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Liferay GUI Tutorial

This tutorial will guide the reader in the creation of a simple GUI interface provided by the Liferay portal with a FutureGateway instance. This tutorial is linked with the tutorial: FutureGateway APIs tutorial for this reason, before starting this turoal at least the fgtest container must be up and running together with futuregateway services running in it and at least the first FG application installed. Please be aware that Liferay requires a sensitive amount of physical resources ins terms of both RAM and CPUs. It could be necessary to verify the amount of resources that Docker resevers to the conatainers and tune it accordingly. The minimal resources amount would be 2 CPUs and 3GB of RAM.

By this tutorial the user will:

Start test Liferay container How to start the test Liferay instance
Prepare development environment This part explains the preparation of the Liferay development environment with liferay
Create the portlet Use the Blade CLI to create, deploy and install the GUI structure in the portal
Integrate the portlet with FG APIs How change the structure to manage the necessart back-end and front-end operations and use FG APIs to build the portlet interface
Advanced Advance testing operations are collected in this section

Start test Liferay container

Using the same make command used to generate fgtest container in the FutureGateway APIs tutorial, it is possible to startup another test container providing a Lifieray 7.1 instance. This container will use one of the available images specified in esystemstech/liferay available in dockerhub. Please be aware that the specified version in Makefile may become obsolete, for that reason it is recommended to check the available image tags in dockerhub and apply the proper value in the Makefile variable LIFERAY_IMAGE before to start this test. Another important check consists in the usage of port 8080 made both by the container and the host machine. To chage this default behavior the user has to change the Makefile accordingly in recipe: liferay. To startup the Liferay machine, just execute:

make liferay liferay_logs

The second Makefile recipe above (liferay_logs) is optional and it is used just to have a look on Liferay container logs during the Liferay serer starup. To stop logging operations just press CTRL-C. This step may require a while and it is important to check that the Liferay instance is capable to connect the database provided by the fgtest machine. It will be possible to continue this tutorial only when logs are reporting the final startup message:

<timestamp> INFO  [ org.apache.catalina.startup.Catalina ] Server startup in [xxxxxx] milliseconds

Now it is possible to test our running test insace connecting from the container host machine with the address: http://localhost:8080. In case the portal will present the standard web page, it will be possible to access the admin user with credentials:

Password test

Accessing this user it will be possible to manage the whole site. During the first connection, a secure recovery passphrase will be asked, place your favorite question and related asnwer.

Prepare development environment]

Liferay suggests the use of its Blade-CLI utility to perform development operations. For the purposes of this tutorial, this utility will be used to setup a basic MVC portlet. This tutorial will not go in deep with Liferay MVC portlet management, since for our scope it is only necessary to deal between the bakc-end and front-end provided by the portet.

Blade CLI

This step cannot be provided by any automated installtion script or a set of commands, since the inolved components may change over time. Below are only described the necessary steps to donwnload and isntall Blade CLI and prepare its development environment

Retrieve the Blade CLI software

Liferay provides the page Installing Blade CLI to get infroamation and download the software. The first operation consists in getting the Liferay SDK package which contains the whole files necessary to setup the Blade CLI. The SDK is available in a dedicated SourceForge repository, were developers may download different files accordingly to the available SDK versions and after that he destination operating system. For this tutorial, the user has to select first the directory (for instance 3.8.1/), then download the SDK file: LiferayWorkspace-<timestamp> When the download is completed, move the SDK file from Liferay container host machine to the container with:

export SDKPATH=<path to the LiferayWorkspace-<timestamp> file>

Then execute:

make liferaydev

Now it is possible to start the SDK installation, this operation is perfomed as non root user, while answers to questions prompted by the setup are explained below the command:

make liferaysdk

Most of all options to specify are already suggested as default you can select them just pressing RETURN; below the description and values to specify for each promted option.

