[HOWTO] Build your JAR Alfresco Share Dashlet with Maven in 3 minutes

Two months without a post, and I come back again with Maven and Alfresco? Well, no news as the Maven Alfresco Community keeps growing..

So following the exciting news on Spring Surf and Share announced by Kev on trunk, for which since Alfresco 3.3 (now in trunk) we can now build Alfresco Share Extensions as plain old JARs, I decided to complete the Maven Alfresco Lifecycle with another archetype, providing a simple way and sample code allowing to build Maven2 Alfresco Share Extensions in minutes.

I’m sure this is going to interest the Alfresco community, same as it’s Ant counterpart build script which Will’s recently produced to accomplish the same task. The more, the merrier isn’t it? The big difference between that approach and the one we’re presenting is only that Maven enforce a standard project layout so it was fairly easy to put stuff to be packaged in the proper place.

This also comes as a very natural complement to the Maven Alfresco Share Extension Archetype (managing WAR customized builds for Share) for now it’s possible to build a Share WAR and have it depend on Share JAR modules. Great kudos go to colleague and mate Will Abson and Alfresco Engineers for having produced and nurtured the Site Tags Dashlet which is included in this archetype and that you can install following the next steps in a couple of minutes.

Couple of pre-requisites for running this:

  • Alfresco Repository WAR 3.3 (TRUNK) already running on Tomcat. You can build this from trunk and run it in your tomcat instance, or find it deployed in the Maven Alfresco Community Repository
  • Tomcat Manager already installed and using credentials “admin” with no password (config in conf/tomcat-users.xml)
  •  (optionally) m2Eclipse eclipse plugin to import Maven project (not needed but cool 🙂 )

Ready, set, go:

  1.  Create a Share Extension WAR using the Maven Alfresco Share Extension Archetype:
    • mvn archetype:generate -DarchetypeGroupId=org.alfresco.maven -DarchetypeArtifactId=maven-alfresco-share-archetype -DarchetypeVersion=1.9.2-SNAPSHOT -DgroupId=com.mycompany -DartifactId=my-custom-share -Dversion=1.0-SNAPSHOT -DarchetypeRepository=http://maven.alfresco.com/nexus/content/repositories/snapshots -DinteractiveMode=false
    • A project folder called my-custom-share  gets created, with packaging WAR
  2. Modify which Alfresco Share version you’re using, by changing the alfresco.version property in pom.xml to be 3.3-SNAPSHOT (JAR modules will just work on Alfresco 3.3+ instances)
  3. (Optionally) Test packaging and deployment of vanilla Alfresco Share 3.3 on the running Tomcat by
  4. Proceed with creation of sample module, by creating base JAR module project structure using the Maven Alfresco Share Module Archetype
    • mvn archetype:generate -DarchetypeGroupId=org.alfresco.maven -DarchetypeArtifactId=maven-alfresco-share-module-archetype -DarchetypeVersion=1.0.0-SNAPSHOT -DgroupId=com.mycompany -DartifactId=my-custom-share-module -Dversion=1.0-SNAPSHOT -DarchetypeRepository=http://maven.alfresco.com/nexus/content/repositories/snapshots -DinteractiveMode=false
    • A project folder called my-custom-share-module  gets created, with packaging JAR
    • This project folder contains a Maven project which ships the Site Tags Dashlet
  5.   Install your module into local maven repo (or remote one if you have on)
    • cd my-custom-share-module
      mvn install
  6. Include the Share module in your Share build, by just creating a Share WAR –> Share Module JAR dependency in perfect Maven style
    • Add the following snippet to the my-custom-share/pom.xml file:

      <!-- Share module dependencies -->

  7. Redeploy your Share WAR to Tomcat with the newly added dependency by:
    • cd my-custom-share
      mvn clean tomcat:redeploy

    Alfresco Share Site Tags Dashlet

  8. If all went right, you should be able to
    • point your browser to http://localhost:8080/my-custom-share
    • Create a test site
    • Log into your site and go to “Customize Dashboard
    • Clicking on the “Add Dashlets” should show you the availability of a new dashlet called Tag Cloud. There we are! 🙂
    • Once added the Dashlet to the site you should be able to see something like the attached screenshot

Easy wasn’t it? 🙂

Now starting from the site dashlet you a a Maven powered, fully enterprise scalable (easy to manage multiple and complex development cycles) and IDE independent SDK for developing Share extensions. Also this integrates quite neatly with your Eclipse/Netbeans standard environments. Specifically for Eclipse,  using m2Eclipse “Import” –> “Maven Projects”  feature and point to the folders of just created project will easily import both WAR and JAR projects in your standard environment (see screenshot) . You can also invoke Maven from Eclipse, and bye bye to the command line 🙂

Eclipse Imported Project

Eager to hear your thoughts and contributions if you like this approach 🙂

4 thoughts on “[HOWTO] Build your JAR Alfresco Share Dashlet with Maven in 3 minutes

  1. Hi Gab, good work! I’ll surely use Maven for my future Share customizations.
    Are Alfresco Maven archetypes also working for the enterprise edition?


  2. Hey Fabio,
    thanks for the kudos!

    About enterprise artfacts, even if not officially supported, the Maven Alfresco Lifecycle *should* work fine with Enterprise Artifacts once that you deploy them in your corporate repository (as Alfresco only hosts Community Artifacts by now): this is described more in details here http://code.google.com/p/maven-alfresco-archetypes/wiki/MaintainYourRepo.

    I’ve been working with Maven for my Alfresco Enterprise Customers for more than 3 years now and yes it works, but, as said, you might need to do some manual steps 🙂



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