Liferay has released the latest version (7.1) of its Digital Experience Platform (DXP), which lets developers and enterprises build portals, intranets, websites, integration platforms, self-service sites and more.
As part of its announcement, the company also unveiled a new Liferay Commerce product for use on top of DXP that lets companies conduct business-to-business (B2B) transactions more efficiently, as well as new analytics cloud capabilities that can help businesses better understand their customer activity. Liferay's applications are based on open source, which allows businesses to modify and customize the code so it meets their requirements.
For channel partners, the new commerce and cloud analytics additions will be useful for end-user customers because they will be able to gain deeper insights into their data and operations, Ed Chung, Liferay's vice president of product management, told Channel Futures.
"We're investing in that and hope we can really better serve our customers, a lot of whom are in the B2B space, by delivering on those transactional experiences for their customers," said Chung. "Some machine-learning capabilities are provided, such as just-in-time inventory management, so you don't have too much or not enough. We want to provide more ways that companies can better manage their customer experiences."
The new analytics cloud capabilities provide Liferay's customers the ability to understand their clients better by having a single view of their customers and their requirements, while also gaining insights into customer-focused content performance, he said.
"Other companies offer analytics, too, but this allows customers to build off the capabilities of the existing Liferay products" they are already using, added Chung.
Version 7.1 of DXP adds a myriad of improvements, including a new fragment editor that allows development teams to be more flexible by storing page sections as "fragments" and reusing them anywhere within their Liferay sites. The fragment editor, a professional code editor located within the browser, can also be used to create or edit fragments. Development teams may also create fragments using other tools and then import them into Liferay.
A new page editor capability allows business users to visually lay out page designs, save them as reusable templates and then create and add in unstructured content as needed, according to Liferay.
DXP 7.1 also gets mobile and cross-platform development capabilities through the ability to now use Apache Cordova or Xamarin to build cross-platform applications from a single code base. That content can then be embedded into applications for mobile use. Sites and applications designed for web can now also be rendered for mobile with no additional code.
Liferay DXP 7.1 is available immediately, while Liferay Commerce is available now in select markets. Liferay Analytics Cloud is in beta and is expected to be generally available in September.
Mike Vertal, CEO of Rivet Logic, a systems integrator and Liferay partner, told Channel Futures that the new Liferay Commerce product will be useful to many of his B2B customers by allowing them to "leverage Liferay DXP for a wide variety of e-commerce transactions and use cases."
By using the new tools to build unique digital customer experiences to enhance their traditional commerce models, "this new capability will allow Rivet Logic's clients to compete on experience and gain a competitive advantage," said Vertal. "We believe that platforms that make it easier for customers to research and buy, coupled with an added layer of intelligence, will become the new e-commerce platforms of choice."
A key attribute of Liferay Commerce is that it will "support complex needs and a variety of product types and pricing rules as well as deep integrations with external systems," he said. "The commerce product will also seamlessly integrate with existing Liferay customer environments and enable clients to manage complex buying workflows and multiple buyers within an organizational hierarchy with relative ease."
Vertal said he also expects it will help Rivet Logic address gaps seen in previous products they tried to use to help solve customer problems, such as expensive and hard-to-maintain third-party integrations that didn't work.
"Now we will be able to leverage a homogeneous product that is pre-integrated with a leading digital experience platform to build unique B2B commerce solutions with a simplified technology stack."
More businesses are investigating and using open-source applications to solve their IT and business challenges, said Vertal.
"It is our experience that more and more enterprises are looking for innovative, modern, open-source technologies in this space to achieve more flexibility, increase the pace of innovation and reduce their cost of operations," he said.