Please select the Java(tm) Runtime to use Accodrdingly to the image related to this tutorial, use default value (1)
Initilalize Liferay Workspace directory Initialization is the default option, plaes select it (1)
Liferay Workspace Directory Again use the path suggested to host the workspace
DXP Bundle or Liferay Portal Community Edition Bundle Again the default option is the choice
Specify initialized liferay bundle version This time you may have to change the default setting, use the value that refers tot he Liferay images taken from the dockerhub, it should be (2) Liferay Bundle 7.1
Proxy Configuration Just skip it (default)

Finally confirm the installation entering the ‘y’ key (default). The installation requires just few seconds and at the end it prompts the successful operation with the message:

Setup has finished installing Liferay Workspace on your computer.

Create the portlet

It is now possible to create the portlet that will be out base structure for the FG GUI example. To accomplish this operation, it is necessary to connect the running fgliferay container, this is easily possible using docker exec command or using directly:

make liferaydev_conn

Then it is necessary to enter the liferay-workspace directory created during the Liferay SDK installation at the step above.

cd liferay-workspace

To create the portlet structure it is necessart to call the blade CLI with:

blade create -t mvc-portlet guitest

The output of this command will be:

Successfully created project guitest in /home/liferaydev/liferay-workspace/modules

Our project directory will be then: /home/liferaydev/liferay-workspace/modules/guitest, then enter this directory

cd modules/guitest

The structure of our project is quite simple


For the purposes of this tutorial, this tutorial will principally use the following files:

./src/main/resources/META-INF/resources/ This directory holds static content like css, js, images, etc
./src/main/resources/META-INF/resources/init.jsp This component is responsible of the back-end operations of the FG GUI portlet
./src/main/resources/META-INF/resources/view.jsp This component is responsible of the front-end operations of the FG GUI portlet
./src/main/java/guitest/portlet/ This components is used to manage portlet MVC (not used)
src/main/java Any further external java class must be placed here and used by init.jsp

In order to get familiarity with portlet development, the next step will be to compile and then deploy this portlet structure executing:

blade deploy

Almost at the end of the command output, the message:

Files of project ':modules:guitest' deployed to `/home/liferaydev/liferay-workspace/bundles/osgi/modules`

The message informs about the directory containing the compiled module, the final step consists in deploying the module to the portal with:

cp /home/liferaydev/liferay-workspace/bundles/osgi/modules/guitest.jar /opt/liferay/home/deploy/osgi/modules/

After the copy operation, Liferay will recognise the presence of the new module in /opt/liferay/home/deploy/osgi/modules/ directory and will deploy it in the running portal. To verify the status of this process, it could be useful to watch Liferay log file with:

make liferay_srvlog

Once the portlet will be installed, in the log there will be a message similar to:

<timstamp> INFO  [ com.liferay.portal.equinox.log.bridge.internal.BundleStartStopLogger:39 ] STARTED guitest_1.0.0 [1010]

The last step in this first portlet installation will be to include this portlet in the Liferay site. To perform this operation, follow the steps:

The new portlet should be available for use.

Integrate the portlet with FG APIs

Scope of this part of the tutorial consists in the integration of FG APIs inside the portlet created in the above step. This part can be splitted in two separate steps, a back-end and front-end operations The back-end operation is performed by Liferay at server level when the user accesses the portlet interface. During this phase, FG UGR APIs will be used to:

At the front-end level, the interface will use the access token to execute FG APIs

Manage back-end operations

As explained above, the back-end operations are in charge of files:

src/main/java Any further external java class must be placed here

First of all, download from FG Toolkit repository the java classes used to manage the Liferay backend operations, in particular the class FutureGatewayAPIs.

make liferaydev_conn
git clone
cp -r fgToolkit/java/it liferay-workspace/modules/guitest/src/main/java/

The FutureGatewayAPIs class is now accessible by the init.jsp file.

