Customizing Sites and Site Templates with Application Adapters

JSP hooks are often scoped to the portal, but 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. You use them to override JSPs.

There’s a sample Application Adapter in the Liferay Plugins Repository. Are you ready to build an Application Adapter of our own? In this tutorial, you’ll create your own Application Adapter hook.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create a hook plugin.

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


    You’ll need to create the docroot/META-INF/custom_jsps folder in your hook if it does not exist. You can do this by creating the folder manually or navigating to your liferay-hook.xml file’s Overview tab and selecting Custom JSPs. Then in the menu that appears, check the Customize Liferay Portal JSPs and click the button with three yellow diamonds.

  3. In your project’s docroot/META-INF/custom_jsps/html/portlet/ folder, create a folder with the same name as the portlet you’re overriding. In the new folder, create a JSP file with the same name as the JSP file you’re overriding. In this new JSP, you’ll implement application customizations.

    It’s recommended to include the original JSP (if possible) when overriding a JSP. You can include an original JSP by using a <liferay-util:include> tag. For example, if you wanted to include an original JSP named view.jsp from a portlet named yourportlet, you could add a directive to include the liferay-util taglib and specify a <liferay-util:include> tag to include the original JSP. You can include content before or after the original content The following example code snippet includes an original JSP named view.jsp and adds custom content below it:

    <%@ taglib uri="" 
    prefix="liferay-util" %>
    <!-- Custom Content -->
    This was modified by your Application Adapter.

    Within the <liferay-util:include> tag, you must specify the path of the original JSP you’re extending and set the useCustomPage attribute to false.

  4. Deploy your application adapter hook plugin. Liferay installs the application adapter under the name of the hook.

  5. In your web browser, navigate to the Liferay site where you’ll use the application adapter.

  6. Select AdminConfigurationSite Settings of the Site Administration interface. From the Application Adapter field’s drop-down selector menu, select your application adapter. Then click Save.


    Figure 1: Your application adapters are easily accessible from the Site Settings section of the Site Administration interface.

  7. Navigate to your site’s pages, add the portlet your hook is modifying to a page, and make sure that the modification you made from your Application Adapter hook plugin’s JSP file is displayed there.

  8. Navigate to a different site and add the same portlet to verify that only the content of the portlet’s original 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.

Suppose 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.

In this tutorial, you learned that application adapters are used to scope customizations to specific sites in your portal instance. Then you created one for yourself and learned best practices along the way.

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