Checking Permissions

Now that you’ve defined your permissions, registered resources in the database and with the OSGi container, and enabled users to associate permissions with resources, you’re ready to add permission checks in the appropriate places in your application. This takes three steps:

  1. Add permission checks to your service calls.

  2. Create permission helper classes in your web module.

  3. Add permission checks to your web application.

These things are covered next.

Add Permission Checks to Your Service Calls

A best practice is to create methods in your -ServiceImpl classes that call the same methods in your -LocalServiceImpl classes, but wrap those calls in permission checks. If you expose your services as web services, then any client calling those services must have permission to call the service. In this way, you separate your business logic (contained in the -LocalServiceImpl class) from your permissions logic (contained in the -ServiceImpl class).

  1. Open your entity’s -ServiceImpl class.

  2. Use the ModelResourcePermissionFactory and the PortletResourcePermissionFactory to reference permission checkers that can check permissions as you’ve defined them in default.xml. Here’s how the Blogs portlet does this:

    private static volatile ModelResourcePermission<BlogsEntry>
        _blogsEntryFolderModelResourcePermission =
                "_blogsEntryFolderModelResourcePermission", BlogsEntry.class);
    private static volatile PortletResourcePermission
        _portletResourcePermission =
                BlogsEntryServiceImpl.class, "_portletResourcePermission",

    You declare the class, the variable, and for the portlet resource, the resource name from default.xml. In the Blogs application, BlogsConstants.RESOURCE_NAME is a String with the value com.liferay.blogs.

    You must use ModelResourcePermissionFactory.getInstance() in the service because Service Builder is wired with Spring, so @Reference can’t be used. Make sure to use the correct service class and the name of the field that’s being set (in this case "_blogsEntryFolderModelResourcePermission"), because it’s set with reflection when the service is registered. If you get the field wrong, it’ll be set wrong. The field must be static and volatile, and should never be used outside of -ServiceImpl classes.

  3. Check permissions in the appropriate places. For example, adding a blog entry requires the ADD_ENTRY permission, so the Blogs application does this:

    public BlogsEntry addEntry(
            String title, String subtitle, String description, String content,
            int displayDateMonth, int displayDateDay, int displayDateYear,
            int displayDateHour, int displayDateMinute, boolean allowPingbacks,
            boolean allowTrackbacks, String[] trackbacks,
            String coverImageCaption, ImageSelector coverImageImageSelector,
            ImageSelector smallImageImageSelector,
            ServiceContext serviceContext)
        throws PortalException {
            getPermissionChecker(), serviceContext.getScopeGroupId(),
        return blogsEntryLocalService.addEntry(
            getUserId(), title, subtitle, description, content,
            displayDateMonth, displayDateDay, displayDateYear, displayDateHour,
            displayDateMinute, allowPingbacks, allowTrackbacks, trackbacks,
            coverImageCaption, coverImageImageSelector, smallImageImageSelector,

    The check throws an exception if it fails, preventing the local service call that adds the entry. A convention Liferay uses is to place the action keys from default.xml as constants in an ActionKeys class. If ActionKeys doesn’t have an action key appropriate for your application, extend Liferay’s class and add your own keys.

Add permission checks where necessary to protect your application’s functions at the service level. Next, you’ll learn how to create permission helper classes for your web module.

Create Permission Helper Classes in Your Web Module

A helper class can make it easier to check permissions in your portlet application. You can create helper classes for both portlet permissions and model permissions. Here’s how to create a portlet permission helper:

  1. Create a package with the suffix For example, the Blogs application has the package

  2. Create a component class with at least one static method for checking permissions. For example, here’s the BlogsPermission class:

    @Component(immediate = true)
    public class BlogsPermission {
        public static boolean contains(
            PermissionChecker permissionChecker, long groupId, String actionId) {
            return _portletResourcePermission.contains(
                permissionChecker, groupId, actionId);
            target = "(" + BlogsConstants.RESOURCE_NAME + ")",
            unbind = "-"
        protected void setPortletResourcePermission(
            PortletResourcePermission portletResourcePermission) {
            _portletResourcePermission = portletResourcePermission;
        private static PortletResourcePermission _portletResourcePermission;

    Note the @Reference annotation that tells the OSGi container to supply an object via the permission registrar you created previously. The _portletResourcePermission field is static, while the setter method is an instance method: this is how Liferay avoids having service references in JSPs.

