Arena 2.0:Arena and Liferay

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Arena and Liferay

This article provides an overview of the relationship between Arena and Liferay. Specific aspects of the relationship are described in more detail in other articles, for which links are provided here.

Liferay is the content management system (CMS) used to carry Arena. Liferay is a [portlet] based CMS. It is an open source system based on the java platform. Liferay in itself has a lot of functionality that can be used in the portal and added to this is the whole Arena functionality. To learn more about Liferay administration see the Liferay Portal Administrator's Guide Icon-pdf.png.

An Arena system comprises the following two main parts:

  • Back-end functionality. This may be a library, museum or archive system, with a public interface to the catalogues, patron transactions such as loans and reservations, and Web 2.0 functions such as ratings, reviews, tags and forums.
  • Information base system. This is where the authority may publish informaiton and offerings to the public, as an alternative to the services at the physical institution. This information may be combined with the aforementioned Web 2.0 functionality.

Arena builds these into a website that institutions may use to present themselves, make their services available on the Internet, and enable users to contribute additional information.

Inevitably, some functionality may be present in a CMS that is not available in Arena. Use Liferay solutions to add this functionality.


A portlet is an independent function program . Portlets It may be placed on a page in Arena, one or more times and also on many pages. A page in a Liferay site is made up of several portlets that together form the complete information and/ortransaction service provided by that page.

There are about 40 Arena-specific portlets that may be used to serve the needs for an ALM (archive, library, museum) site. They may include specific services, and may also enable integration of different kinds of information that the relevant institutions offer. For example, this may mean reading suggestions connected to stock holding information; article themes connected to catalogue records; forum discussions on titles or other material; and so on.

Customization of the default Arena setup

Arena's default delivery setup includes a structure of pages and portlets that provide Arena's essential services. Do not make major changes to the structure, as there are built-in relationships between portlets and pages that may mistakenly be broken. It is possible to make changes to the structure, without damaging relationships are necessary for full functionality. However, you may add pages add portlets to existing pages, and in general build the site to meet your requirements. To learn more see Administering portlets.

Configuration of portlets

All portlets have a set of configurations. All configurations apply to the portlet instance only, which means that if a portlet is used several different times on a page or on different pages it can (and has to) be configured for each one. This means that a portlet can look and behave differently according to what is needed in the specific instance. Adding a portlet once again does not pick up any configuration from other instances.

All portlets have some different sets of configuration:

  • Look and feel This comprises high end information like what title to show in different languages to the very basic as a specific CSS styling for this instance of the portlet.
  • Authorities This refers to the Liferay user, who is allowed to do what with the portlet.
  • Specific rules and actions for a specific type of portlet These of course differ between the different portlets depending on the functionality.

Arena portlets also have an Arena preference setup relating specifically to the functionalities available in Arena. For each portlet there is a default set up of the preferences which is applied for each instance. These preferences and the defaults are described in Arena wiki (log in required).

Language handling

Arena and Liferay use a language system that makes it possible for pages and portlets therein to work in different languages. By using this system, text, such as labels, headers, information and so on, displayed in pages and portlets will change automatically when a different language is selected by the user. This system also handles Web content, such as articles, which may be available in different languages. This means that it is not necessary to have a set of pages and portlets in different languages - each language is handle automatically within each page and portlet.

Liferay portlet texts are available in many languages, and are included in the Liferay bundle. For Arena portlets all texts are delivered in English, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, German, and Polish.

You may apply your own text variants to replace the ones delivered. Do this directly in the portlets. Changes to texts in a portlet will apply to all instances of the portlet. To learn more see Administering portlets.


The general layout and styling of a Liferay site is handled by using a theme. Each theme comprises a set of CSS. Each theme has a basic configuration that applies to all pages, including the page layout, column arrangement, colouring, and the header bar. The the also controls menu handling.

A theme may exist in different colour schemes variants. Each colour scheme may include different colour selections and rules, but must conform to the same basic structure of the theme.

To learn more about styling and the themes available with Arena see Styling.

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