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James Falkner
Developer Documentation: Review
February 25, 2011 11:53 AM
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James Falkner

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All,

As you know, we have been in the process of updating our developer documentation to cover items that the community has asked for, among other things. Jorge put together a draft of the next version of this document and wants our feedback.

Take a look at the attached document. One is the fully rendered version, the other is a version that shows the changes Jorge has made.

What we are looking for:

  1. Do the chapters and sections flow together and in a good order?
  2. Is the content easy to understand?
  3. Technical Accuracy
  4. Any other feedback you feel relevant

I'd like to wrap up this review in 1 week (next Friday). So have a look. Once we're done with the review, and Jorge makes corrections, we'll publish it and move onto other dev docs tasks (javadoc and taglib docs, schema docs, architectural overviews, entity references, etc).
Attachments: liferay-developer-guide.pdf (1,476.0k), liferay-developer-guide_changes-highlighted.pdf (1,574.3k)
Tomas Polesovsky
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
February 25, 2011 3:22 PM
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Tomas Polesovsky

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Hello James et. al.

I went a bit though the document and have some notes.

On the page 9 there is mistake - tecnologies instead of technologies emoticon

On the page 12 for Linux and Mac OS is written to use ./catalina.sh run. I'm used to start Liferay using startup.sh (alternative to startup.bat) which is more logical for me.

I think it would be nice to write also something about Liferay Maven SDK as an alternative to Plugins SDK (maybe Mika could help? emoticon )

Maybe it would be useful to have link to portlet JSRs in the doc.

And one last thing - show Liferay sources organization and basic rules. I mean, every developer sooner or later gets to look into the sources and for a newbie it can be hard to find out the structure of the sources. I can image short paragraph describing directories within sources (portal-impl & portal-service), basic packages (portal & portlets) and what are main classes (MainServlet, ServicePreAction, LayoutAction ...).

What do you think?

Thanks.

-- tom
Tobias Käfer
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
February 25, 2011 11:01 PM
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Tobias Käfer

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Hi James,

I stumbled over this part (page 95):
Permission Algorithms
There are 6 permission algorithms that Liferay has used during time for checking
permissions. Liferay 5 introduced algorithm 5 that is based on RBAC system. Liferay 6
optimized algorithm 5 into version 6, which included important performance
improvements by using a reduced set of database tables.


That's not right. The permission algorithm 6 was indeed available in LR 5. It was marked as beta, but it was the default algorithm, when you started the migration tool in the control panel. So it was not a possible option, from the upgrade/migration perspective, but it was a forced beta testing.
This caused me some problems, when upgrading to LR 6, since some of you weren't aware of this and presumed the algorithm 6 was not available in LR 5. (see LPS-13228)



I am missing some more detailed explanation about the differences of ext and hook.

Tomas Polesovsky:
And one last thing - show Liferay sources organization and basic rules. I mean, every developer sooner or later gets to look into the sources and for a newbie it can be hard to find out the structure of the sources. I can image short paragraph describing directories within sources (portal-impl & portal-service), basic packages (portal & portlets) and what are main classes (MainServlet, ServicePreAction, LayoutAction ...).

I totally agree to this one.
I think it would also be good to explain the differences of portal-impl.jar and portal-service.jar: When they are available, which purposes they have and so on.


After all, the document is quite helpful, if you know what you want to do. I have seen a lot of forum posts like this "I have a big project to be handled, where should I start".
Maybe some of them are trying to get someone else to do the job, but others might be confused of the possibilites, a very recent example:
In the German forum category, there was someone trying to change the layout of the portlet area, by not using a custum layout, but by creating a custom theme.

So I think there should be a document or quide line for newbies, that help them to find the right tool for the right purpose.

