Portlet Filters

Portlet filters intercept requests and responses at the start of the portlet request processing phase. Portlet filters are commonly used for these things:

  • Transform content
  • Add or modify request and response attributes
  • Suspend a portlet phase to get user input
  • Audit portlet activity

The javax.portlet.filter package defines a portlet filter interface for each phase. Here are the steps for developing a portlet filter:

  1. Implement the portlet filter interface for the phase it’s intercepting. Here are common interface methods to override:

    doFilter: Here’s where you take action. This method is invoked at the start of the portlet request processing phase. The request and response parameters provide access to portlet content and attributes. The FilterChain parameter can be used to invoke the next filter in the phase.

    init: Initialize the filter. The FilterConfig parameter can be used to prepare the filter.

    destroy: Perform any filter cleanup.

  2. Target the desired portlet(s).

  3. Choose how to prioritize the filter among other filters in the phase:

    • OSGi Declarative Service Component portlet filters use a service ranking property. High ranking filters execute before lower ones.
    • <filter-mapping> element order in a portlet application’s portlet.xml file.
    • The ordinal element value of a filter class annotated with @PortletLifecycleFilter. Low ordinal value filters execute before higher ones.

Below is demonstrated applying multiple filters to a portlet’s render phase. The filters are OSGi Declarative Service (DS) Components, but filters can also be applied to a portlet using a portlet.xml descriptor or a @PortletLifecycleFilter annotation. See the Portlet 3.0 Specification for details. The sample code is available here.

Sample Portlet

The sample portlet MembersListPortlet is a Liferay MVC Portlet that lists names and email addresses when users click its Load Users button. The information is based on Person objects that the portlet class passes to the View template via a request attribute called MembersListPortlet.MEMBERLIST_ATTRIBUTE.

public void loadUsers(ActionRequest actionRequest, ActionResponse actionResponse) {

    actionRequest.setAttribute(MembersListPortlet.MEMBERLIST_ATTRIBUTE, createStaticUserList());

Two render filters are applied to the portlet:

  1. Render filter 1 hides parts of the user email addresses (e.g., for privacy) by modifying the request object.

  2. Render filter 2 logs portlet render phase statistics.

Adding the MemberList portlet to a page and clicking the Load Users button renders each Person’s name and partially hidden email address, thanks to the filter EncodingPersonEmailsRenderFilter.

Sievert Shayne

Vida Jonas

If you set the portlet’s log level to debug, it prints the render phase statistics.

Portlet com_liferay_code_samples_portal_modules_applications_portlets_render_filter_MembersListPortlet rendered in 7791 ms
Portlet com_liferay_code_samples_portal_modules_applications_portlets_render_filter_MembersListPortlet rendered 2 times with an average 356135 ms render time

The first filter modifies portlet content via the request object.

Render filter 1 hides parts of user email addresses

EncodingPersonEmailsRenderFilter is a RenderFilter that hides parts of user email addresses by modifying a request attribute. Here is the class:

        immediate = true,
        property = {
                "" + MembersListPortlet.MEMBERSLIST_PORTLET_NAME,
        service = PortletFilter.class
public class EncodingPersonEmailsRenderFilter implements RenderFilter {

    public void doFilter(RenderRequest request, RenderResponse response, FilterChain chain)
            throws IOException, PortletException {

        //This is executed before the portlet render
                .ifPresent(personList ->
                        request.setAttribute(MembersListPortlet.MEMBERLIST_ATTRIBUTE, ofuscateEmails(personList)));

        // Invoke the rest of the filters in the chain
        //  (it also invokes the Portlet render method if this is the last filter in the chain
        chain.doFilter(request, response);


    private List<Person> ofuscateEmails(List<Person> list) {

    private Person ofuscatePersonEmail(Person person) {
        return new Person(person.getName(),
                          person.getEmail().replaceFirst("(.+)(...)@(...)(.*)", "$1...@...$4"));


    public void init(FilterConfig filterConfig) throws PortletException {


    public void destroy() {


The @Component annotation declares the filter to be an OSGi DS Component. Here are its elements and properties:

immediate = true sets the component ready to start upon being installed.

service = PortletFilter.class defines the component to be a PortletFilter service. = + MembersListPortlet.MEMBERSLIST_PORTLET_NAME links the filter to the target portlet. Note, multiple portlets can be listed.

service.ranking:Integer=1 sets the filter to execute after filters that are ranked higher than 1.

EncodingPersonEmailsRenderFilter implements the RenderFilter interface, overriding the doFilter, init, and destroy methods.

doFilter modifies the attribute MembersListPortlet.MEMBERLIST_ATTRIBUTE’s list of Persons by replacing parts of their email addresses with ellipses (...). It delegates the ofuscatePersonEmail method to do the modifications. Then doFilter invokes chain.doFilter(request, response) to execute the next RenderFilter or next portlet processing phase.

RenderFilter 2 Logs Statistics

MembersListStatsRenderFilter is a RenderFilter that logs the number of times the portlet is rendered and the average render time. Here’s the code:

        immediate = true,
        property = {
                "" + MembersListPortlet.MEMBERSLIST_PORTLET_NAME,
        service = PortletFilter.class
public class MembersListStatsRenderFilter implements RenderFilter {

    //Thread safe - accumulator that keeps the number of times the portlet has been rendered
    private final LongAdder hits = new LongAdder();

    //Thread safe accumulator that keeps total time spent rendering the portlet.
    private final LongAdder accumulatedTimeMs = new LongAdder();

    public void doFilter(RenderRequest request, RenderResponse response, FilterChain chain) throws IOException, PortletException {

        long startTime = System.nanoTime();

        chain.doFilter(request, response);

        long renderTime = (System.nanoTime() - startTime) / 1000;

        if (LOG.isDebugEnabled()) {
            long totalHits = hits.longValue();
            long averageRenderTimeNs = accumulatedTimeMs.longValue() / totalHits;
            LOG.debug("Portlet " + MembersListPortlet.MEMBERSLIST_PORTLET_NAME + " rendered in " + renderTime + " ms");
            LOG.debug("Portlet " + MembersListPortlet.MEMBERSLIST_PORTLET_NAME + " rendered " + hits.longValue()
                    + " times with an average " + averageRenderTimeNs + " ms render time");


    private static final Log LOG = LogFactoryUtil.getLog(MembersListStatsRenderFilter.class);

As with EncodingPersonEmailsRenderFilter, it’s an OSGi DS Component that is a PortletFilter service, starts upon installation, applies to the MembersListPortlet, and has a service ranking. Since its ranking is 100, it is executed before render filter EncodingPersonEmailsRenderFilter.

MembersListStatsRenderFilter’s doFilter() method audits the render phase in these ways:

  1. Notes the render phase start time.

  2. Executes chain.doFilter(request, response) to invoke all of the other RenderFilters in the FilterChain.

  3. Increments the number of times the portlet renders.

  4. Calculates the average render time.

  5. Logs the times rendered and average render time.

Consider creating your own filters to intercept portlet processing phases.


JSP Overrides Using Portlet Filters

Liferay MVC Portlet

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