Enabling Search and Indexing for Guestbook Entries

To enable search in the Guestbook portlet for guestbook entries, you need to follow these four steps:

  1. Create an EntryIndexer class that extends Liferay’s BaseIndexer abstract class.

  2. Register the EntryIndexer in the guestbook-portlet project’s liferay-portlet.xml file.

  3. Update the addEntry, updateEntry, and deleteEntry methods of EntryLocalServiceImpl to invoke the guestbook entry indexer.

  4. Update the Guestbook portlet’s user interface to display a search bar into which users can enter search terms and a JSP to display search results after the search terms are submitted.

In this section, you’ll follow the first three steps: creating an indexer, registering an indexer, and updating the service layer to invoke the indexer. You’ll follow the last step, updating the Guestbook portlet’s user interface, in the next section.

Understanding Search and Indexing with Lucene

Under the hood, Liferay uses Lucene, a Java search library, to implement its search and indexing functionality. Lucene works by converting searchable entities into documents. Lucene documents are not documents in the ordinary English sense of the word. Rather, they are Lucene constructs that correspond to searchable entities. After you implement an indexer for guestbook entries, a document will be created for each guestbook entry. When you implement the guestbook entry indexer, you’ll specify which guestbook entry fields should be added to each guestbook entry document. All the guestbook entry documents are added to an index. When a Lucene index is searched, a hits object is returned that contains pointers to the documents that match the search query. Searching for guestbook entries via an index is faster than searching for entities in the database.

Creating an Entry Indexer

Create a new package in your guestbook-project’s docroot/WEB-INF/src folder called com.liferay.docs.guestbook.search. In this package, create a new class called EntryIndexer that extends com.liferay.portal.kernel.search.BaseIndexer. Replace the default contents of EntryIndexer.java with the following code:

package com.liferay.docs.guestbook.search;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.Collection;
import java.util.Locale;

import javax.portlet.PortletURL;

import com.liferay.docs.guestbook.model.Entry;
import com.liferay.docs.guestbook.service.EntryLocalServiceUtil;
import com.liferay.docs.guestbook.service.permission.GuestbookPermission;
import com.liferay.docs.guestbook.service.persistence.EntryActionableDynamicQuery;
import com.liferay.portal.kernel.dao.orm.ActionableDynamicQuery;
import com.liferay.portal.kernel.dao.orm.DynamicQuery;
import com.liferay.portal.kernel.exception.PortalException;
import com.liferay.portal.kernel.exception.SystemException;
import com.liferay.portal.kernel.search.BaseIndexer;
import com.liferay.portal.kernel.search.Document;
import com.liferay.portal.kernel.search.Field;
import com.liferay.portal.kernel.search.SearchContext;
import com.liferay.portal.kernel.search.SearchEngineUtil;
import com.liferay.portal.kernel.search.Summary;
import com.liferay.portal.kernel.util.GetterUtil;
import com.liferay.portal.security.permission.ActionKeys;
import com.liferay.portal.security.permission.PermissionChecker;

public class EntryIndexer extends BaseIndexer {
        public static final String[] CLASS_NAMES = { Entry.class.getName() };
        public static final String PORTLET_ID = "guestbook-portlet";
        public EntryIndexer() {

        public String[] getClassNames() {
                return CLASS_NAMES;

        public String getPortletId() {
                return PORTLET_ID;

        public boolean hasPermission(PermissionChecker permissionChecker,
                        String entryClassName, long entryClassPK, String actionId)
                        throws Exception {

                return GuestbookPermission.contains(permissionChecker, entryClassPK,

        protected void doDelete(Object obj) throws Exception {
                Entry entry = (Entry)obj;
                deleteDocument(entry.getCompanyId(), entry.getEntryId());

        protected Document doGetDocument(Object obj) throws Exception {
                Entry entry = (Entry)obj;