Cheers
Tobias
Yousri BENDIABDALLAH
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
February 26, 2011 3:48 PM
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Yousri BENDIABDALLAH

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I remark that it lacks a chapter on creating Layout, with an example
Oliver Bayer
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 1, 2011 2:43 AM
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Oliver Bayer

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Hi James,

here some little typos I've discovered while skimming the pdf:
- page 41: Here is an example ... to add a ...
- page 42: Then log out and ...
- page 42: Custom actions are not the only extensions that can be made by ??? the sdk?
- page 79: maybe the screenshots of the IDE should be redone because now it's possible to create new themes and layouts

HTH Oli
Jorge Ferrer
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 1, 2011 12:05 PM
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Jorge Ferrer

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Hey guys,

Thanks everyone for your feedback. We are already working on a new version based on your comments. I'll post it tomorrow or the day after.
Deb Troxel
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 1, 2011 1:09 PM
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Deb Troxel

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Hi Jorge,

Is there still time to comment? I was hoping to review but probably won't have time to post until Friday. If that's too late, no problem. (I haven't read the doc yet so not even sure if I'll have any feedback.) Please let us know the cut-off.

Thanks,
Deb
Juan Gonzalez
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 2, 2011 12:17 AM
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Juan Gonzalez

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I have the same problem....Don't have time to review it until tomorrow.
Jorge Ferrer
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 2, 2011 1:43 AM
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Jorge Ferrer

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Hi Deb, Juan,

No worries. Actually, it is a good thing that you will be reviewing later so that the text that you review already has all the corrections and additions that we have been doing based on previous comments. That way you will probably be able to make new suggestions and find different things. I plan publish the new edition today and I will add a post message letting everybody know.

My plan is to keep improving the guide further so all comments and reviews are very welcome so that we can all decide together the aspects in which new editions should focus on.
Boubker TAGNAOUTI
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 2, 2011 2:17 AM
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Boubker TAGNAOUTI

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Hi everyone,

here some little typos I've discovered when exploring the doc

page 12 : the the most forward
page 13 : the the core functionality
page 14 : Vaading or JSF implementations
page 15 : own framework, MVCPortlet and AlloyPortlet
page 16 : its persistence later (layer)

As Deb and Juan, i don't have enough time to review all the document this week.

So I'll wait for the next version for a more complete review.
Jorge Ferrer
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 2, 2011 3:09 AM
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Jorge Ferrer

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Hey everyone,

I am happy to let you know that the new edition of the guide has just been published in the documentation section of the site:

http://www.liferay.com/documentation/liferay-portal/6.0/development

I am writing a blog entry to let the whole community know but I am letting you know first just in case you find any major issue. Note that the PDF has not been uploaded as I am writing this, but may be already there by the time you read it. Just make sure you double check if you download it (the easiest way is to check the description of changes in the preface).

I have tried my best to apply as much of the feedback that I have received as possible both in this thread and from internal reviewers within the company. Of course all typos have been fixed. Here are some specific comments:

Tomas Polesovsky:
I think it would be nice to write also something about Liferay Maven SDK as an alternative to Plugins SDK (maybe Mika could help?


Yeah, that's a good idea. I haven't had time to add that for this edition (I didn't want to delay it too much). But I have already emailed Thiago and Mika and we will be writing a new chapter for Maven for the next edition.

Tobias S. Käfer:

Tomas Polesovsky:
show Liferay sources organization and basic rules. I mean, every developer sooner or later gets to look into the sources and for a newbie it can be hard to find out the structure of the sources. I can image short paragraph describing directories within sources (portal-impl & portal-service), basic packages (portal & portlets) and what are main classes (MainServlet, ServicePreAction, LayoutAction ...).

I totally agree to this one.
I think it would also be good to explain the differences of portal-impl.jar and portal-service.jar: When they are available, which purposes they have and so on.


Yeah, that's a great idea. Thinking about it further my suggestion would be to create a new chapter called "Becoming an expert: learning how Liferay is built". This chapter will contain sections for:
  • A description of Liferay's architecture
  • A more detailed description of the libraries and frameworks used to build Liferay and why they have been chosen. Note that I have removed the section called "Core technologies" from the Introduction because I got feedback from two different people (Tobias and Daniel) that made me think that it was more confusing than helpful the way it was.
  • A description of the structure of the code and its modules (portal-impl, portal-service, ...)
  • A description of the conventions followed in the source code
  • Details about how to become a contributor to the core
  • More?


Tobias S. Käfer:

After all, the document is quite helpful, if you know what you want to do. I have seen a lot of forum posts like this "I have a big project to be handled, where should I start".
Maybe some of them are trying to get someone else to do the job, but others might be confused of the possibilites, a very recent example:
In the German forum category, there was someone trying to change the layout of the portlet area, by not using a custum layout, but by creating a custom theme.

