Configuring Liferay Workspace

STOP! Liferay Workspace is simple to use, and you can learn the basics by starting at the beginning. If you’re happily creating projects, deploying code, or using a Docker container, you may not need the information here. If, however, you want to do a deep dive and learn about all the things Workspace can do, this is the place for you.

Here are the topics covered:

  • Updating Liferay Workspace and Bundled Plugins

  • Using Development, UAT, and production environments

  • Managing the Target Platform

Updating Liferay Workspace and Bundled Plugins

Liferay Workspace is constantly updated to help developers be more productive, and bringing your Workspace up to date is a painless process.

  1. Go to Workspace’s releases on Liferay’s repository. The versions appear in a list; take note of the version number you need.

  2. Open the settings.gradle file in your Workspace’s root folder.

  3. In the dependencies block, update the version with the version you found in the repository. If you want to stay on the latest release, supply the text latest.release instead of the version number.

     dependencies {
         classpath group: "com.liferay", name: "com.liferay.gradle.plugins.workspace", version: "[WORKSPACE_VERSION]"
  4. Save and close the file. To run the upgrade, execute any Gradle command, such as tasks:

    ./gradlew tasks

Congratulations! Your Workspace is now upgraded.

Updating Your Liferay Version

You may want to update the version of Liferay that Workspace compiles for. This is handled by a single property:


Update the property’s value to the version of Liferay for which you’re developing code. Your workspace’s dependencies are then automatically updated to the new version.

Using JDK 11


If you compile under JDK 11, you must run under JDK 11. Make sure your app servers are running JDK 11 before making any changes to Workspace. Note that Liferay’s Docker images use JDK 8 by default. To override this, create your Docker image using the -e JAVA_VERSION=zulu11 environment variable.

Prerequisite: If you’re using an older version of Workspace, you must upgrade two things:

  1. Update Gradle to at least version 6.6.1

  2. Update your Workspace version to at least 3.4.2 (see above for upgrade procedure).

To upgrade Gradle, edit the gradle/wrapper/ file in your Workspace:


If you upgraded your Workspace too, make sure you have the liferay.workspace.product property set. Remember, you can always get a current list for this property using Blade CLI by typing blade init -l.

If you upgraded an older workspace, make sure the Liferay CDN is declared in your Workspace’s settings.gradle file:

maven {
	url ""

Great! You’re now ready to use JDK 11 with your Liferay projects. If you have existing projects, there are additional steps you may need to take.

Service Builder Projects

If you upgraded an older Workspace with Service Builder projects, add this configuration to the build.gradle file in the Service Builder -service module:

tasks.withType(JavaCompile) {

	// Generated classes using Jodd library are unable to be read when compiled against JDK 11

	sourceCompatibility = JavaVersion.VERSION_1_8
	targetCompatibility = JavaVersion.VERSION_1_8

JAX-WS Projects

If you have any JAX-WS projects, they require classes from javax.xml.soap which were removed from JDK 11. Now you must specify them as a dependency manually:

compile ''

Creating Deployment Environments

There comes a point when your code is ready to share with somebody. For that, you must build an environment. In the corporate world, there are usually three environments:

  • Developer: an environment for early testing, where code can be fixed and redeployed rapidly. Power users test here.

  • User Acceptance Testing (UAT): an environment that more closely mirrors the production configuration. When your application is near-complete, you generally invite a larger segment of users to test here.

  • Production: the environment where your live site lives. Deployments are tightly controlled, and only code that’s been tested on the other two environments is deployed.

Liferay Workspace makes it easy to generate your deployment environments, whether they be container-based or traditional. You provide the configuration, run a Gradle task, and you can generate a distributable Docker container or server archive ready to install. Workspace contains an optional configs folder where the action happens.

If you created your workspace using Blade CLI, the configs folder already exists. If you created your Workspace manually, create this folder structure in your Workspace directory:

├── common
│   └──
├── dev
│   └──
├── docker
├── local
├── prod
└── uat

Don’t put anything in the files yet.

How Deployment Environments Work

The configs folders define specific scenarios:

common: Contains configuration that applies to all the environments.

dev: Contains configuration for the development environment.

docker: Contains Docker configuration.

local: Contains configuration for the local environment where the Workspace resides.

prod: Contains configuration for the production environment.

uat: Contains configuration for the User Acceptance Testing environment.

Placing configuration files in a particular folder defines the configuration for that environment. In the case of common, that configuration is merged with the others when the environment is built. Now you’re ready to build some environments.

Building Deployment Environments

Assume this scenario for your environments:

  • Developer environment should use developer properties

  • Local environment points to local database

  • Developer and UAT environments point to their own databases

  • All environments skip the setup wizard

Here’s how to configure that scenario:

  1. In the common folder, add this property to

  2. In the local folder, configure a local database in

    # MySQL
  3. In the dev folder, enable developer properties and configure a database on the development server in
    # MySQL
  4. In the uat folder, configure a database on the UAT environment in

    # MySQL

Excellent! You’re all set up now to generate and distribute environments.

Generating Deployment Environments

Now you can generate environments to run locally or to distribute to your server. This is done using either the initBundle or the distBundle Gradle task.

  1. You should test your environment first. To build it locally, use the initBundle command. For example, to build the dev environment, you’d run this:

    ./gradlew initBundle -Pliferay.workspace.environment=dev

    This compiles and deploys all the projects in your Workspace to the runtime in the bundles folder. It also provides the configuration you specified—in this example, the dev environment’s configuration. If you examine the file in the bundles folder, you’ll see it matches what you provided for the dev configuration.

  2. If the environment looks good and tests well, you can build a distributable bundle containing all your applications and configuration. Run this command:

    ./gradlew distBundleTar -Pliferay.workspace.environment=dev

    This builds a gzipped tar file in the build folder. You can take this archive and install it on your development server as you would any other Liferay bundle, except that this bundle is fully configured the way you wanted it and has all your applications already installed.

You can use the distBundleZip command if you would rather have a .zip archive.

Follow the above steps to test and build each environment.

Managing the Target Platform

Normally when defining Gradle dependencies, you must provide versions of those dependencies, like this:

dependencies {
   compileOnly group: "javax.portlet", name: "portlet-api", version: "3.0.1"
   compileOnly group: "javax.servlet", name: "javax.servlet-api", version: "4.0.1"

Since any application written on Liferay’s platform targets that platform, Liferay has made it easy for you to specify all dependencies in one shot by declaring the version of Liferay and then inheriting other dependencies from Liferay. That way, you don’t have the mess shown above.

Target platform is enabled by default; you don’t have to do anything extra to use it. Here’s what most dependencies look like now:

dependencies {
	compileOnly group: "com.liferay.portal", name: "release.portal.api"

This brings in all the dependencies that come with Liferay. If for some reason you must specify a particular dependency, you still can:

dependencies {
        compileOnly group: "com.liferay.portal", name: "release.portal.api"
        cssBuilder group: "com.liferay", name: "com.liferay.css.builder", version: "3.0.2"