This is a story of two URLs who couldn’t be more different. One was full of himself, and always wanted to show everyone (users and SEO services alike) just how smart he was, by openly displaying all of the parameters he carried. He was happiest when he met new people and could tell they were intimidated and confused by him.

http://localhost:8080/group/guest/~/control_panel/manage?p_p_id=com_liferay_blogs_web_portlet_BlogsAdminPortlet&p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_state=maximized&p_p_mode=view&_com_liferay_blogs_web_portlet_BlogsAdminPortlet_mvcRenderCommandName=%2Fblogs%2Fedit_entry&_com_liferay_blogs_web_portlet_BlogsAdminPortlet_redirect=http%3A%2F%2Flocalhost%3A8080%2Fgroup%2Fguest%2F~%2Fcontrol_panel%2Fmanage%3Fp_p_id%3Dcom_liferay_blogs_web_portlet_BlogsAdminPortlet%26p_p_lifecycle%3D0%26p_p_state%3Dmaximized%26p_p_mode%3Dview%26_com_liferay_blogs_web_portlet_BlogsAdminPortlet_mvcRenderCommandName%3D%252Fblogs%252Fview%26_com_liferay_blogs_web_portlet_BlogsAdminPortlet_orderBycol%3Dtitle%26_com_liferay_blogs_web_portlet_BlogsAdminPortlet_orderByType%3Dasc%26_com_liferay_blogs_web_portlet_BlogsAdminPortlet_entriesNavigation%3D%26_com_liferay_blogs_web_portlet_BlogsAdminPortlet_cur%3D1%26_com_liferay_blogs_web_portlet_BlogsAdminPortlet_delta%3D20&_com_liferay_blogs_web_portlet_BlogsAdminPortlet_entryId=30836

The other was just, well, friendly. You knew only the important things about her, because she was less concerned about looking smart, and more concerned about those she interacted with. She didn’t need to look fancy and complicated. She aspired to be simple and kind to all the users and SEO services she encountered.

http://localhost:8080/web/guest/home/-/blogs/lunar-scavenger-hunt

If you want your application to be friendly to your users and to SEO services, make your URLs friendlier. It only takes a couple steps, after all.

Creating Friendly URL Routes

  1. First create a routes.xml file in your application’s web module (if a multi-module build, in the pattern of Liferay’s native Service Builder applications). It’s recommended to put it in a src/main/resources/META-INF/friendly-url-routes/ folder.

  2. Add friendly URL routes, using as many <route> tags as you need friendly URLs, like this:

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <!DOCTYPE routes PUBLIC "-//Liferay//DTD Friendly URL Routes 7.0.0//EN" "http://www.liferay.com/dtd/liferay-friendly-url-routes_7_0_0.dtd">
    
    <routes>
        <route>
            <pattern></pattern>
            <implicit-parameter name="mvcRenderCommandName">/blogs/view</implicit-parameter>
            <implicit-parameter name="p_p_lifecycle">0</implicit-parameter>
            <implicit-parameter name="p_p_state">normal</implicit-parameter>
        </route>
        <route>
            <pattern>/maximized</pattern>
            <implicit-parameter name="mvcRenderCommandName">/blogs/view</implicit-parameter>
            <implicit-parameter name="p_p_lifecycle">0</implicit-parameter>
            <implicit-parameter name="p_p_state">maximized</implicit-parameter>
        </route>
        <route>
            <pattern>/{entryId:\d+}</pattern>
            <implicit-parameter name="categoryId"></implicit-parameter>
            <implicit-parameter name="mvcRenderCommandName">/blogs/view_entry</implicit-parameter>
            <implicit-parameter name="p_p_lifecycle">0</implicit-parameter>
            <implicit-parameter name="p_p_state">normal</implicit-parameter>
            <implicit-parameter name="tag"></implicit-parameter>
        </route>
        ...
    </routes>
    

Use <pattern> tags to define placeholder values for the parameters that normally appear in the generated URL. This is just a mask. The beastly URL still lurks beneath it.