So I think there should be a document or quide line for newbies, that help them to find the right tool for the right purpose.


This comment and a similar one from Daniel (a core engineer from our office in Madrid) made me think a lot. I think that the Developer's guide should be also for beginners. In fact it will probably be the first thing they read about development for Liferay (unless they go through training first) so it should guide them through the different options.

As a result of all this I decided to rewrite the Introduction from scratch to make sure we achieved that. I reused some of the text but wrote almost as much and restructured it. I hope that you like it. If you have comments that would make this introduction even more helpful to newbies please let me know.

Yousri BENDIABDALLAH:
I remark that it lacks a chapter on creating Layout, with an example


Yousri, I am not entirely sure what you mean by that. Do you mean how to create a new layout type? Or rather, how to create a new page programmatically?

That's it for now. I have uploaded a new annotated PDF that highlights the changes to the version that James attached so that those of you who have reviewed it can see the result of your comments emoticon

Again, thanks a lot to everyone for your comments so far. Please keep them coming so that we know what is most important for you for the next edition.
Deb Troxel
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 2, 2011 7:22 AM
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Deb Troxel

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Hi Jorge,

Can you please check the permissions on the annotated version? I'm logged in to my liferay.com account, but I get "You do not have permission to access the requested resource."

Thanks!
Jorge Ferrer
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 3, 2011 4:15 AM
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Jorge Ferrer

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Hi Deb,

Sorry about the permissions issue. It should be fixed now.

David, it is weird. The version that I see online is the new version. For example check the following URL that points directly to the "Updates" chapter:
http://www.liferay.com/en/documentation/liferay-portal/6.0/development/-/ai/updates

Don't you see the updates of February 27th?
David H Nebinger
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 3, 2011 7:43 AM
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David H Nebinger

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Jorge Ferrer:
The version that I see online is the new version...

Don't you see the updates of February 27th?


Okay, I didn't really look at the online version, I was pulling the PDF link to download what I thought was the latest version, that's the one that's older...
Jorge Ferrer
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 3, 2011 10:44 AM
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Jorge Ferrer

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Hi David,

Yeah, as I mentioned in my comment the PDF hadn't been uploaded yet yesterday. You can download it now, it was uploaded a few hours ago.
David H Nebinger
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 2, 2011 12:51 PM
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David H Nebinger

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Jorge Ferrer:
I am happy to let you know that the new edition of the guide has just been published in the documentation section of the site:

http://www.liferay.com/documentation/liferay-portal/6.0/development


Jorge, the link included in this thread appears to be newer than the one that you've given. Specifically, the one in this thread has the Feb 22nd, 2011 updates, but the one that you've listed only has the Nov 3rd, 2010 update.

Also the annotated link has some permission issues, I too get the access error.
David H Nebinger
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 3, 2011 7:34 AM
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David H Nebinger

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I sure hope you don't think I'm nit-picking here, but I've found a lot of mistakes that should be addressed. I'm only posting them here because I value similar reviews of my own documentation...

