Customizing Sites and Site Templates with Application Adapters

All the hooks we’ve demonstrated so far are scoped to the portal. What if you need to customize specific sites without propagating the customizations throughout the entire portal? You can! Application Adapters are special hooks that let you make changes at the site level. In Liferay 6.1, Application Adapters are used for overriding JSPs.

There’s a Sample Application Adapter in the Liferay Plugins Repository. How do we build an Application Adapter of our own?

To create an Application Adapter, you need a hook with custom JSPs, and you need to turn the hook’s global custom JSP setting off. First, configure your liferay-hook.xml with the following directives:


When you deploy your hook, Liferay installs the Application Adapter to your instance, under the name of the hook. An Application Adapter hook named Foo becomes available to sites and site templates under the name Foo Hook.

Now, let’s discuss the perks of including the original JSP when overriding it.

Including an original JSP

If you override a JSP from the portal, we recommend you include the original JSP (when possible).

As we already demonstrated, including the original JSP file for global hooks is accomplished by referencing the original JSP file from a <liferay-util:include> tag and appending the suffix .portal.jsp to the original file’s name. Here’s what including the original Navigation portlet’s view JSP in a global hook looks like:

<%@ taglib uri="" prefix="liferay-util" %>

<liferay-util:include page="/html/portlet/navigation/view.portal.jsp" />

For Application Adapter hooks, we include the original JSP by setting the <liferay-util:include> tag’s useCustomPage attribute to false, as below:

<%@ taglib uri="" prefix="liferay-util" %>


The view JSP is specified as view.jsp, not view.portal.jsp as for global hooks.

In the next section, we’ll create and test an application adapter.

Creating an Application Adapter

Let’s create an Application Adapter hook named example-hook. It will override the Navigation portlet’s view.jsp, while including the original Navigation portlet’s JSP with some custom text after its contents.

Here’s how we do it:

  1. Modify your hook’s liferay-hook.xml to specify the location of your custom JSP and set the global custom JSP setting to false:

  2. Create a new view.jsp file in your hook’s docroot/META-INF/custom_jsps/html/portlet/navigation directory and insert code to include the original JSP:

    <%@ taglib uri="" 
    prefix="liferay-util" %>
    This was modified by the Example Application Adapter.
  3. Deploy your Application Adapter hook plugin.

  4. Open your Liferay Portal instance in your web browser and navigate to the site where you’ll use the Application Adapter.

  5. Select ManageSite Settings. From the Application Adapter field’s drop-down menu, select example. Then click Save.

    Figure 7.5: Your Application Adapters are easily accessible in your Sites settings.

    Figure 7.5: Your *Application Adapters* are easily accessible in your Site's settings.

  6. Navigate back to your site’s Navigation portlet, and make sure that the modification message from your Application Adapter hook plugin’s view.jsp file is displayed there.

  7. Navigate to a different site’s Navigation portlet to verify that only the content of the portlet’s original view.jsp file displays.

Using Application Adapter hook plugins to override Liferay’s core functionality at the site scope is easy!

You can also apply Application Adapters to Site Templates.

Let’s pretend you want to make an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for a company’s departments. Your ERP solution requires an extension of Liferay’s Wiki Portlet, so you implement that extension as an Application Adapter. Then, you incorporate the Application Adapter in a Site Template (named “ERP site”) for the company’s ERP sites. The company’s administrative user creates the sites by going to Control PanelSites and adding sites based on the “ERP site” template. The added sites include your Application Adapter automatically.

That’s it for Application Adapters. Let’s learn about performing custom actions through hooks.

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