Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First Steps into Liferay 6: Part 2: Configuring the Liferay Developer Studio

A few weeks ago I installed the Liferay 6 Tomcat bundle.  When the time came to dabble in custom portlets and experiment with themes I discovered that a Java based development environment was needed to work with the Liferay SDK.  Not a problem - my Liferay rep was quick to provide me with a trial license file and a link to download an Eclipse IDE bundled with everythinig you'd conceivably need:

  • Eclipse for JEE Developers Helios SR1 (3.6.2)
  • Eclipse pre-installed with the latest Liferay IDE and Liferay Developer Studio plug-ins
  • Bundled Liferay Plugins SDK 6.0 EE SP1
  • Bundled Liferay Portal 6.0 EE SP1 Tomcat Bundle
  • Example projects bundled with additional Plugins SDK

Given that I'm working in a Windows Server 2008 x64 environment I ran into a problem unzipping the download. This is the same issue that I experienced with the Liferay/Tomcat bundle, because of long file names the OOTB Windows zip utility chokes.  My rep advised me to install WinZip, WinRar or 7Zip.  The first 2 programs failed because of the overly-long file names, but 7Zip proved a winner!

Before installing Liferay Developer Studio 1.2.0 you must have JDK 5.0 or higher installed on your machine.
You can grab the SE JDK 6 (which includes the JRE) from Oracle.
"You must have a copy of the JRE (Java Runtime Environment) on your system to run Java applications and applets. To develop Java applications and applets, you need the JDK (Java Development Kit), which includes the JRE."

The Eclipse install is straight forward, just launch the Liferay Developer Studio 1.2.0/eclipse/eclipse.exe file
and then select a Workspace folder for the IDE to store your projects in.

Given that I had already installed (and done some work building-out) a Liferay portal instance, I was fearful that the Eclipse bundle would either a) overwrite it, or b) ignore it and install another instance.  BUT, fear-not my friends! As soon as the IDE opens up you are prompted to either install a new instance, use an existing instance, or skip the launch wizard completely.

Naturally I selected to use an existing instance, and for the runtime location I unknowingly selected my "Liferay" folder, and the wizard corrected me and pointed itself to the tomcat subfolder.
 I clicked the wizard's finish button and voila!

...true, nothing magical happened, and I was presented with a very gray and unpopulated window, but I'm taking that with a grain of salt and assuming everything is configured as expected and I'm ready to start developing in this Liferay Developer Studio environment!

One thing I noticed right off the bat is that while my Liferay instance seemed properly configured all indications through the IDE were that it was stopped - which was not the case, it was up and running just fine.  Clicking the "start" button in the IDE caused my command line to begin spitting out a series of errors, so I quickly decided that the best thing would be to turn it off and see if things would behave better on a fresh start from just the IDE and that did the trick!

At barely more than a paragraph I found the install instructions to be incredibly brief but that wasn't an issue since the install was so simple!  

Curiously, at no point did it ask me for the license key that my rep had provided me with.  Perhaps that will be something I'll need to conquer in my next task which is building out a Hello World portlet and creating a custom theme!


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