  • All even pages, in the footers for long section names, the names are truncated.
  • Page 9, Supported technologies should be Supported Technologies (case issue) to be consistent with other section titles.
  • Page 9, Supported Technologies, paragraph 2: Advice is singular, not plural, at least in the first usage. The second usage could be argued as correct, although it is not a popular form.
  • Page 9, Supported Technologies, paragraph 3: No comma should be used in the first sentence.
  • Page 10, Core Technologies, paragraph 1: Developers like to know about the tools, not of the tools.
  • Page 10, Core Technologies, paragraph 3: First comma in the first sentence should be removed.
  • Page 10, Core Technologies, paragraph 4: Technologies is misspelled.
  • Page 10, Core Technologies, paragraph 5: Performant is not a word in English. The phrase, "where it makes sense," should be separated using commas.
  • Page 11, introductory paragraph: At the time this guide was written, ... the IDE plugin had been released (tense issue).
  • Page 12, Ant Configuration, paragraph 6: You must add ";%ANT_HOME%\bin" to the PATH variable (missing semicolon). Also, first use of "Click OK" does not have OK in italics, but second use of "Click OK" does use italics. Personally I'd recommend changing the test command from simply 'ant' to 'ant -v'; otherwise you're determining success based solely upon a failure.
  • Page 16, paragraph 3: Entries should not be in italics.
  • Page 16, Deploying the Portlet, paragraph 2: The verb form is "double-check", not "double check".
  • Page 17, first sentence: When using Liferay's Plugins SDK... (Plugins should be capitalized).
  • Page 17, The Configuration Files paragraph: Should use "Liferay-specific" instead of "Liferay specific" (missing dash).
  • Page 18, paragraph 2: Personal preference, but I think we refer to "dependent jars", not "dependent .jars" since the ".jars" extension is invalid.
  • Page 19, table of portlet.xml elements: The cells of the table should have a visible border to improve readability. In the explanation for security-roles-ref, "role's" should be replaced with "roles" (it is neither possessive nor abbreviation of 'role is').
  • Page 20, table of liferay-portlet.xml elements: The cells of the table should have a visible border to improve readability.
  • Page 23, Understanding the two phases...: This should be capitalized to be consistent: "Understanding the Two Phases of Portlet Execution: Action and Render".
  • Page 23, Understanding, paragraph 1: Remove 'understand' from the last sentence.
  • Page 23, Understanding, paragraph 2: "She's doing it within a specific portlet", not "an specific portlet." "That is the portal must forward the action performed to the user" does not make sense; perhaps it should be "The portal must forward the action performed by the user..." "It must show again the whole page" is better worded as "it must render the whole page..."
  • Page 23, scenario: Item #2, the user clicks a button, not click a button. The portlet charges an amount on her credit card, not the portlet charges her an amount on her credit card. And if the charge is on her credit card, shouldn't it ship to her and not him? In Item #3, it would cause a charge on the credit card, not in the credit card.
  • Page 23, Understanding, paragraph 4: "operation was an action on a portlet was an action or would ..." doesn't make any sense.
  • Page 23, Understanding, paragraph 5: The portlet specification defines, not define.
  • Page 24, paragraph 2: MVCPortlet rather than MvcPortlet (two places). Also fix "if you don't want to user the lightweight Liferay's framework" and "Our example above could be by creating..."
  • Page 25, paragraph 1: "there are two types of URLs that can be generated by a portlet". Um, there are 3 when you include the resource URL...
  • Page 26, paragraph 2: You may have missed something missing... Last sentence, "so that the JSP can now..." I think that should be JSP can know.
  • Page 26, Passing information from...: This should be capitalized to be consistent.
  • Page 26, in the tip, it refers to the MvcPortlet framework. Now I'm starting to wonder if you refer to the class as MVCPortlet but call the framework the MvcPortlet framework. Can be confusing...
  • Page 27, paragraph 1, last sentence: Remove the comma between "shown not only, right after saving."
  • Page 27, paragraph 2: If you're using the session, then you're not really setting an attribute in the actionRequest... But in the next sentence you're removing the attribute from the session...
  • Page 29, Developing a portlet...: This should be capitalized to be consistent.
  • Page 29, last sentence: Need a space inserted in the given sentence "to set the greetingand add..."
  • Page 30, code: In the try-catch block if there is an exception you add a message to the session. However, coming out of that block you will be hitting the code to add a success message to the session. Code should be reorganized to add success within the try portion of the try-catch block.
  • Page 31, second paragraph: Says "Be sure to remove the line breaks!", but doesn't mention removing the embedded backslashes that are in the code snippet also.


That gets me through chapter 3... I can continue w/ this if you guys see value in it, otherwise I'll stop here...
Jorge Ferrer
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 3, 2011 10:40 AM
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Jorge Ferrer

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Hi David,

Thanks for the review.

BTW, Are you using the latest edition of the guide that I posted yesterday?

It seems not because you are referring, for example to the chapter "Core technologies" which has disappeared in the new version.

The new edition contains many many fixes based on the feedback from other reviewers. I'll review the ones you are mentioning just in case they are still there, but going forward use the new one as it will save you a lot of time.
David H Nebinger
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 3, 2011 10:56 AM
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David H Nebinger

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Jorge Ferrer:
Are you using the latest edition of the guide that I posted yesterday?