Go to the guitest portlet example directory and open with an editor (vi is the defaut editor for this developent machine), the file init.jsp.

cd liferay-workspace/modules/guitest/
vi src/main/resources/META-INF/resources/init.jsp

Then replace the existing code with:

<%@ taglib uri="" prefix="c" %>
<%@ taglib uri="" prefix="portlet" %>
<%@ taglib uri="" prefix="aui" %><%@
taglib uri="" prefix="liferay-portlet" %><%@
taglib uri="" prefix="liferay-theme" %><%@
taglib uri="" prefix="liferay-ui" %>
<%@page import="*" %>
<%@page import="*" %>
<%@page import="java.util.Base64" %>
<%@page import="com.liferay.portal.kernel.json.*" %> 
<%@page import="it.infn.ct.FutureGatewayAPIs" %>
<liferay-theme:defineObjects />
<portlet:defineObjects />
    // FG settings
    String fgUser = "futuregateway";
    String fgPassword = "futuregateway";
    String fgBaseUrl = "http://fgtest/fgapiserver";
    String fgAPIVer = "v1.0";
    boolean fgStatus = false;
    String errMessage = "";

    // Application settings
    String appName = "test application 1";
    int appId = 4;
    String appGroup = "users";
    int appGroupId = 2;
    String fgsgGroup = "fgsg_user";

    // Initialize FutureGatewayAPIs object
    FutureGatewayAPIs fgAPIs =
        new FutureGatewayAPIs(fgBaseUrl, fgAPIVer, fgUser, fgPassword);

    // Check FG service
    fgStatus = fgAPIs.checkServer();

    // Retrieve user account information
    String screenName = user.getScreenName();
    String firstName = user.getFirstName();
    String lastName = user.getLastName();
    String emailAddress = user.getEmailAddress();

    // User settings
    int userId = 0;
    boolean userExists = false;
    boolean userGroup = false;
    String portletAccessToken = "";
    String delegatedAccessToken = "";
    String message = "";

    // Use FGAPIs to check user and retieve tokens
    if(fgStatus) {
        // 1st Get the portlet token
        portletAccessToken = fgAPIs.getAccessToken(fgUser, null);

        // 2nd Check if the user exists
        userExists = fgAPIs.userExists(screenName);
        if(!userExists) {
            // User does not exists, create it
            // Check if the inserted user now exists
            userExists = fgAPIs.userExists(screenName);

        // 3rd If the user exists take care of its group membership
        if(userExists) {
            userGroup = fgAPIs.userHasGroup(screenName, appGroup);
            if(!userGroup) {
              // Register it if not yet belonging
              String[] userGroups = { "" + appGroupId };
              fgAPIs.addUserGroups(screenName, userGroups);
              // Re-Check
              userGroup = fgAPIs.userHasGroup(screenName, appGroup);
            // 4th Retrieve the delegated access token
            delegatedAccessToken = fgAPIs.getAccessToken(fgUser, screenName);
        } else {
          message = "unable to create FG user";
    // The GUI interface has now enough information to perform next activitis
    // using the FutureGateway APIs with the delegatedAccessToken

<script type="text/javascript">

//FGAPIServer status
fgstatus = "<%= fgStatus %>";

// Collect user account info into FG user info
fg_user_info = {
  name: '<%= screenName %>',
  first_name: '<%= firstName %>',
  last_name: '<%= lastName %>',
  email: '<%= emailAddress %>',
  insitute: 'unknown',
  err_message: '<%= errMessage %>',
  access_token: '<%= delegatedAccessToken %>',
  user_exists: '<%= userExists %>',
  user_group: '<%= userGroup %>',
  portlet_token: '<%= portletAccessToken %>', // To be removed!!!
  message: '<%= message %>',

// FG API server settings
fg_api_settings = {
  base_url: 'http://localhost/fgapiserver',
  version: 'v1.0',
  enabled: '<%= fgStatus %>',

// Application settigns
fg_app_settings = {
  name: '<%= appName %>',
  id: '<%= appId %>',
  group_name: '<%= appGroup %>',
  group_enabled: '<%= userGroup %>',

Despite the number of code lines, the purpose of the back-end code above is really simple especially because FG APIs are handled at high level by the java class FutureGatewayAPIs making the source more readable. Steps performed by this code can be summarised by:

It is possible to view the content of the javascript variables above, accessing the portal opening the Browser inspector and using its console.

