Organizing the Source

Organizing the Source

It is important to have a solid understanding of how the Liferay source is organized when working on fixing a bug or adding a new feature to the product. The Liferay Source can also be a great source of reference when building custom projects because it provides a complete implementation of the various frameworks provided by the platform.

The Liferay Source is now organized using two main areas:

  • Portal Core - These are parts of the original platform that have not been extracted to a module as of yet. They carry familiar names from Liferay 6.2 such as: portal-impl, portal-service and portal-web.
  • Modules - Many features have now been extracted as modules and reside in the liferay-portal/modules directory. Many modules follow the Liferay MVC pattern and are organized in the relevant .api, .service and .web modules.

More Information

To gain a deeper understanding of some of the patterns used in the Liferay Source, make sure to read the Developing a Web Application tutorial in the official Liferay docs.

Blogs Widget

The following example uses the out of the box Blogs widget and will highlight some of the more relevant patterns in that application as well as provide links back to the documentation for specific sections in the code.


liferay-portal/modules/apps/blogs/blogs-web/src/main/java/ com/liferay/blogs/web/internal/portlet/

BlogsPortlet follows the Liferay MVC pattern and is the main entry point for the Blogs Widget. One thing to note is the BlogsPortlet class does not list a view-template init param. More on that next.

For more information, see the Liferay MVC docs.


liferay-portal/modules/apps/blogs/blogs-web/src/main/java/ com/liferay/blogs/web/internal/portlet/

When a Portlet component does not list a view-template, this usually means that a MVCRenderCommand is what dispatches to the entry .jsp file. BlogsViewMVCRenderCommand handles the dispatch to /blogs/view.jsp for both / and /blogs/view


liferay-portal/modules/apps/blogs/blogs-web/src/main/resources /META-INF/resources/blogs/view.jsp

Provides the main entry point for the blogs widget’s ui. Developing a Web Application tutorial has a great example for some entry level JSP development.

Asset Renderer

liferay-portal/modules/apps/blogs/blogs-web/src/main/java/ com/liferay/blogs/web/asset/model

Asset Renderers are a part of the Asset Framework and are used for rendering an asset using the Asset Publishing

Panel Entry

liferay-portal/modules/apps/blogs/blogs-web/src/main/java/ com/liferay/blogs/web/internal/application/list/

Panel entries allow for widgets to be added to the product menu allowing for projects to have an administrative view.


liferay-portal/modules/apps/blogs/blogs-web/src/main/java/ com/liferay/blogs/web/internal/configuration/

Add configurable parameters to System Settings using the configuration component. This makes it easy to make a project configurable using out of the box functionality


liferay-portal/modules/apps/blogs/blogs-web/src/main/java/ com/liferay/blogs/web/internal/messaging/

Add scheduled tasks to any application. This is handy for if there is something that needs to run within an application periodically.


liferay-portal/modules/apps/blogs/blogs-web/src/main/java/ com/liferay/blogs/web/internal/portlet/route/

Friendly URLs allow applications to use more SEO friendly URLs for render and action urls.

Dynamic Include

liferay-portal/modules/apps/blogs/blogs-web/src/main/java/ com/liferay/blogs/web/internal/servlet/taglib/

Dynamic includes allow for UI customizations with out the need for a Fragment bundle, this making it more upgrade friendly.

Application Display Template

liferay-portal/modules/apps/blogs/blogs-web/src/main/java/ com/liferay/blogs/web/internal/template/

Application Display Templates allow for the use of Freemarker templates in place of using a standard JSP. This makes ADTs more upgrade friendly then directly customizing the JSPs.

Application Display Template sample

/Users/jamie/Repos/liferay-portal/modules/apps/blogs/blogs-web/src/main/resources/ com/liferay/blogs/web/template/dependencies/portlet_display_template_basic.ftl

Many out of the box applications come with basic Application Display Templates which can make getting started using them much easier. For example the blogs widget comes with a basic template to list blog entries and is similar to the JSP counterpart.

These are only a few frameworks in use in the blogs widget. There are many more throughout the code. Most of the other widgets under modules also use this same pattern. So learning how one widget is organized will allow anyone to understand how most code is organized in the repo.