I was using the latest pdf that I could find (less clicking involved to view content).

Jorge Ferrer:
I'll review the ones you are mentioning just in case they are still there, but going forward use the new one as it will save you a lot of time.


A quick review of the online/html version shows many of the issues are there too, but I'll use the online version for providing further updates...
David H Nebinger
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 3, 2011 1:59 PM
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David H Nebinger

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So, I was going to continue from the theme page, but it looks like some of the embedded links are not working. One instance is the friendly URL portion of the portlet development section; I can't get to it from any of the pages, a click always returns to whatever page I was currently on.

Anyway, starting from Themes here's what I've found in the latest online version:

  • Creating Liferay Themes, Introduction: The second sentence doesn't make sense.
  • Creating Liferay Themes, Introduction: Last sentence of the XML bullet, "use this file to specify some settings of the field." I think field should be plural, but the sentence itself really has no supporting context because fields have not been introduced before this.
  • Creating Liferay Themes, Anatomy of a Theme: The portlet.vm item should be part of the directory hierarchy box.
  • Creating Liferay Themes, Anatomy of a Theme: Under the tip box, there is second box. The content relates to the tip box, so it should be included in that box rather than as a second box.
  • Creating Liferay Themes, Settings: There is XML here which should be wrapped in the code style per the conventions outlined in the preface.
  • Creating Liferay Themes, Theme inheritance: You might as well mention the other built-in theme, classic, that can be used as the parent theme.
  • Hooks, Overriding a JSP: First paragraph says "First, create the directory..." then a following sentence says you'll have to create the META-INF directory also. So the first step is not really the first... I'd strike the sentence about the META-INF directory since it's kinda understood.
  • Hooks, Overriding a JSP: The <custom-jsp-dir /> tag line should be wrapped in a code box per the conventions.
  • Hooks, Overriding a JSP: The last example code should be wrapped in a code box per the conventions.
  • Hooks, Performing a custom action: The LoginAction.java code should be wrapped in a code box per the conventions.
  • Hooks, Overriding a Portal Service: The code and the XML should be wrapped in a code box per the conventions.
  • Hooks, Overriding a Language.properties file: The XML should be wrapped in a code box per the conventions.
  • Ext plugins: Ext plugins provide the most powerful method (singular) of extending Liferay.
  • Ext plugins: Ext plugins require the server to be rebooted after deployment. A server reboot is not necessary. The application container (ala tomcat) needs to be restarted, but no reboot.
  • Ext plugins: The sentence "The main use cases in which an Ext plugin can be needed are" should instead be "The main use cases in which an Ext plugin may be needed are".
  • Ext plugins, Creating an Ext plugin: Bullet for ext-lib/portal, replace "this libraries" with "these libraries".
  • Ext plugins, Developing an Ext Plugin, Set Up: The last paragraph of this section refers specifically to tomcat-6.0.18, where previous references were for tomcat-6.0.26.
  • Ext plugins, Developing an Ext Plugin, Initial Deployment: Again with the "reboot the server"... I think you should clarify that it is not a server reboot, it is an application container restart only.
  • Ext plugins, Developing an Ext Plugin, Redeployment: First paragraph says to shut down the server; the server has nothing to do with redeployment. Shut down or stop the application server, maybe, but "shut down the server" has a known, specific, and standard meaning.
  • Ext plugins, Advanced customization techniques, first paragraph: First sentence, reword the phrase "be careful when using with such powerful tool" such as "be careful when using such a powerful tool."
  • Ext plugins, Advanced customization techniques, second paragraph: The sentence "Always keep in mind that with every new Liferay version implementation classes may have changes, thus if you change their source code directly you will have to merge your code with new version one" seems strange. "Always keep in mind that with ever new Liferay version, implementation classes may have changed. Thus if you've changed Liferay source code directly, you may have to merge your changes into the newer Liferay version" sounds better and still conveys the same meaning. And "General approach how to minimize conflicts" should be "General approach for minimizing conflicts".
  • Ext plugins, Advanced customization techniques, last sentence: Remove the comma from "This, and other advanced techniques..."
  • Ext plugins, Advanced configuration files, first paragraph: "Easier maintainability" makes no sense. Easier maintenance, maybe, or just maintainability.
  • Ext plugins, Advanced configuration files, Language-ext_*.properties description: It makes more sense to overwrite a translation of a key to a language, not overwrite a translation to a language of a key. The translation is happening to the key so they should be closer.
  • Ext plugins, Changing the API of an core service: Should read "Changing the API of a core service", not "an core service".
  • Ext plugins, Changing the API of an core service, paragraph 4: Remove the comma from the first sentence.
  • Ext plugins, Changing the API of an core service, paragraph 5: "The reason why it has been described..." Why what has been described? Changing the API of core services, wrapping the original service with your own, or the deprecated use of service builder in the ext plugin? And remove the word "also" from this sentence.
  • Ext plugins, Replacing core classes in portal-impl, paragraph 1: You can either change a core portal-impl class (singular) or change portal-impl classes (plural), but not change portal-impl class. And remove "how" from "best way to avoid conflicts". And you can either merge with a portal version (singular) or merge with portal versions (plural), but not merge with portal version.
  • Ext plugins, Replacing core classes in portal-impl, Tip: This tip is not in the same format as previous tips (missing the surrounding box). Also it should be "especially if abused," not specially.
  • Ext plugins, Licensing and Contributing, paragraph 2: "Notify of bugs" should read something like "notify Liferay of bugs."
  • Ext plugins, Deploying in production, paragraph 1: We sometimes can't use the auto-deploy functionality of Liferay for plugins in some app servers? Does this apply to all types of plugins, or just Ext plugins? If it applies to other types, this info is buried in a section about the Ext plugin that Liferay goes out of it's way recommending developers avoid. It should probably be repeated in some other section.
  • Ext plugins, Deploying in production, Method 1, bullet 2: "In a bundle, this directory is in the root of the unzipped bundle called deploy" is a little confusing. Perhaps "For a bundled Liferay distribution, the deploy folder is in the root folder."
  • Ext plugins, Deploying in production, Method 2, paragraph 2: After deploying the Ext plugin to the dev environment, do we need to restart the application server before building the aggregate war file? It doesn't say to, but this has been a key part in deploying Ext plugins up till now.
  • Ext plugins, Migrating old extension environments, Tip: The tip formatting does not match previous tips (they were bounded by a box).
  • Ext plugins, Migrating old extension environments, typical tasks bullet 2: Would be better as "Review the changes to the JSPs and merge your changes into the JSPs of the new Liferay version."


