decoupling from the unpredictability/variances of time)
  • Modularity (taking different deliverables, mixing them up and being able to get a return on the summation, doing it smartly appears to be the challenge)

“Reinventing yourself every few years is bloody costly”


Leading Your Company’s Digital Transformation (Brian Laird)

I’ve got to say. My boss’s boss’s boss is a fantastic talker. That’s likely not going to impact my raise any, but hey, it IS true!

You should check out this presentation if you are an IT thinker/professional who may be accustomed to thinking about change inside out, with IT as your greatest influencer. Brian forces a broader thinking mindset, outlining the main drivers for digital transformation. Great talk for IT entrepreneurs and decision-makers alike.



Glorious whitefish! What else is there to say!

<insert picture here I was too busy eating to snap a picture of my plate. By the time I realized that, the food was all gone./>


Building a Culture of Trust, with Slack (Andrew Gruhn, Jay Landro)

If there was one presentation for a developer to attend at LSNA16, I think it would have to be this one. I think…

I had heard of Slack from a developer friend and even used it a little bit in the last year with a closed group of friends, but man, the good stuff is beneath the surface.

Andrew introduced Slack features real quick in the light of how his team used slack channels as a step toward dispelling the absolute absence of phatic communication in globally distributed teams.

“Slack is a javascript web app wrapped in electron.”

  • Slack provides integrations with well-known application stacks out three. E.g. Github, giffy. Great use case is when continuous integration can notify an integrated Slack group.
  • Rise of integrations as a service: IFTTT (IF This Then That) and Zapier.
  • They demonstrated a channel named #designideation which showed pictures they snapshotted using the camera from IFTTT.
  • Use of web hooks to setup a simple integration: being able to type a command to slackbot and then have the web hook propagate to another integrated system. E.g. QA person type a command to slackbot which (via a web hook) triggered a build and deployment to the QA servers.
  • Use of Liferay IO – a microservices host – that can be used to expose select operations. These operations could service commands sent to slackbot.
  • A framework for bots: “Slackbot is the language parsing tool within slack.” Worth checking out the “When someone says” and “Slackbot responds” mapping tool feature of Slackbot.
  • A LiferayBot implementation that could be queried by commands via Slack. E.g. “@liferay-bot search for xyz” causes the LiferayBot to perform the search and return a URL to the Search Results on a Liferay DXP instance.



Boost Your Productivity with Web Experience Manager in Liferay DXP

This session was mostly a look at the Control menu in Liferay DXP.

The dockbar has been overhauled. Repeat. The dockbar has been overhauled.

Lots of improvements to navigating around Control Panel and User Account settings. Much improved UX.

Content Authoring improvements include:

  • ease in comparing historic versions of content
  • image selector enhancements (pull an image from a URL and drag-and-drop, inline image editing)
  • a new priority field that can be set in Asset Publisher to bring certain content with higher priority at the top of results
  • new “Restrictions” feature that lets you define what structures can be used for content in a specified folder. (this is pretty cool)
  • new page type called “Page set”. If a page is of type Page Set, then it does not get rendered as a link and gets treated as a true container. Thus we don’t need a hack to make it unclickable. Page sets are not clickable. Sweet!
  • ADTs for breadcrumb and navigation now available (I’ve only ever used Asset Publisher, time I dug into the other ones)
  • A theme can now have a decorator set for it – out of box nifty displays
  • Publishing simplified
  • LAR properties – delete (LAR) on success/failure.

Questions I asked:

  • There is a Restrictions API, right?
    • Not sure.
  • Have you looked into versioning templates?
    • No. (I would love this feature. Note to self to request it via JIRA.)

Jose Dominguez was super-welcoming of emails. Nice, tight presentation.

Coffee break!

Decadent Ice cream brownie. WHAT!?!?

So good.


Protect Your Data! Securing Your Liferay Instance

“One does not simply walk into Mordor”

That is how you begin a discussion of security. Not that the evil lord Sauron is an ideal example of an IT Director persona (no offence meant).

That’s how Jeff Handa began his presentation as he walked through a breadth-first list of common Infrastructure precautions and best practices.

Liferay is just on top of whatever foundation platform we have chosen. So pick a supported platform that is familiar, patched, and monitored.


Upgrading and Redesigning Websites (Ryan Schuhler)

Ryan  talked through the madness of a UI/UX upgrade on top of an actual version upgrade of

“What have I done?”

You know, he mentioned that every upgrade and redesign effort often feels like an existential crisis. For my part, and maybe this says too much about myself, but I have experienced existential crises of earth-shattering proportions with something as simple as a cut-and-paste operation. Again, that’s just me.

He shared a nice checklist of questions to ask yourself before embarking on a redesign/upgrade effort. Lots of good common-sense tips and spectrum of UX options to consider. Great talk for UX designers and primarily front-end developers.

- - - - 

Got to catch the train out. Will post tomorrow's notes... tomorrow!

Write a blog post too!

Write a deep dive into how you use Liferay projects in your technology stack. Or let people know useful tips and tricks for a particular functionality. The Liferay community needs you!

Login or Create an account