                Document document = getBaseModelDocument(PORTLET_ID, entry);

                document.addDate(Field.MODIFIED_DATE, entry.getModifiedDate());
                document.addText(Field.CONTENT, entry.getMessage());
                document.addText(Field.TITLE, entry.getName());
                document.addText("email", entry.getEmail());
                document.addKeyword(Field.GROUP_ID, getSiteGroupId(entry.getGroupId()));
                document.addKeyword(Field.SCOPE_GROUP_ID, entry.getGroupId());
                return document;

        protected Summary doGetSummary(Document document, Locale locale,
                        String snippet, PortletURL portletURL) throws Exception {
                Summary summary = createSummary(document);


                return summary;

        protected void doReindex(Object obj) throws Exception {
                Entry entry = (Entry)obj;

                Document document = getDocument(entry);

                        getSearchEngineId(), entry.getCompanyId(), document);

        protected void doReindex(String className, long classPK) throws Exception {

                Entry entry = EntryLocalServiceUtil.getEntry(classPK);


        protected void doReindex(String[] ids) throws Exception {

                long companyId = GetterUtil.getLong(ids[0]);


        protected String getPortletId(SearchContext searchContext) {
                return PORTLET_ID;
        protected void reindexEntries(long companyId) throws PortalException,
                        SystemException {

                final Collection<Document> documents = new ArrayList<Document>();

                ActionableDynamicQuery actionableDynamicQuery = new EntryActionableDynamicQuery() {

                        protected void addCriteria(DynamicQuery dynamicQuery) {

                        protected void performAction(Object object) throws PortalException {
                                Entry entry = (Entry) object;

                                Document document = getDocument(entry);





                SearchEngineUtil.updateDocuments(getSearchEngineId(), companyId,


At the top of the EntryIndexer class, you define a CLASS_NAMES String array constant and a PORTLET_ID string constant. Using these constants throughout the class ensures that you aren’t using the wrong class name or portlet ID anywhere. All of Liferay’s *Indexer classes follow the convention of declaring CLASS_NAMES and PORTLET_ID constants and using them throughout the class.

Next comes the EntryIndexer constructor. This constructor calls setPermissionAware(true) so that the indexer takes permissions into account when returning search results. Without this call, the indexer would return all guestbook entries that match a search query, regardless of the guestbook entry permissions.

Next, since you’re extending the BaseIndexer abstract class which, in turn, implements the Indexer interface, you need to override or provide implementations for the following methods:

  • public String[] getClassNames()

  • public String getPortletId()

  • protected void doDelete(Object obj)

  • protected Document doGetDocument(Object obj)

  • protected Summary doGetSummary(Document document, Locale locale, String snippet, PortletURL portletURL)

  • protected void doReindex(Object obj)

  • protected void doReindex(String className, long classPK)

  • protected void doReindex(String[] ids)

  • protected String getPortletId(SearchContext searchContext)

getClassNames and getPortletId are easy to implement: you just return the CLASS_NAMES and PORTLET_ID constants that you defined earlier.

hasPermission is also easy to implement: you call the contains method of the GuestbookPermission helper class that you created in an earlier learning path.

doDelete is responsible for deleting the document that corresponds to the object parameter. To implement it, you have to cast the object to a guestbook entry and then call the deleteDocument method of BaseIndexer, passing the entry’s company ID and entry ID as parameters.

doGetDocument is the method where you specify which fields to add to the Lucene document corresponding to a guestbook entry. First, you cast the object parameter to a guestbook entry. Then you call the getBaseModelDocument method of BaseIndexer to get the base document corresponding to the entry. Then you add all the entry fields that you’d like to be indexed to the document. You have to use the appropriate method for adding fields to be indexed. E.g., use document.addDate to add a date field to the document, use document.addText to add a text field to the document, etc.

doGetSummary must also be implemented. It’s easy to implement since you can call the createSummary method of BaseIndexer. You also limit the maximum size of the summary content using summary.setMaxContentLength since the maximum content length is not set by the Summary constructor.

doReindex is overloaded and you need to provide implementations for each overloaded method. The first doReindex method takes a single object argument. You cast it to a guestbook entry and then retrieve the Lucene document corresponding to the entry using the getDocument method of BaseIndexer which takes an object argument. Then you invoke the updateDocument method of SearchEngineUtil to update (reindex) the document.