I'll continue on to next sections tomorrow...
Deb Troxel
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 7, 2011 8:23 PM
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Deb Troxel

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Hi Jorge,

I haven't seen this reported yet, but there is an error in the My Greeting Portlet p.25

String greeting = actionRequest.getParameter("greeting");
should be
String greeting = renderRequest.getParameter("greeting");

Some things I would like to see (or would have liked to have had when first getting started):

  • Service builder - explain the difference between the src and service paths
  • Advanced service builder topics - finders and custom sql queries
  • More coverage of calling from Javascript & AJAXing portlets
  • Taglib documentation (should go in the source not the guide, but still needed)
  • How to make use of Expandos
  • The scope of preferences
  • The upgrade process for portlets that use service builder db tables


In the current Service Builder chapter, the list of generated classes could be made easier to comprehend using some diagrams (what implements what, what extends what). BookLocalServiceImpl and BookServiceImpl are bold to indicate they are the editable classes, so BookImpl should be bold too.

Hope this is helpful.
- Deb
Jorge Ferrer
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 8, 2011 4:31 AM
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Jorge Ferrer

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Thanks Deb and David.

We are working on doing all the bug fixing that you both have reported.

Once that's done I'll start a new thread with a summary of the additions that have been suggested so far for the next edition (including all of those in this thread) so that you can vote and help if you want.

Jorge
Jorge Ferrer
RE: Developer Documentation: Review
March 10, 2011 1:04 AM
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Jorge Ferrer

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Posts: 2756

Join Date: August 31, 2006

Recent Posts

Hey Deb, Dave,

We have just published a new minor update of the guide that includes fixes for all of the issues that you both have found.

Thanks again,
Jorge