A couple of weekends ago I had my first experience customizing a Liferay site. I wrote a very simple theme to change the standard look & feel and I also wrote some portlets in several differente languages. The goal was to analyze which portlet technology was the best to suit our needs.
About the portlets, we needed to write a portlet that pulls the content from an external service via REST calls and render it nicely using some kind of templates. These were the attempts I made and my conclusións:
- Portlet written in Java: this was the obvious choice. The advantages was full access to Liferay API and easyness to integrate the portlet with the SDK stanrdard procedures. The disadvantages were, well, it has to be written in Java. We are far less productive in Java that with other languages. Just for making an HTTP request is quite involved. Hopefully Liferay has APIs for making this easier.
- Portlet written in Python: Our last try was writting the portlet in Python. First we had to update the Jython jar that was included in Liferay since it was a little bit old. Then we added the jyson jar to the jython jar itself to have support for json parsing. We also used Liferay Network APIs since we couldn't import urllib2 from Python. Finally we even managed to use the Python debugger (PDB) by running Tomcat in the foreground. (bin/catalina.sh run)