Hooks are commonly used to override web resources, found in the portal-web directory of Liferay’s source. You can use a hook to override JSP files, JSPF files, JavaScript files, and images.

Important: A JSPF change takes effect only when you modify a JSP that includes the JSPF.

Replacing a portal JSP is a simple task with hooks.

Replacing a Liferay Portal JSP

Suppose you need to manually override one of Liferay Portal’s JSPs, like its Terms of Use page. You can accomplish this by following these steps:

  1. Use Liferay IDE to create a new hook project in your Liferay Plugins SDK.

  2. Open the liferay-hook.xml file from your project’s docroot/WEB-INF folder in Liferay IDE. By default, it opens in Overview mode. This mode gives you a graphical user interface for developing your hook. You can toggle between Overview mode and Source mode via their respective tabs of the liferay-hook.xml file editor.

  3. Select the Custom JSPs folder from the outline to bring up the custom JSP options. Select the check box Customize Liferay Portal JSPs and create the default custom JSP folder /META-INF/custom_jsps by clicking the icon that has the three yellow diamonds.


    Figure 1: Liferay IDE lets you specify a folder for the custom JSPs you’re developing. Create the folder by clicking the icon that has the three yellow diamonds.

  4. Add to the listing of custom JSPs by clicking the plus icon and specifying the Liferay Portal JSP file that you want to override. Hint: the browse icon on the right-hand side in the custom JSP text field simplifies finding the JSP you want to customize. It lets you scroll through the accessible JSPs and lets you specify key words to narrow your search.


    Figure 2: Liferay IDE simplifies adding a custom JSP to your hook by providing a powerful overview mode for editing your liferay-hook.xml file.

  5. Open the copy of the Liferay Portal JSP file from the docroot/META-INF/custom_jsps/html/portal/ folder.

    For example, the custom JSP file copy of Liferay Portal’s terms_of_use.jsp would be made available in the hook project at docroot/META-INF/custom_jsps/html/portal/terms_of_use.jsp.

    Modify the JSP file with your customization.

  6. Deploy your hook and wait until it is deployed successfully.

  7. The original JSP stays in the cache until the cache is cleared or Liferay Portal is restarted. To clear the cache, navigate to Control PanelServer Administration and click on the appropriate Clear content … buttons in the Resources tab.

  8. Navigate to the custom JSP in Liferay and verify your customization.

    For example, in the case of customizing the Terms of Use page, you’d create a new user and log in to see your customization.

Now there are two JSP files in Liferay deployed on your application server. One JSP has the original name and the other ends with .portal.jsp. The first file is your hook’s version of the file. The .portal.jsp file is a copy of Portal’s original file.

For example, if the original Portal JSP file was terms_of_use.jsp, the hook’s version of the file uses that name and the original version of the file is renamed terms_of_use.portal.jsp.

To revert back to the original, undeploy your hook. Your replacement JSP is removed, and the .portal.jsp file is automatically renamed, taking its place. You can override any JSP in the Liferay core, while retaining thew ability to revert your changes easily. Be careful not to override the same JSP in multiple hooks: you’ll get whichever one happened to deploy last.

Note: we don’t recommend changing Liferay’s Terms of Use with a hook. You can replace the Terms of Use with a piece of web content simply by specifying values for these two properties in portal-ext.properties:


Although this example hook doesn’t provide any new functionality, it demonstrates how to override Liferay’s JSP files.

Congratulations on overriding a Liferay Portal JSP!

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Overriding Language Properties Using a Hook

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