When testing how pages and apps appear for users, it’s important to simulate their views in as many ways as possible. The Simulation Menu on the right-side of the main page allows this, and you can extend the menu if you need to simulate something that it does not provide.

First, you must get accustomed to using panel categories/apps. This is covered in detail in the Customizing The Product Menu tutorial. Once you know how to create panel categories and panel apps, continue with this tutorial.

There are few differences between the Simulation Menu and Product Menu, mostly because they extend the same base classes. The Simulation Menu, by default, is made up of only one panel category and one panel app. Liferay provides the SimulationPanelCategory class, a hidden category needed to hold the DevicePreviewPanelApp. This is the app and functionality you see in the Simulation Menu by default.

simulation-menu-preview.png

Figure 1: The Simulation Menu offers a device preview application.

To provide your own functionality in the Simulation Menu, you must create a panel app in SimulationPanelCategory. If you want to add extensive functionality, you can even create additional panel categories in the menu to divide up your panel apps. This tutorial covers the simpler case of creating a panel app for the already present hidden category.

  1. Follow the steps documented in Adding Custom Panel Apps for creating custom panel apps. Once you’ve created the foundation of your panel app, move on to learn how to tweak it so it customizes the Simulation Menu.

    You can generate a Simulation Panel App by using Blade CLI’s Simulation Panel Entry template. You can also refer to the Simulation Panel App sample for a working example.

  2. Since this tutorial assumes you’re providing more functionality to the existing simulation category, set the simulation category in the panel.category.key of the @Component annotation:

    "panel.category.key=" + SimulationPanelCategory.SIMULATION
    

    In order to use this constant, you must add a dependency on com.liferay.product.navigation.simulation.

    Be sure to also specify the order to display your new panel app, which was explained in Adding Custom Panel Apps.

  3. This tutorial assumes you’re using JSPs. Therefore, you should extend the BaseJSPPanelApp abstract class, which implements the PanelApp interface and also provides additional methods necessary for specifying JSPs to render your panel app’s UI. Remember that you can also implement your own include() method to use any front-end technology you want, if you want to use a technology other than JSP (e.g., FreeMarker).

  4. Define your simulation view. For instance, in DevicePreviewPanelApp, the getJspPath method points to the simulation-device.jsp file in the resources/META-INF/resources folder, where the device simulation interface is defined. Optionally, you can also add your own language keys, CSS, or JavaScript resources in your simulation module.

    The right servlet context is also provided by implementing this method:

    @Override
    @Reference(
        target = "(osgi.web.symbolicname=com.liferay.product.navigation.simulation.device)",
        unbind = "-"
    )
    public void setServletContext(ServletContext servletContext) {
        super.setServletContext(servletContext);
    }
    

    As explained in Customizing The Product Menu, a panel app should be associated with a portlet. This makes the panel app visible only when the user has permission to view the portlet. This panel app is associated to the Simulation Device portlet using these methods:

    @Override
    public String getPortletId() {
        return ProductNavigationSimulationPortletKeys.
            PRODUCT_NAVIGATION_SIMULATION;
    }
    
    @Override
    @Reference(
        target = "(javax.portlet.name=" + ProductNavigationSimulationPortletKeys.PRODUCT_NAVIGATION_SIMULATION + ")",
        unbind = "-"
    )
    public void setPortlet(Portlet portlet) {
        super.setPortlet(portlet);
    }
    

    Audience Targeting also provides a good example of how to extend the Simulation Menu. When the Audience Targeting app is deployed, the Simulation Menu is extended to offer Audience Targeting User Segments and Campaigns. You can simulate particular scenarios for campaigns and users directly from the Simulation Menu. Its panel app class is similar to DevicePreviewPanelApp, except it points to a different portlet and JSP.

    simulation-menu-at.png

    Figure 2: The Audience Targeting app extends the Simulation Menu to help simulate different users and campaign views.

  5. You can combine your simulation options with the device simulation options by interacting with the device preview iFrame. To retrieve the device preview frame in an aui:script block of your custom simulation view’s JavaScript, you can use this code:

    var iframe = A.one('#simulationDeviceIframe');
    

    Then you can modify the device preview frame URL like this:

    iframe.setAttribute('src', newUrlWithCustomParameters);
    

Now that you know how to extend the necessary panel categories and panel apps to modify the Simulation Menu, create a module of your own and customize the Simulation Menu so it’s most helpful for your needs.

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