Configuration Form Renderer

There are various approaches to customizing the auto-generated System Settings UI for your configurable application. To replace an application’s auto-generated configuration screen with a form built from scratch, you follow these steps:

  1. Use a DisplayContext class to transfer data between back-end code and the desired JSP markup.
  2. Implement the ConfigurationFormRenderer interface.
  3. Render the configuration form. This tutorial demonstrates the use of a JSP and the previously created DisplayContext class.

A generalized discussion on System Settings UI customization is found in a separate tutorial.

This tutorial demonstrates replacing the configuration UI for the Language Template System Settings entry, found in Control Panel → Configuration → System Settings → Localization → Language Template. The same steps apply when replacing your custom application’s auto-generated UI.

Figure 1: The auto-generated UI for the Language Template configuration screen is sub-optimal. A select list with more human readable options is preferable.

Figure 1: The auto-generated UI for the Language Template configuration screen is sub-optimal. A select list with more human readable options is preferable.

Specifically, the text input field labeled DDM Template Key in the auto-generated UI is replaced with a select list field type called Language Selection Style, populated with all possible DDM Template Keys.

Creating a DisplayContext

A DisplayContext class is a POJO that simplifies and minimizes the use of Java logic in JSPs. Display context usage isn’t required, but it’s a nice convention to follow. It’s a kind of data transfer object, where the DisplayContext’s setters are called from the Java class providing the render logic (in this case the ConfigurationFormRenderer’s render method), and the getters are called from the JSP, removing the need for Java logic to be written inside the JSP itself.

For this example, create a LanguageTemplateConfigurationDisplayContext class with these contents:

public class LanguageTemplateConfigurationDisplayContext {

    public void addTemplateValue(
        String templateKey, String templateDisplayName) {

        _templateValues.add(new String[] {templateKey, templateDisplayName});

    public String getCurrentTemplateName() {
        return _currentTemplateName;

    public String getFieldLabel() {
        return _fieldLabel;

    public List<String[]> getTemplateValues() {
        return _templateValues;

    public void setCurrentTemplateName(String currentTemplateName) {
        _currentTemplateName = currentTemplateName;

    public void setFieldLabel(String fieldLabel) {
        _fieldLabel = fieldLabel;

    private String _currentTemplateName;
    private String _fieldLabel;
    private final List<String[]> _templateValues = new ArrayList<>();


Next implement the ConfigurationFormRenderer.

Implementing a ConfigurationFormRenderer

First create the component and class declarations. Set the service property to ConfigurationFormRenderer.class:

    configurationPid = "",
    immediate = true, service = ConfigurationFormRenderer.class
public class LanguageTemplateConfigurationFormRenderer
    implements ConfigurationFormRenderer {

Next, write an activate method (decorated with @Activate and @Modified) to to convert a map of the configuration’s properties to a typed class. The configuration is stored in a volatile field. Don’t forget to make it volatile to prevent thread safety problems. See the article on reading configuration values from a component class for more information.

public void activate(Map<String, Object> properties) {
	_siteNavigationLanguageWebTemplateConfiguration =

private volatile SiteNavigationLanguageWebTemplateConfiguration

Next override the getPid and getRequestParameters methods:

public String getPid() {
	return "" +

Return the full configuration ID, as specified in the *Configuration class’s @Meta.OCD annotation.

public Map<String, Object> getRequestParameters(
	HttpServletRequest request) {

	Map<String, Object> params = new HashMap<>();

	String ddmTemplateKey = ParamUtil.getString(request, "ddmTemplateKey");

	params.put("ddmTemplateKey", ddmTemplateKey);

	return params;

In the getRequestParameters method, map the parameters sent by the custom form (obtained from the request) to the keys of the fields in the Configuration interface.

Provide the render logic via the overridden render method. The rendering approach demonstrated here uses a JSP. Recall that it’s backed by a DisplayContext class set into the request object. The values set from this render method are available in the JSP via the DisplayContext object’s getters.

Loop through the DDM Template Keys for the given groupId and set them into the display context with the addTemplateKey method. Then set the other necessary values that the JSP needs. In this case, set the title, the field label, and the redirect URL. Finally, call renderJSP and pass in the servletContext, request, response, and the path to the JSP:

public void render(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
	throws IOException {

	Locale locale = LocaleThreadLocal.getThemeDisplayLocale();

		languageTemplateConfigurationDisplayContext =
			new LanguageTemplateConfigurationDisplayContext();


	long groupId = 0;

	Group group = _groupLocalService.fetchCompanyGroup(

	if (group != null) {
		groupId = group.getGroupId();

	List<DDMTemplate> ddmTemplates = _ddmTemplateLocalService.getTemplates(
		groupId, _portal.getClassNameId(LanguageEntry.class));

	for (DDMTemplate ddmTemplate : ddmTemplates) {
			ddmTemplate.getTemplateKey(), ddmTemplate.getName(locale));

				locale, LanguageTemplateConfigurationFormRenderer.class),


		_servletContext, request, response,

Specify the required service references at the bottom of the class. Be careful to target the proper servlet context, passing the bundle-SymbolicName of the module (found in its bnd.bnd file) into the osgi.web.symbolicname property of the reference target:

private DDMTemplateLocalService _ddmTemplateLocalService;

private GroupLocalService _groupLocalService;

private JSPRenderer _jspRenderer;

private Portal _portal;

	target = "(",
	unbind = "-"
private ServletContext _servletContext;

Once the configuration form renderer is implemented, you can write the JSP markup for the form.

Writing the JSP Markup

Now write the JSP:

<%@ include file="/init.jsp" %>

    languageTemplateConfigurationDisplayContext = (LanguageTemplateConfigurationDisplayContext)request.getAttribute(LanguageTemplateConfigurationDisplayContext.class.getName());

String currentTemplateName = languageTemplateConfigurationDisplayContext.getCurrentTemplateName();

<aui:select label="<%= HtmlUtil.escape(languageTemplateConfigurationDisplayContext.getFieldLabel()) %>" name="ddmTemplateKey" value="<%= currentTemplateName %>">

    for (String[] templateValue : languageTemplateConfigurationDisplayContext.getTemplateValues()) {

        <aui:option label="<%= templateValue[1] %>" selected="<%= currentTemplateName.equals(templateValue[0]) %>" value="<%= templateValue[0] %>" />



The opening scriptlet gets the display context object from the request so that all its getters are invoked whenever information from the back-end is required. Right away, the getCurrentTemplateName method is called, since the current template name is needed for the first option’s ddmTemplateKey display value as soon as the form is rendered. This happens in the <aui:select> tag. There’s just a bit of logic used to create an option for each of the available DDM templates that can be chosen.

So what does this example look like when all is said and done?

Figure 2: A select list provides a more user friendly configuration experience than a text field.

Figure 2: A select list provides a more user friendly configuration experience than a text field.

Some configuration UIs require tweaking with a ConfigurationFormRenderer. This tutorial shows a particularly good example. Administrators encountering the Language Template entry in System Settings won’t know the DDM Template Keys they can use offhand. Providing the available values in a select field wildly enhances the user experience.

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