Creating Custom Item Selector Views

You can create your own selection view if an Item Selector doesn’t contain the one you need. The steps here show you how. For more information on custom selection views and the Item Selector API, see the Item Selector introduction.

Configuring Your Selection View’s OSGi Module

First, you must configure your selection view’s OSGi module:

  1. Add these dependencies to your module’s build.gradle:

    dependencies {
            compileOnly group: "com.liferay", name: "com.liferay.item.selector.api", version: "2.0.0"
            compileOnly group: "com.liferay", name: "com.liferay.item.selector.criteria.api", version: "2.0.0"
            compileOnly group: "com.liferay.portal", name: "com.liferay.portal.impl", version: "2.0.0"
            compileOnly group: "com.liferay.portal", name: "com.liferay.portal.kernel", version: "2.0.0"
            compileOnly group: "com.liferay.portal", name: "com.liferay.util.taglib", version: "2.0.0"
            compileOnly group: "javax.portlet", name: "portlet-api", version: "2.0"
            compileOnly group: "javax.servlet", name: "javax.servlet-api", version: "3.0.1"
            compileOnly group: "org.osgi", name: "org.osgi.service.component.annotations", version: "1.3.0"
  2. Add your module’s information to the bnd.bnd file. For example, this configuration adds the information for a module called My Custom View:

    Bundle-Name: My Custom View
    Bundle-Version: 1.0.0
  3. Add a Web-ContextPath to your bnd.bnd to point to your module’s resources:

    Web-ContextPath: /my-custom-view

    If you don’t have a Web-ContextPath, your module won’t know where your resources are. The Include-Resource header points to the relative path for the module’s resources.

Implementing Your Selection View’s Class

Follow these steps to implement your selection view’s class:

  1. Create an ItemSelectorView component class that implements ItemSelectorView with the criterion as a type argument. In the @Component annotation, set the item.selector.view.order property to the order you want the view to appear in when displayed alongside other selector views (lower values get higher priority).

    This example selector view class is for images, so it implements ItemSelectorView with ImageItemSelectorCriterion as a type argument. The @Component annotation sets the item.selector.view.order property to 200 and registers the class as an ItemSelectorView service:

        property = {"item.selector.view.order:Integer=200"},
        service = ItemSelectorView.class
    public class SampleItemSelectorView
        implements ItemSelectorView<ImageItemSelectorCriterion> {...
  2. Create getter methods for the criterion class, servlet context, and return types. Do this by implementing the methods getItemSelectorCriterionClass(), getServletContext(), and getSupportedItemSelectorReturnTypes(), respectively:

    public Class<ImageItemSelectorCriterion> getItemSelectorCriterionClass() 
        return ImageItemSelectorCriterion.class;
    public ServletContext getServletContext() {
        return _servletContext;
    public List<ItemSelectorReturnType> getSupportedItemSelectorReturnTypes() {
        return _supportedItemSelectorReturnTypes;
  3. Configure the selection view’s title, search options, and visibility settings. Here’s an example configuration for the Sample Selector selection view:

    public String getTitle(Locale locale) {
        return "Sample Selector";
    public boolean isShowSearch() {
        return false;
    public boolean isVisible(ThemeDisplay themeDisplay) {
        return true;

    See The Selection View’s Class for more information on these methods.

  4. Implement the renderHTML method to set your view’s render settings and render its markup.

    Here’s an example implementation of a renderHTML method that points to a JSP file (sample.jsp) to render the view. Note that itemSelectedEventName is passed as a request attribute so it can be used in the view markup. The view markup is specified via the ServletContext method getRequestDispatcher. Although this example uses a JSP, you can render the markup in another language such as FreeMarker.

    public void renderHTML(
        ServletRequest request, ServletResponse response,
        ImageItemSelectorCriterion itemSelectorCriterion,
        PortletURL portletURL, String itemSelectedEventName,
        boolean search
    throws IOException, ServletException {
        ServletContext servletContext = getServletContext();
        RequestDispatcher requestDispatcher =
        requestDispatcher.include(request, response);
  5. Use the @Reference annotation to reference your module’s class for the setServletContext method. In the annotation, use the target parameter to specify the available services for the servlet context. This example uses the osgi.web.symbolicname property to specify the com.liferay.selector.sample.web class as the default value. You should also use the unbind = _ parameter to specify that there’s no unbind method for this module. In the method body, set the servlet context variable:

        target =
        unbind = "-"
    public void setServletContext(ServletContext servletContext) {
        _servletContext = servletContext;
  6. Define the _supportedItemSelectorReturnTypes list with the return types that this view supports (you referenced this list in step two). This example adds URLItemSelectorReturnType and FileEntryItemSelectorReturnType to the list of supported return types (you can use more if needed). More return types means that the view is more reusable. Also note that this example defines its servlet context variable at the bottom of the file:

    private static final List<ItemSelectorReturnType>
        _supportedItemSelectorReturnTypes =
                new ItemSelectorReturnType[] {
                    new FileEntryItemSelectorReturnType(),
                    new URLItemSelectorReturnType()
     private ServletContext _servletContext;

For a real-world example of a view class, see SiteNavigationMenuItemItemSelectorView.

Writing Your View Markup

You can write your view markup however you wish—there’s no typical or average case. You can write it with taglibs, AUI components, or even pure HTML and JavaScript. The markup must do two key things:

  • Render the entities for the user to select.
  • When an entity is selected, pass the return type information via a JavaScript event.