Manage fron-end

To manage the GUI interface at client level, it is needed to operate on the file:


Liferay 7.1 supports both JQuery and Bootstrap, this helps much making really easy the integration of a GUI interface for the FG Applications using FG APIs. The GUI interface will provide:

This tutorial will use as FG Application the first application used in the FutureGateway APIs tutorial. This is one of the most simple application to handle and it will require as input only two input parameters.

Below the che curl command used to execute the application:

curl -s\
     -H "Authorization: $TKN"\
     -H "Content-Type: application/json"\
     -X POST\
     -d "{ \"application\":\"$APP_ID\",
           \"description\":\"testing application 1 with id: $APP_ID\",
           \"arguments\": [\"this is the pased argument app 1\"],
           \"output_files\": [{\"name\": \"$OUTFILE\"}],\
           \"input_files\": [{\"name\": \"$SCRIPT\"}, {\"name\": \"$DATAFILE\"}]}"\

Accordlinlgy to the command above, the two input identifiers will populate the input json fields: description and arguments For the second part of the interface the list of submitted tasks will be placed below the application submission interface.

The client-side code principally manages the portlet web content dinamically using javascript. To do this, replace the existing view.jsp code prepared by the blade create command with:

<%@ include file="/init.jsp" %>

<!-- Title -->
<h3>GUITest Example</h3>
<hr align="left" width="40%">

<!-- main interface -->
<div id="main">

<!-- interface scripts -->
<script type="text/javascript" src="<%= request.getContextPath() %>/js/fgapis.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">

// Build the base URL for FG APIs 
fgAPIBaseURL = fg_api_settings.base_url + '/' + fg_api_settings.version;

// Hold tasks (debugging/development)
tasksData = null;
// Hold task submission result
taskSubmit = null;

// Build GUI interface
function build_gui() {
var guiContent =
  '  <p>' +
  '  <h4>Task submission</h4>' +
  '  <hr align="left" width="70%">' +
  '  <!-- Submission interface -->' +
  '  <div id="submission">' +
  '    <form>' +
  '      <div class="form-group">' +
  '        <label for="arguments">Arguments</label>' +
  '        <input type="text" class="form-control" id="inputArguments" aria-describedby="argumentHelp" placeholder="arg1 arg2 ... argn">' +
  '        <small id="argumentHelp" class="form-text text-muted">Place here a space separated list of arguments or use (quotes or double quotes) to specify single arguments having spaces in it.</small>' +
  '      </div>' +
  '      <div class="form-group">' +
  '        <label for="description">Description</label>' +
  '        <input type="text" class="form-control" id="inputDescription" placeholder="Job submission description">' +
  '      </div>' +
  '      <button type="button" class="btn btn-primary" id="buttonSubmit">Submit</button>' +
  '    </form>' +
  '  </div>' +
  '  </p>' +
  '  <p>' +
  '  <!-- Tasks interface -->' +
  '  <h4>Tasks</h4>' +
  '  <hr align="left" width="70%">' +
  '  <div id="tasks">' +
  '  </div>' +
  '  </p>';
  // Handlers
  $('#buttonSubmit').on('click', function() {
    if(!validate_inputs()) {
      alert('Please specify valid descriprion and arguments');
    } else {
      var desc = $('#inputDescription').val();
      var args = $('#inputArguments').val();
      if (confirm('Are you sure to submit task: \'' + desc + '\'')) {
        do_submit(args, desc);

// Validate application inpts
function validate_inputs() {
  var task_desc = $('#inputDescription').val();
  var task_args = $('#inputArguments').val();
  return task_desc != '' && task_args != '';

// Submit the task
function do_submit(args, desc) {
  console.log('submitting task with args: \'' + args + '\' - desc: \'' + desc + '\'');
  task_data = {
    description: desc,
    arguments: args,
    output_files: [{ name: 'test.out'}],
  doPost(fgAPIBaseURL +'/tasks',
    function(data) {
      taskSubmit = data;
      alert("Task submitted successfully!");
    function(data) {
      taskSubmit = data;
      alert("Unable to submit the job");

