Creating the Web Project

Building the Web Front-End

Step 1 of 11

Your first step is to create another Liferay Module Project. Modules are the core building blocks of Liferay DXP applications. Every application is made from one or more modules. Each module encapsulates a functional piece of an application. Multiple modules form a complete application.

Modules can be web modules or OSGi modules. Since you’ll be creating a Liferay MVC Portlet, you’ll create an OSGI module. The OSGi container in Liferay DXP can run any OSGi module. Each module is packaged as a JAR file that contains a manifest file. The manifest is needed for the container to recognize the module. Technically, a module that contains only a manifest is still valid. Of course, such a module wouldn’t be very interesting.

You already created Service Builder modules. Now you’ll create your MVC Portlet module. For the purpose of this tutorial, you’ll create your modules inside your Liferay Workspace.

  1. In Liferay Dev Studio DXP, select FileNewLiferay Module Project.

  2. Complete the first screen of the wizard with the following information:

    Figure 1: Complete the New Module Project wizard.

    Figure 1: Complete the New Module Project wizard.

    • Enter guestbook-web for the Project name.
    • Use the Gradle Build type.
    • The Liferay version is 7.2.
    • Select mvc-portlet for the Project Template.

    Click Next.

  3. On the second screen of the wizard, enter Guestbook for the component class name, and for the package name. Click Finish.

Note that it may take a while for Dev Studio DXP to create your project, because Gradle downloads your project’s dependencies for you during project creation. Once this is done, you have a module project named guestbook-web. The mvc-portlet template configured the project with the proper dependencies and generated all the files you need to get started:

  • The portlet class (in the package you specified)
  • JSP files (in /src/main/resources)
  • Language properties (also in /src/main/resources)

Your new module project is a portlet application. You’ll learn what that is in a moment, but first there’s some housekeeping to do.

In larger projects, it is important to have all of your files and modules well organized. Since the guestbook-web module really goes with your Service Builder modules, it should be in the guestbook folder.

  1. In the Project Explorer, right-click on guestbook-web and select Move.

  2. In the window that appears, click Browse, choose the guestbook folder and then click OK.

Your guestbook-web folder now appears in the structure with the other modules.

Figure 2: After you move it, all of your modules are in the same folder..

Figure 2: After you move it, all of your modules are in the same folder..

You’re now ready to begin writing your front-end, but first some explanation is in order.

What is a Portlet?

Web applications can be simple or complex: they might display an article or calculate your taxes. These applications run on a platform that provides application developers the building blocks they need to make applications.

Figure 3: Many Liferay applications can run at the same time on the same page.

Figure 3: Many Liferay applications can run at the same time on the same page.

Liferay DXP provides a platform that contains common features needed by today’s applications, including user management, security, user interfaces, services, and more. Portlets are one of those basic building blocks. Often a web application takes up the entire page. Portlets can do this or share the page with many applications at the same time. Liferay DXP’s framework takes this into account at every step.

What is a Component?

Liferay MVC Portlets are Components. If a module (sometimes also called a bundle) encapsulates pieces of your application, a component is the object that contains the core functionality. A Component is managed by a component framework or container. Components are deployed inside modules, and they’re created, started, stopped, and destroyed as needed by the container. What a perfect model for a web application! It can be made available only when needed, and when it’s not, the container can make sure it doesn’t use resources needed by other components.

In this case, you created a Declarative Services (DS) component. With Declarative Services, you declare that an object is a component, and you define data about the component so the container knows how to manage it. A default configuration was created for you; you’ll examine it later.

Deploying the Application

Even though all you’ve done is generate it, the guestbook-web project is ready to be built and deployed.

  1. Make sure that your server is running, and if it isn’t, select it in Dev Studio DXP’s Servers pane and click the start button (Start Server).

  2. After it starts, drag and drop the guestbook-web project from the Project Explorer to the server.

    Figure 4: Drag and drop the module.

    Figure 4: Drag and drop the module.

  3. Open a browser and navigate to Liferay DXP (http://localhost:8080 by default).

    If this is your first time starting Liferay DXP, you’ll go through a short wizard to set up your server. In this wizard, make sure you use the default database (Hypersonic). Although this database isn’t intended for production use, it works fine for development and testing.

  4. Click the menu button at the top left and select Site BuilderPages.

  5. Click the add button at the top right to add a Public Page.

  6. Choose Widget Page and name it Guestbook.

  7. Choose the One Column layout and click Save.

  8. Click Go to Site on the left, and then navigate to your new Guestbook page.

  9. Click Add (Add Widget) in the upper right hand corner.

  10. Select Widgets. In the Applications list, your application appears in the Sample category. Its name is Guestbook.

Figure 5: This is your new page with the Guestbook application that you created.

Figure 5: This is your new page with the Guestbook application that you created.

Now you’re ready to jump in and start developing your Guestbook portlet.

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