Creating an MVC Portlet

MVC Portlet applications are web modules containing at least one portlet class that’s registered in Liferay’s runtime environment as a component. Web modules describe themselves using standard OSGi metadata and can use any build environment.

Here are the general steps for implementing a Liferay MVC Portlet component module:

  1. Configuring a Web module

  2. Specifying OSGi metadata

  3. Creating a portlet Component

Start by creating a web module for your portlet.

Step 1: Configuring a Web Module

The folder structure for a web module generally follows this pattern:

  • docs.liferaymvc.web/
    • src/main/java/
      • com/liferay/docs/liferaymvc/web/portlet/
    • src/main/resources/
      • content/
      • META/-INF/resources/
        • init.jsp
        • view.jsp
    • build.gradle
    • bnd.bnd

The MVC portlet template, available for both Maven and Gradle in Liferay Dev Studio DXP and Blade CLI, makes creating such Web modules a snap. Of course you’re not tied to using Gradle or bnd to build your project. However, you must build your module as a JAR and define your module with proper OSGi headers.

Step 2: Specifying OSGi Metadata

OSGi metadata describes your module to the OSGi runtime environment. At a minimum, you should specify the bundle symbolic name and the bundle version. We recommend a human-readable bundle name.

Bundle-Name: Example Liferay MVC Web
Bundle-Version: 1.0.0

If you don’t specify a Bundle-SymbolicName, one is generated from the project’s folder path, which is suitable for many cases. Liferay’s convention is to specify the root package name as your bundle symbolic name.

Step 3: Creating a Portlet Component

The OSGi Declarative Services component model makes it easy to publish service implementations to the OSGi runtime. For example, publishing your portlet class as a javax.portlet.Portlet requires an @Component annotation like this one:

    immediate = true,
    service = Portlet.class
public class LiferayMVCPortlet extends MVCPortlet {

The immediate = true attribute tells the runtime to publish the portlet as soon as its dependencies resolve. The attribute service = Portlet.class specifies that the portlet provides the javax.portlet.Portlet service.

Since Liferay’s MVCPortlet class is itself an extension of javax.portlet.Portlet, you’ve provided the right implementation. That’s good in itself, but the Component must be configured:

    immediate = true,
    property = {
        "javax.portlet.display-name=Liferay MVC Portlet",
    service = Portlet.class
public class LiferayMVCPortlet extends MVCPortlet {

Liferay’s MVC portlet template includes these component properties in the portlet class it generates.

Some of the properties might look familiar to you if you’ve developed Liferay MVC portlets for Liferay Portal 6.2. That’s because they’re the same as the XML attributes you used to specify in liferay-portlet.xml, liferay-display.xml, and portlet.xml. The mapping of portlet descriptors to OSGi properties can you help find OSGi properties for descriptors you already know.

To keep compatibility with the JSR-168 and JSR-286 portlet specs, these DTDs define the Liferay-specific portlet attributes:

For example, consider the <instanceable> element from liferay-portlet-app_7_1_0.dtd. To specify that property in your Component, use this syntax in your @Component property list:


The properties namespaced with javax.portlet.... are elements of the portlet.xml descriptor.

Also note that you can use the com.liferay.portlet.display-category property to create nested categories. Use // to separate the category root and all categories and sub-categories that comprise your portlet’s category path. Here’s an example:


You now know how to extend Liferay’s MVCPortlet and register it as a Component in the OSGi runtime. It’s time to write your controller code.

« Liferay MVC PortletWriting Controller Code »
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