Defining a Metric's View/Save Lifecycle

In this section, you will define the metric’s view/save lifecycle: what happens when a user applies a metric to a report using the Report Editor.

You’ll begin defining the newsletter metric’s Java class. This assumes that you followed the instructions in the previous article to create the NewsletterTrackingAction class and extend com.liferay.content.targeting.api.model.BaseJSPTrackingAction. If you used the content-targeting-tracking-action Blade CLI template, your project is already extending BaseJSPTrackingAction and a default view.jsp file is already created.

  1. Add the activation and deactivation methods to your class.

    public void activate() {
    public void deActivate() {

    These methods call the super class com.liferay.content.targeting.api.model.BaseTrackingAction to implement necessary logging and processing for when your metric starts and stops. Make sure to include the @Activate and @Deactivate annotations, which are required.

  2. Add the following method:

    protected void populateContext(
        TrackingActionInstance trackingActionInstance,
        Map<String, Object> context, Map<String, String> values) {
        String alias = StringPool.BLANK;
        String elementId = StringPool.BLANK;
        String eventType = StringPool.BLANK;
        if (!values.isEmpty()) {
            alias = values.get("alias");
            elementId = values.get("elementId");
            eventType = values.get("eventType");
        else if (trackingActionInstance != null) {
            alias = trackingActionInstance.getAlias();
            elementId = trackingActionInstance.getElementId();
            eventType = trackingActionInstance.getEventType();
        context.put("alias", alias);
        context.put("elementId", elementId);
        context.put("eventType", eventType);
        context.put("eventTypes", getEventTypes());

    To understand what this method accomplishes, you should look at the metric’s configuration lifecycle.

    Figure 1: An Audience Targeting metric must be configured by the user and processed before it can become part of a Report.

    Figure 1: An Audience Targeting metric must be configured by the user and processed before it can become part of a Report.

    When the user opens the Report Editor, the render phase begins for the metric. The getFormHTML(...) method retrieves the HTML to display. You don’t have to worry about implementing this method because it’s already implemented in the BaseJSPTrackingAction class you’re extending. The getFormHTML method calls the populateContext(...) method.

    You’ll notice the populateContext method is not available in the TrackingAction interface. This is because it’s not needed in all cases. It’s available by extending the BaseJSPTrackingAction class, and you’ll need to add more logic to it for the newsletter metric.

    The populateContext method generates a map with all the parameters your JSP view needs to render the metric’s HTML. This map is stored in the context variable, which is pre-populated with basic values in the Portlet logic, and then each metric contributes its specific parameters to it. The populateContext method above populates the alias, elementId, eventType, and eventTypes context variables with the adjacent values from the values map parameter, which is then passed to the JSP.

    For the newsletter metric, the populateContext method accounts for three use cases:

    a. The metric was added but has no set values yet. In this case, the default values defined by the developer are injected (e.g., alias="").

    b. The metric was added and a value is set, but the request failed to complete (e.g., due to an error). In this case, the values parameter of the populateContext method contains the values that were intended to be saved, and they are injected so that they are displayed in the metric’s view together with the error message.

    c. The metric was added and a value was successfully set. In this case, the values parameter is empty, and you have to obtain the values from storage that the form should display and inject them in the context so they’re displayed in the metric’s HTML. The newsletter metric stores values in the metric’s instance, but complex metrics could use services to store values.

    You can think of the populateContext method as the intermediary between your JSP and your backend code. You can see how to create the newsletter metric’s UI using a JSP by skipping to the Defining the Metric’s UI section. Once the HTML is successfully retrieved and the user has set the newsletter’s values and clicked Save, the action phase begins.

  3. Once the action phase begins, Audience Targeting processes the tracking action (metric). The processTrackingAction(...) method takes the values from the metric’s UI form and stores them in the corresponding fields of the trackingActionInstance. Since the BaseTrackingAction class provides a default implementation of this method that returns null, the NewsletterTrackingAction class does not need to implement it.

    If you need to process any custom fields in your metric, you should override this method. If you want your custom values to be stored in the typeSettings field of the trackingActionInstance, return their value instead of null.

    Once the metric processing ends, the form is reloaded and the lifecycle restarts again. The value(s) specified in the metric are stored and are ready to be accessed once the report generation begins. Next, you must set the event types that the newsletter metric should evaluate.

  4. Add the following method and private field:

    public List<String> getEventTypes() {
        return ListUtil.fromArray(_EVENT_TYPES);
    private static final String[] _EVENT_TYPES = {"view"};

    This specifies that your newsletter metric only tracks who views the newsletter.

  5. Define a way to retrieve the metric’s localized summary. In many instances, you can do this by combining keys in the metric’s resource bundle with the information stored for the metric. For the newsletter metric, you can provide information about the ID of the newsletter being tracked, which is stored in the alias field of the trackingActionInstance object.

    public String getSummary(
        TrackingActionInstance trackingActionInstance, Locale locale) {
        return LanguageUtil.get(
            locale, trackingActionInstance.getTypeSettings());
  6. Set the servlet context for your metric.

        target = "(osgi.web.symbolicname=newsletter)",
        unbind = "-"
    public void setServletContext(ServletContext servletContext) {

    This is only required for metrics extending the BaseJSPTrackingAction class. The servlet context must be set for the metric to render its own JSP files. The setServletContext method is invoked automatically when the metric module is installed and resolved in Liferay. Make sure the osgi.web.symbolicname in the target property of the @Reference annotation is set to the same value as the Bundle-SymbolicName defined in the bnd.bnd file of the module.

Next, you’ll define a tracking mechanism for your metric to use.

« Creating a MetricUsing a Tracking Mechanism »
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