Setting Up the Plugins SDK

This tutorial explains how to install and configure the Liferay Plugins SDK and its dependencies.

The Plugins SDK requires Liferay Portal. If you haven’t already installed a Liferay bundle, follow the instructions in the Installation and Setup chapter of the Deployment guide. Many people use the Tomcat bundle for development, as it’s small, fast, and takes up fewer resources than most other servlet containers. Although you can use any application server supported by Liferay Portal for development, our examples use the Tomcat bundle.

To install the Plugins SDK, follow these steps:

  1. Go to SourceForge and find your desired 6.2.x version of Liferay Portal (e.g., 6.2.5 GA6). Then select the liferay-plugins-sdk-6.2-ce-[VERSION].zip link. This downloads the Plugins SDK to your local machine.

  2. Unzip the archive to a folder of your choosing. Because some operating systems have trouble running Java applications from folders with names containing spaces, avoid using spaces when naming your folder.

    On Windows, to build a plugin’s services , the Plugins SDK and Liferay Portal instance must be on the same drive. For example, if your Liferay Portal instance is on your C:\ drive, your Plugins SDK must also be on your C:\ drive in order for Service Builder to be able to run successfully.

Building projects in the Plugins SDK requires that you install Ant (version 1.7 or higher) on your machine. Download the latest version of Ant from Extract the archive’s contents into a folder of your choosing.

Now that Ant is installed, create an ANT_HOME environment variable to capture your Ant installation location. Then add Ant’s bin directory (e.g., $ANT_HOME/bin) to your path. Doing this on Unix-like systems (Unix, Linux, or Mac OS X) and Windows is demonstrated next.

On Unix-like systems, if your Ant installation directory is /java/apache-ant-[version] and your shell is Bash, set ANT_HOME and adjust your path by specifying the following in .bash_profile or from your terminal:

export ANT_HOME=/java/apache-ant-[version]
export PATH=$PATH:$ANT_HOME/bin

On Windows, if your Ant installation folder is C:\Java\apache-ant-[version], set your ANT_HOME and path environment variables appropriately in your system properties:

  1. Select Start, then right-select ComputerProperties.

  2. In the Advanced tab, click Environment Variables….

  3. In the System variables section, click New….

  4. Set the ANT_HOME variable to the path of your Apache Ant installation.

    Click OK.

  5. Also in the System variables section, select your path variable and click Edit….

  6. Insert %ANT_HOME%\bin; after %JAVA_HOME%\bin; and click OK.

  7. Click OK to close all system property windows.

  8. Open a new command prompt for your new environment variables to take affect.

To verify Ant is in your path, execute ant -version from your terminal to make sure your output looks similar to this:

Apache Ant(TM) version [version] compiled on [date]

If the version information doesn’t display, make sure your Ant installation is referenced in your path.

Now that you’ve installed the Plugins SDK and you’ve configured Ant, it’s time to configure your Plugins SDK environment.

Your Plugins SDK needs to know the location of our Liferay installation so it can compile plugins against Liferay’s JAR files and deploy plugins to your Liferay instance. The Plugins SDK contains a file that contains the default settings about the location of your Liferay installation and your deployment folder. You can use this file as a reference, but you shouldn’t modify it directly (In fact, you will see the message “DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE” at the top if you open it). In order to override the default settings, create a new file named build.[username].properties in the same folder, where [username] is your user ID on your machine. For example, if your user name is jbloggs, your file name would be

Edit this file and add the following lines:

app.server.type=[the name uses for your application server type]
app.server.parent.dir=[the directory containing your Liferay bundle]
app.server.tomcat.dir=[the directory containing your application server]

If you’re using Liferay Portal bundled with Tomcat 7.0.42 and your bundle is in your C:/liferay-portal-6.2 folder, you’d specify the following lines:


Since the example properties above use the Tomcat application server, tomcat is specified as the app server type and the app.server.tomcat.dir property is specified. See the Plugins SDK’s for the name of the app server property that matches your app server.

You’re set to start using your Liferay Plugins SDK!

Related Topics

Developing Plugins with Liferay IDE Developing Plugins with Maven

« Introduction to Developing with the Plugins SDKUsing the Plugins SDK »
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