Liferay touts its latest SDK release under a banner that suggests it is suited for more "sophisticated" mobile application development. The firm, describing itself as an "open source portal software company", has released its Mobile SDK, which is designed to work with Liferay Portal 6.2 and the major mobile app platforms including Android and iOS.
Liferay CEO Bryan Cheung talks about the "immediacy" of the smartphone and says features of his firm's SDK include authentication against a Liferay Portal instance, exception handling, JSON parsing, an auto-generated SDK (which is template based), and compatibility with custom portlets.
Cheung claims that there are three key reasons to use the SDK when building mobile apps: common shared services such as log-in, handling errors, and getting content to and from the mobile app (using JSON); use of Liferay's built-in content and collaboration features in the mobile app; and use of custom objects or integrations in the mobile app.
"A company whose CRM is already integrated with Liferay will find it much easier with the Mobile SDK to create a mobile app that browses customer records, and each sales rep will have personalized access to their customers. Mobile apps designed by retail companies for their customers could take advantage of shopping catalog integration to quickly develop a native mobile e-commerce app, and enhance the experience with the phone's camera and location services," he said.
Long-term, Liferay hopes its portal can be used as a central hub that aggregates data and interactions from mobile devices to help companies understand the needs and preferences of their customers and employees.
Company CTO Michael Young thinks that developers don't want to keep re-writing the same code for several mobile apps, and they want to consolidate integration points behind a single system. "The solutions we've come up with for making websites and portals easier to develop cross over well to mobile app development," he said.
The Liferay Mobile SDK is available as an Eclipse plugin that can be installed into Liferay Developer Studio, Liferay IDE, or a developer's own Eclipse environment. The Mobile SDK is also available for download at GitHub.