Liferay-based Community Portal for Group Collaboration and Education

  • Custom web portal with a built-in CMS
  • Integration with payment services VeriSign, PayPal, and PayEx
  • Various portlets that support multiple user activities, including account, profile and contacts management
Expertise
Web & Enterprise Portals
Content & Document Management
eLearning & Online Training
Verticals
Education

Iflexion sets up a web portal that enables users to participate in communities and subscribe to educational services.

  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • PayEx
  • PayPal
  • VeriSign
  • Zimbra
  • MySQL
Calendar
7
Duration
Months
Gears
22
Efforts
Person-months

Context

The Customer, a provider of education and communication IT solutions, wanted to offer additional possibilities to their clients, such as creating online communities uniting users with similar interests.

To expand the customer reach and establish a deeper connection with their audience, the Customer was looking for community portal development. The future solution was to include an external-facing module for users to register and subscribe to various services, as well as an internal administration module for the Customer to manage user accounts and groups.

Solution

To reduce the solution’s cost, Iflexion offered to couple the Customer’s existing solution with open source components. This allowed for a quicker web portal development, the solution’s stability and user-friendliness, along with the ability to change the portal layout and apply custom UI themes.

A built-in CMS allows the solution administrators to change static information, such as news and advertisements on the portal. The portal is integrated with external systems via LDAP user database and XML services, including payment platforms VeriSign, PayPal, and PayEx), as well as an email server.

All in all, the selected approach to community portal development brought several benefits:

  • Rapid application development, owing to the reuse of product-like Liferay portal
  • Easy integration with external applications and payment services
  • Simplicity of the solution management and maintenance
  • Custom look-and-feel

Development Process

Based on the functional requirements stated by the Customer, Iflexion decided to develop the portal as a set of independent JSR-168 portlets, with Liferay as the portlet engine. Developing the community portal, the team also used Spring and Hybernate frameworks, which ensured that the final solution is secure and flexible.

Apart from the Liferay Portal used as a web module, the solution leverages Zimbra as a mail module.

As the portal subscribers were supposed to make automatic or manual monthly payments, Iflexion used VeriSign to support secure recurring transactions. When adding other payment services, such as PayPal and PayEx, the developers introduced additional scheduled services on the application side for user subscription management.

As during the community portal development, a new version of Liferay was released, the Customer decided to migrate the portal and get the benefits of the Liferay latest capabilities. Iflexion’s team handled the migration successfully. 

System Highlights

 

The community portal contains a variety of portlets that support multiple user activities.

  • Account Management Portlet enables users to register in the VoIP network and set up their profiles. They can create groups with a single payment account for a small community of users (e.g., a family).
  • Profile Management Portlet allows users to modify their personal info.
  • Administration Portlet enables the administrators to browse and manage the accounts of users and user groups.
  • Contact Search Portlet allows users to search old contacts and establish new ones.
  • Contact List Portlet enables users to manage their contacts.
  • Communities Portlet enables users to manage their memberships in various communities.
  • Customizable layouts provide the possibility to change the portal layout and color scheme to one of the predefined templates.

Results

The developed solution represents a web portal, where people can create their own communities or join existing ones. Additionally, it provides access to educational services provided by the Customer and their partners.

The portal is integrated with three payment services: VeriSign, PayPal, and PayEx which allows end users to select optimal payment methods.

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