Use <implicit-parameter> tags to define parameters that will always be the same for the URL. For example, if you’re dealing with a render URL, you can be certain that the p_p_lifecycle parameter will always be 0. There’s no need for this to be generated. You don’t have to define these type of implicit parameters, but it’s a best practice. If you happen to forget one, or decide not to define any of them, they’ll just be generated as usual.

The implicit parameters with the name mvcRenderCommandName are very important. If you’re using an MVCPortlet with MVCRenderCommand classes, that parameter comes from the mvc.command.name property in the @Component of your MVCRenderCommand implementation. Basically, this determines what will be rendered (for example, view.jsp).

@Component(
    immediate = true,
    property = {
        "javax.portlet.name=" + BlogsPortletKeys.BLOGS, "mvc.command.name=/",
        "mvc.command.name=/blogs/view"
    },
    service = MVCRenderCommand.class
)

Implementing a Friendly URL Mapper

Once you have your URLs mapped in a routes.xml file, you need to provide an implementation of the FriendlyURLMapper service. Just create a component that specifies a FriendlyURLMapper service, with two properties:

  1. One that sets the path to your routes.xml file in the property com.liferay.portlet.friendly-url-routes property.

  2. A javax.portlet.name property.

    @Component(
        property = {
            "com.liferay.portlet.friendly-url-routes=META-INF/friendly-url-routes/routes.xml",
            "javax.portlet.name=" + BlogsPortletKeys.BLOGS
        },
        service = FriendlyURLMapper.class
    )
    

After that, implement the FriendlyURLMapper service. For your convenience, DefaultFriendlyURLMapper provides a default implementation. If you extend DefaultFriendlyURLMapper you only need to override one method, getMapping(). In this method you just need to return a String that defines the first part of your Friendly URLs. It’s smart to name it after your application. Here’s what it looks like for Liferay’s Blogs application:

public class BlogsFriendlyURLMapper extends DefaultFriendlyURLMapper {

    @Override
    public String getMapping() {
        return _MAPPING;
    }

    private static final String _MAPPING = "blogs";

}

All of the Blogs application’s friendly URLs begin with the String set here (blogs).

Friendly URLs in Action

Let’s look at one of these Friendly URLs in action. If you add a blog entry in Liferay, and then add the Blogs application to a page, click on the title of the entry to see it. After that, look at the URL:

http://localhost:8080/web/guest/home/-/blogs/lunar-scavenger-hunt

As specified in the friendly URL mapper class, blogs is the first part of the friendly URL that comes after the Liferay part of the URL. The next part is determined by a specific URL route in routes.xml:

<route>
    <pattern>/{urlTitle}</pattern>
    <implicit-parameter name="categoryId"></implicit-parameter>
    <implicit-parameter name="mvcRenderCommandName">/blogs/view_entry</implicit-parameter>
    <implicit-parameter name="p_p_lifecycle">0</implicit-parameter>
    <implicit-parameter name="p_p_state">normal</implicit-parameter>
    <implicit-parameter name="tag"></implicit-parameter>
</route>

Here, the urlTitle is a database field that’s generated from the title the author gives their blog post, and it’s meant to be used in a URL. Since it’s already a parameter in the URL (see below), it’s available for use in the friendly URL.

<portlet:renderURL var="viewEntryURL">
    <portlet:param name="mvcRenderCommandName" value="/blogs/view_entry" />
    <portlet:param name="urlTitle" value="<%= entry.getUrlTitle() %>" />
</portlet:renderURL>

When a render URL for viewing a blog entry is invoked, the String defined in the friendly URL mapper teams up with the pattern tag in your friendly URL routes file, and you get a very friendly URL indeed, instead of some nasty, conceited, unfriendly URL that’s despised by users and SEO services alike.

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