The procedure for creating a model permission helper is similar:

  1. In the same package, create a component class with at least one static method for checking permissions. For example, here’s the BlogsEntryPermission class:

    @Component(immediate = true)
    public class BlogsEntryPermission {
        public static boolean contains(
                PermissionChecker permissionChecker, BlogsEntry entry,
                String actionId)
            throws PortalException {
            return _blogsEntryFolderModelResourcePermission.contains(
                permissionChecker, entry, actionId);
        public static boolean contains(
                PermissionChecker permissionChecker, long entryId, String actionId)
            throws PortalException {
            return _blogsEntryFolderModelResourcePermission.contains(
                permissionChecker, entryId, actionId);
            target = "(",
            unbind = "-"
        protected void setEntryModelPermission(
            ModelResourcePermission<BlogsEntry> modelResourcePermission) {
            _blogsEntryFolderModelResourcePermission = modelResourcePermission;
        private static ModelResourcePermission<BlogsEntry>

    As you can see, this class is almost the same as the portlet permission class. The real difference is in the @Reference annotation that specifies the fully qualified class name of the model, rather than the resource name from default.xml.

  2. Save both files.

Now you’re ready to use these helper classes to check permissions in your web module.

Add Permission Checks to Your Web Application

You can use the permission helper classes to check for permissions before displaying UI elements. If the element never appears, a user can’t access it (though you should also protect your services as described above). Here’s how to do that:

  1. When you have a function you want to protect, wrap it in an if statement that uses the permission helper class. For example, the Blogs application has many functions protected by permissions, including ADD_ENTRY and SUBSCRIBE. Clearly, only blog owners should be able to add blog entries. The button for this, therefore, should only appear if a user has permission to add entries:

    <c:if test="<%= BlogsPermission.contains(permissionChecker, scopeGroupId, ActionKeys.ADD_ENTRY) %>">
        <div class="button-holder">
            <portlet:renderURL var="editEntryURL" windowState="<%= WindowState.MAXIMIZED.toString() %>">
                <portlet:param name="mvcRenderCommandName" value="/blogs/edit_entry" />
                <portlet:param name="redirect" value="<%= currentURL %>" />
            <aui:button href="<%= editEntryURL %>" icon="icon-plus" value="add-blog-entry" />
  2. Do this for any function. For example, the Permissions function you added in step 3 should definitely be protected by permissions:

    <c:if test="<%= BlogsEntryPermission.contains(permissionChecker, entry, ActionKeys.PERMISSIONS) %>">
            modelResource="<%= BlogsEntry.class.getName() %>"
            modelResourceDescription="<%= BlogsEntryUtil.getDisplayTitle(resourceBundle, entry) %>"
            resourceGroupId="<%= String.valueOf(entry.getGroupId()) %>"
            resourcePrimKey="<%= String.valueOf(entry.getEntryId()) %>"
            windowState="<%= LiferayWindowState.POP_UP.toString() %>"
            label="<%= true %>"
            url="<%= permissionsEntryURL %>"
            useDialog="<%= true %>"

    This prevents anyone without the permission to set permissions from seeing the permissions button. Say that three times fast!

That’s all there is to it! You’ve now learned all the steps in DRAC:

  1. Define permissions

  2. Register permissions

  3. Associate permissions with resources

  4. Check permissions

Follow these steps, and your applications can take advantage of Liferay’s integrated and well-tested permissions system.

« Associating Permissions with ResourcesUsing JSR Roles in a Portlet »
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