The example view class in the previous section passes the JavaScript event name as a request attribute in the renderHTML method. You can therefore use this event name in the markup:
        `<%= {ITEM_SELECTED_EVENT_NAME} %>',


For a complete, real-world example, see layouts.jsp for the module com.liferay.layout.item.selector.web. Even though this example is for a previous version of Liferay DXP, it still applies to Liferay DXP 7.2. Here’s a walkthrough of this layouts.jsp file:

  1. First, some variables are defined. Note that LayoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext is an optional class that contains additional information about the criteria and view:

    LayoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext layoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext = 
    LayoutItemSelectorCriterion layoutItemSelectorCriterion = 
    Portlet portlet = PortletLocalServiceUtil.getPortletById(company.getCompanyId(), 
  2. This snippet imports a CSS file for styling and places it in the <head> of the page:

            <link href="<%= PortalUtil.getStaticResourceURL(
            request, application.getContextPath() + "/css/main.css", 
            %>" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />

    You can learn more about using the liferay-util taglibs in Using the Liferay Util Taglib.

  3. This snippet creates the UI to display the layout entities. It uses the liferay-layout:layouts-tree taglib along with the Lexicon design language to create cards:

    <div class="container-fluid-1280 layouts-selector">
        <div class="card-horizontal main-content-card">
                <div class="card-row card-row-padded">
                                checkContentDisplayPage="<%= layoutItemSelectorCriterion.isCheckDisplayPage() %>"
                                draggableTree="<%= false %>"
                                expandFirstNode="<%= true %>"
                                groupId="<%= scopeGroupId %>"
                                portletURL="<%= layoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext.getEditLayoutURL() %>"
                                privateLayout="<%= layoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext.isPrivateLayout() %>"
                                rootNodeName="<%= layoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext.getRootNodeName() %>"
                                saveState="<%= false %>"
                                selectedLayoutIds="<%= layoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext.getSelectedLayoutIds() %>"
                                selPlid="<%= layoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext.getSelPlid() %>"

    This renders the following UI:

    Figure 1: The Layouts Item Selector view uses Lexicon and Liferay Layout taglibs to create the UI.

    Figure 1: The Layouts Item Selector view uses Lexicon and Liferay Layout taglibs to create the UI.

  4. This portion of the aui:script returns the path for the page:

    <aui:script use="aui-base">
        var LString = A.Lang.String;
        var getChosenPagePath = function(node) {
                var buffer = [];
                if (A.instanceOf(node, A.TreeNode)) {
                        var labelText = LString.escapeHTML(node.get('labelEl').text());
                                function(treeNode) {
                                        var labelEl = treeNode.get('labelEl');
                                        if (labelEl) {
                                                labelText = LString.escapeHTML(labelEl.text());
                return buffer.join(' > ');
  5. The following snippet passes the return type data when the layout (entity) is selected. Note the url and uuid variables retrieve the URL or UUID for the layout:

    var setSelectedPage = function(event) {
            var disabled = true;
            var messageText = '<%= UnicodeLanguageUtil.get(request, "there-is-no-selected-page") %>';
            var lastSelectedNode = event.newVal;
            var labelEl = lastSelectedNode.get('labelEl');
            var link ='a');
            var url = link.attr('data-url');
            var uuid = link.attr('data-uuid');
            var data = {};
            if (link && url) {
                    disabled = false;
                    data.layoutpath = getChosenPagePath(lastSelectedNode);
  6. This checks if the return type information is a URL or a UUID. It then sets the value for the JSON object’s data attribute accordingly. The last line adds the CKEditorFuncNum for the editor to the JSON object’s data attribute:

                    <c:when test="<%= Objects.equals(layoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext.getItemSelectorReturnTypeName(), URLItemSelectorReturnType.class.getName()) %>">
                            data.value = url;
                    <c:when test="<%= Objects.equals(layoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext.getItemSelectorReturnTypeName(), UUIDItemSelectorReturnType.class.getName()) %>">
                            data.value = uuid;
    <c:if test="<%= Validator.isNotNull(layoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext.getCkEditorFuncNum()) %>">
            data.ckeditorfuncnum: <%= layoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext.getCkEditorFuncNum() %>;

    The data-url and data-uuid attributes are in the HTML for the Layouts Item Selector. The HTML for an instance of the Layouts Item Selector is shown here:

    Figure 2: The URL and UUID can be seen in the data-url and data-uuid attributes of the Layout Item Selectors HTML.

    Figure 2: The URL and UUID can be seen in the `data-url` and `data-uuid` attributes of the Layout Item Selector's HTML.

  7. The JavaScript trigger event specified in the Item Selector return type is fired, passing the data JSON object with the required return type information:

                    '<%= layoutItemSelectorViewDisplayContext.getItemSelectedEventName() %>',
                            data: data
  8. Finally, the layout is set to the selected page:

        var container ='#<portlet:namespace />treeContainerOutput');
        if (container) {
                container.swallowEvent('click', true);
                var tree = container.getData('tree-view');
                tree.after('lastSelectedChange', setSelectedPage);

Your new selection view is automatically rendered by the Item Selector in every app that uses the criterion and return types you defined, without modifying anything in those apps.

Item Selector

Creating Custom Criterion and Return Types

Selecting Entities with an Item Selector

« Creating Custom Criterion and Return TypesDocuments and Media API »
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