The second doReindex method takes a className String argument and a classPK long argument. To implement this method, you retrieve the guestbook entry corresponding to the primary key by calling the getEntry method of EntryLocalServiceUtil, passing in the classPK parameter. Once you’ve retrieved the guestbook entry, you can invoke the first doReindex method that you implemented, passing the entry as a parameter.

The third doReindex method takes an array of Strings, ids, as an argument. ids is a String array, so you need to convert individual IDs from Strings to longs. You retrieve the companyId from the first ID and pass it as an argument to the reindexEntries helper method. You use an actionable dynamic query in the reindexEntries helper method to retrieve all the guestbook entries in the specified company. Each entry’s Lucene document is added to a collection. Finally, you call the updateDocuments method of SearchEngineUtil, passing the document collection as an argument, to update (reindex) all the documents.

The last method you have to implement is the getPortletId method that takes a SearchContext parameter. The portlet ID is always guestbook-portlet, so you just return PORTLET_ID.

Registering an Entry Indexer

Now that you’ve created an entry indexer, you need to register it with the Guestbook portlet in liferay-portlet.xml. Add the following line to your guestbook-portlet project’s docroot/WEB-INF/liferay-portlet.xml file inside the <portlet> element for the Guestbook portlet, after the <icon>/icon.png</icon> element:


Liferay reads liferay-portlet.xml at deploy time. When it finds the <indexer-class> element, it registers the specified indexer with your portlet. Great! Now that you’ve registered your indexer, it’s time to update the Guestbook Entry service layer to use the indexer.

Handling Indexing in the Entry Service Layer

Whenever a guestbook entry is added, updated, or deleted, the guestbook entry index should also be updated. To accomplish this, you’ll update each of the addEntry, updateEntry, and deleteEntry service methods for guestbook entries. Open EntryLocalServiceImpl and add the following lines to the addEntry method, after the call to resourceLocalService.addResources but before the return statement:

Indexer indexer = IndexerRegistryUtil.nullSafeGetIndexer(


Use Ctrl-Shift-T to add and organize imports. Here, you’re retrieving an instance of the EntryIndexer that you created earlier. How do you know that you’re obtaining an instance of the correct indexer? Since you registered EntryIndexer in your guestbook-portlet project’s liferay-portlet.xml file, EntryIndexer is associated with the guestbook-portlet. Furthermore, you’re supplying Entry.class as an argument to the IndexerRegistryUtil.nullSafeGetIndexer method. Your EntryIndexer class has a getClassNames method which returns a String array containing Entry.class.getName() as its only element. So IndexerRegistryUtil.nullSafeGetIndexer(Entry.class) unambiguously specifies your indexer.

Why do you call IndexerRegistryUtil.nullSafeGetIndexer instead of IndexerRegistryUtil.getIndexer? IndexerRegistryUtil.nullSafeGetIndexer returns a dummy indexer if no indexer matching the Entry.class argument could be found. Returning a dummy indexer is safer than returning null since returning null would throw exceptions that could render your portlet unusable.

Once you’ve obtained the correct indexer, calling indexer.reindex(entry) updates the document in the index that corresponds to the updated guestbook entry. Note that the indexer.reindex(entry) call occurs after the call to entryPersistence.update(entry) since you want all of the entry’s fields to have been updated before the entry is indexed (or reindexed).

Next, add the following lines to the updateEntry method, after the call to resourceLocalServiceUtil.updateResources but before the return statement:

Indexer indexer = IndexerRegistryUtil.nullSafeGetIndexer(


These are the same two lines that you added to addEntry, and the rationale for adding them is the same.

Finally, add the following lines to deleteEntry, after entry = deleteEntry(entryId) but before the return statement:

Indexer indexer = IndexerRegistryUtil.nullSafeGetIndexer(


Here, you get the EntryIndexer the same way as in the addEntry and updateEntry methods. The difference is that you want to remove the entry. So you call indexer.delete(entry) instead of indexer.reindex(entry).

That’s all there is to updating your service layer to handle indexing! Since you didn’t add or remove any methods in EntryLocalServiceImpl or update any method signatures, you don’t need to re-run Service Builder. Your final step to implementing search for Guestbook entries in the Guestbook portlet is to update the user interface.

« Enabling Search and IndexingUpdating Your User Interface For Search »
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