March 29, 2006

Walden uses open source

steve simon writes "Walden Media is a film, television and theatre production company whose driving passion is “to make movies that are inherently educational.” They are best known for their successful 2005 adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ "Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe". The stories they bring to life are drawn from literary classics, recent award-winning novels, and compelling real-life stories. They are complemented by activity guides, enhanced DVDs, field trips, special events, teacher seminars and forums, developed to enhance the educational experiences these productions provide to students, ultimately instilling in them a lifelong enthusiasm for learning.

Walden Media wanted to spur growth in their already burgeoning online community of educators by offering them a broad set of personalized collaboration tools that would allow them to share ideas and inspirations with each other. Walden Media also wanted to strategically draw new users to the community by seamlessly integrating these tools with an attractive Flash-integrated public web site. The company further required that this site be easily maintainable by a distributed team of non-technical content authors and editors. Finally, Walden sought to rely on the same solution to provide users within and outside the company with a single interface for using applications across the entire enterprise.

Would you be interested in how Liferay’s technology empowered Walden Media to help teachers bring inspiration to the classroom?


“Chronicles of Narnia” Producers Gives Liferay
Leading Role in Its Public, Community Web Sites
Web Portal Technology Speeds Development of Walden Media’s Collaboration Tools
For Parents and Educators; Company Says Needs are met at “Fraction of the Cost”

LOS ANGELES, CA – Liferay, a leading provider of enterprise-class open source software products and solutions, announces that Walden Media, the Hollywood production company responsible for hit movies such as “Holes” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” has chosen Liferay’s web portal technology to power both its public web site as well as its online portal for educators. Using Liferay Portal, Walden Media is able to support an international online community interested in using the company’s films to inspire children to read and learn.

Walden Media was founded with the mission “to make movies that are inherently educational.” The four-year old company quickly made a name for itself with films such as “Holes” and “Because of Winn Dixie” before hitting the big time with its blockbuster, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” produced in association with The Walt Disney Company.

Key to Walden Media’s strategy is its close relationships with schools and the literary community. Teachers, librarians and authors are all consulted on the source material that drives most projects; the same partners are then provided with a wealth of curriculum and resources built around the theatrical release. In everything it does, Walden Media is consumed with helping young adults develop a lifelong interest in learning.

To that end, Walden Media wanted to expand its already burgeoning web presence serving teachers, administrators, parents and youth leaders. Its requirements were fourfold: one, to offer these users a broad set of personalized collaboration tools so they could share ideas and strategies with each other; two, to integrate these tools within an attractive, Flash-integrated public web site; three, to make it easy for non-technical content authors and editors to maintain the site; and four, to create a single web interface that would allow users both inside and outside the company to use enterprise applications.

Liferay Portal was the development tool Walden Media chose for its ambitious Internet needs. “Liferay’s sound architecture and standards compliance truly make it shine as a platform for both application and content aggregation,” said Daniel Kim, Director of Web Development for Walden Media. “It was the only solution we evaluated that met all of our business and service-level requirements, and it did so at a small fraction of the cost of commercial alternatives.”

Liferay Portal exceeds at enabling enterprises to easily aggregate disparate applications into a single, easy-to-use and attractive web interface. Its array of out-of-the-box portlets enabled Walden Media to immediately offer its members tools to facilitate information exchange, increase productivity, and simplify information access.

“Walden Media wanted to make it easy for content managers to add, edit and manage the site easily, which is what Liferay Portal’s Content Management System is designed to do,” noted Brian Chan, founder and chief software architect at Liferay. “Liferay Portal lets these people save text as templates using XML file extracts. They also can easily track versions and approvals as they go using Liferay Portal’s workflow features.”

Walden Media’s newly-enhanced web site is rich in user features. In addition to showcasing new and upcoming films using Flash multimedia technology, the site provides curriculums for download as well as interactive applets for creating customized classroom worksheets, book plates, certificates and stickers. By completing a free registration, users can also access the community area where they can post questions and suggestions about leveraging Walden Media titles in schools and libraries.

Liferay Portal has become a critical component of Walden Media’s Service Oriented Architecture strategy. With the success of Liferay Portal’s various portal tools, the studio continues to leverage the new platform as a means of providing role-based application access for its user community.

For more information about the Liferay Portal open source portal development tool, including how to download the software, visit

About Liferay:
Liferay is a leading provider of high-value, open source software products that help firms optimize their business, increase productivity, and differentiate themselves from the competition. The company’s flagship product, Liferay Portal, is an enterprise-class portal development tool designed to handle the most demanding applications while ensuring scalability and robust performance for firms across all industries. Liferay monetizes its business by offering expert support, training, and professional services for its no-cost products; its corporate philosophy emphasizes making a difference in the world by supporting respected non-profit organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse and World Vision through regular financial support. The privately-held company is headquartered in Los Angeles. For more information about Liferay, please visit"

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