// Generate the task list
function prepare_task_list() {
  doGet(fgAPIBaseURL +'/tasks',
        function(data) {
          tasksData = data;
          if(data.tasks.length) {
              '<div class="row">' +
              '  <div class="col"><b>#</b></div>' +
              '  <div class="col"><b>Timestamp</b></div>' +
              '  <div class="col"><b>Status</b></div>' +
              '  <div class="col"><b>Description</b></div>' +
            for(var i=0; i<data.tasks.length; i++) {
                '<div class="row">' +
                '  <div class="col">' + (i+1) + '</div>' +
                '  <div class="col">' + data.tasks[i].creation + '</div>' +
                '  <div class="col">' + map_status(data.tasks[i].status) + '</div>' +
                '  <div class="col">' + data.tasks[i].description + '</div>' +
          } else {
            $("#tasks").html('<div class="alert alert-primary" role="alert">' +
                             'No tasks are available yet' +
          $("#tasks").append('<br/><button type="button" class="btn btn-primary" id="buttonRefresh">Refresh</button>');
          $("#buttonRefresh").on('click', function() {
        function(data) {
          tasksData = data;
          var message = tasksData.responseJSON.message;
          $("#tasks").html('<div class="alert alert-danger" role="alert">' +
                           'Unable to retrieve the task list: \'' +
                           message + '\'' +

function map_status(status) {
  var span_class = 'badge-info';
  if(status == 'DONE') {
    span_class = 'badge-success';
  } else if(status == 'SUBMITTED') {
    span_class = "badge-primary";
  } else if(status == 'READY') {
    span_class = 'badge-warning';
  } else if(status == 'ABORT') {
    span_class = 'badge-danger';
  } else {
    span_class = 'badge-secondary';
  return '<span class="badge ' + span_class + '">' + status + '</span>';

// Main function (GUI accessible)
function guitest() {
  console.log("guitest front end start");

$(document).ready(function() {
  console.log('log ' + themeDisplay.isSignedIn());
  if(!themeDisplay.isSignedIn()) {
    $("#main").html('<div class="alert alert-danger" role="alert">' +
                    'You must sing-in to access this application' +
  } else if(!fg_api_settings.enabled) {
      $("#main").html('<div class="alert alert-danger" role="alert">' +
                      'FG API Server is not reachable, please contact the portal administrator' +

    } else if(fg_user_info.user_exists == "false") {
      $("#main").html('<div class="alert alert-danger" role="alert">' +
                      'You need to be registered in Futuregateway to access this applciation interface' +
    } else {

The view jsp just provides a basic HTML structure with div section having id main. The rest of the GUI interface is creating dynamically accordinly to the status of the APIServer, the user rights etc. The entrypoint of the dynamic part the the document.ready(function().... In case the user is logger and API server is available, the main GUI interface will be built. The interface has two different parts, the first for the application input and submission, the second for submitted task list.


Enable logging for FutureGateway components

It is posssible to show log message generated by FutureGateway components prompting this kind of information in Liferay. To access these logs it is necessary to follow the following stesp:

Then new message will be prompted in liferay log file:

make liferaydev_logs

INDIGO liferay plugins

curl -L –output LiferayPlugins-binary-2.2.1.tgz

GUI (Liferay), old tutorial

docker run -d --name fgliferay -p 28080:8080 --link fgtest_0.2 -e JAVA_OPTS="-XX:NewSize=700m -XX:MaxNewSize=700m -Xms1024m -Xmx1024m -XX:MaxPermSize=128m -XX:+UseParNewGC -XX:+UseConcMarkSweepGC -XX:+CMSParallelRemarkEnabled -XX:SurvivorRatio=20 -XX:ParallelGCThreads=8" esystemstech/liferay:7.0.5-ga6

apt-get update
apt-get install -y --no-install-recommends\

## Nodejs -
curl -sL | sudo bash -
apt-get install -y nodejs

npm install -g yo gulp jquery
npm install -g generator-liferay-theme@7.0.5

## SDK

curl -L --output

chmod +x


git clone
cd liferay-blade-samples

blade samples -v 7.0 jquery-npm-portlet

blade init -v 7.0 liferay_workspace


blade create -t npm-jquery-portlet testgui

blade create -t npm-jquery-portlet -v 7.0 testgui