Overriding and Adding Struts Actions

Do you want to override Liferay’s Struts actions or add a new Struts action to Liferay? You can do both using Struts action hooks.

First, consider the interfaces used for Struts actions:

The StrutsAction interface is used with portal Struts actions, like /c/portal/update_email_address. The StrutsPortletAction interface is used with portlet Struts actions.

Struts actions are classes, and they’re specified in a struts-config.xml file. Liferay Portal’s struts-config.xml file resides in its WEB-INF folder. It links actions to JSPs or tiles. Each action performs a task and then returns a forward, an object containing a name and path. The forward defines the page the portal sends the user to after the action completes. When a user submits a form that maps to a Struts action, the portal loads and executes the action class’ method, which returns a forward.

You can use a Struts action hook plugin to override/wrap existing Struts actions or to create a new Struts action and path; you’ll do both in this tutorial. You’ll override a Struts action to use your own class. Then you’ll create a new Struts action path and navigate to it. It’s time to begin!

Overriding Struts Actions

For the first part of this tutorial, you’ll override a portlet’s existing Struts action using a hook plugin project.

You can view the current actions in your portal’s struts-config.xml file. For example, here’s the default login Struts action:

<action path="/login/login"


You can override a portlet’s Struts action like the one above by following these steps:

  1. Open the liferay-hook.xml file from your hook plugin’s docroot/WEB-INF folder.

  2. Add a struts-action element within the hook element.

  3. Add to the struts-action element, a struts-action-path element with a value that specifies the action path you’re overriding and add a struts-action-impl element with a value that specifies your custom action class.

    The following Struts action from example hook plugin example-hook specifies a custom Struts portlet action class called ExampleStrutsPortletAction. This action class is invoked for the Struts action path /login/login. The example hook’s struts-action element looks like this:


    The DTD for liferay-hook.xml is here.

  4. In your hook plugin’s docroot/WEB-INF/src folder, create a Struts portlet action class and its package folders.

    Here’s an example Struts portlet action class:

    package com.liferay.sample.hook.action;
    import com.liferay.portal.kernel.struts.BaseStrutsPortletAction;
    import com.liferay.portal.kernel.struts.StrutsPortletAction;
    import com.liferay.portal.theme.ThemeDisplay;
    import com.liferay.portal.kernel.util.WebKeys;
    import javax.portlet.ActionRequest;
    import javax.portlet.ActionResponse;
    import javax.portlet.PortletConfig;
    import javax.portlet.RenderRequest;
    import javax.portlet.RenderResponse;
    import javax.portlet.ResourceRequest;
    import javax.portlet.ResourceResponse;
    public class ExampleStrutsPortletAction extends BaseStrutsPortletAction {
        public void processAction(
                StrutsPortletAction originalStrutsPortletAction,
                PortletConfig portletConfig, ActionRequest actionRequest,
                ActionResponse actionResponse)
            throws Exception {
            ThemeDisplay themeDisplay =
            Long currentuser = themeDisplay.getUserId();
            if (currentuser != null) {
                System.out.println("Custom Struts Action 2");
                originalStrutsPortletAction, portletConfig, actionRequest,
        public String render(
                StrutsPortletAction originalStrutsPortletAction,
                PortletConfig portletConfig, RenderRequest renderRequest,
                RenderResponse renderResponse)
            throws Exception {
            System.out.println("Custom Struts Action");
            return originalStrutsPortletAction.render(
                null, portletConfig, renderRequest, renderResponse);
        public void serveResource(
                StrutsPortletAction originalStrutsPortletAction,
                PortletConfig portletConfig, ResourceRequest resourceRequest,
                ResourceResponse resourceResponse)
            throws Exception {
                originalStrutsPortletAction, portletConfig, resourceRequest,

Notice that the class extends the base class BaseStrutsPortletAction. The render method of class above prints to the console the message Custom Struts Action every time a user logs in.

As a best practice in extending Struts actions, consider invoking the base class methods that you override.

That’s it for overriding Struts actions! The next section of this tutorial demonstrates how to add a new Struts action.

Adding Struts Actions

Now that you know how to override a Struts action, you might also be interested in adding a new Struts action. Here’s how you do it:

  1. If you like, create a folder for the new action’s JSP. The example hook plugin example-hook2-hook on GitHub, stores its custom JSP in a folder docroot/META-INF/custom_jsps/html/portal.

  2. Add a JSP for your new Struts action. For example, the following code from the example-hook2-hook plugin’s JSP greets the user:

    String name = (String)request.getAttribute("name");
    Hello <%= name %>!
  3. Create a new Struts action class. Consider extending BaseStrutsAction. As an example, here’s the code from the example-hook2-hook plugin’s Struts action class ExampleStrutsAction:

    package com.liferay.sample.hook.action;
    import com.liferay.portal.kernel.struts.BaseStrutsAction;
    import com.liferay.portal.kernel.util.ParamUtil;
    import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
    import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
    public class ExampleStrutsAction extends BaseStrutsAction {
        public String execute(
            HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
            throws Exception {
            String name = ParamUtil.get(request, "name", "World");
            request.setAttribute("name", name);
            return "/portal/sample.jsp";

    Notice that the ExampleStrutsAction class’s execute method sets the request attribute name to the current user’s name, or to World if the user’s name isn’t accessible.

    This class overrides BaseStrutsAction’s execute(HttpServletRequest, HttpServletResponse) method, but not its execute(StrutsAction, HttpServletRequest, HttpServletResponse) method. You’d typically override both methods. It’s fine to ignore overriding that method in this example hook.

  4. Open the liferay-hook.xml file from the hook plugin’s docroot/WEB-INF folder.

  5. If you’re using a custom JSP folder, add within the hook element a custom-jsp-dir element that specifies the JSP folder path as its value. Within the hook element, just after the custom-jsp-dir element (if you added one), add a struts-action element. Within the struts-action element, add a struts-action-path element with a value that specifies the action path you’re overriding and add a struts-action-impl element with a value that specifies your custom action class.

    The following example Struts action from the example-hook2-hook plugin specifies Struts action path /custom/path for invoking the custom Struts portlet action class ExampleStrutsPortletAction.

  6. If you’d like your Struts action path to be public, add it to your portal’s list of paths that don’t require authentication. Do this by copying your existing auth.public.paths property assignment from your portal’s portal.properties into your portal-ext.properties file. Then add your Struts action path to the end of the value list. It looks similar to the assignment below, where you’d replace /custom/path with your custom Struts action path:

  7. Restart the portal server and try your new Struts path.

  8. Open your custom Struts action’s JSP in your browser. The JSP for example hook plugin example-hook2-hook can be accessed from a browser at the path you specified: http://localhost:8080/c/portal/sample.


Figure 1: The example-hook2-hook example hook plugin’s new Struts action JSP displays Hello World!.

Great! Now you know about the interfaces used for Struts actions. You also learned how to override an existing action and create a new action using a hook. You’re ready to strut your stuff!

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