Thursday, March 12, 2009

JSR 286 : Portlet filter feature

One of the major new feature added in the Portlet technology by the JSR 286 is the Portlet Filter. A portlet filter is a Java component that can be used to modify portlet request and response before/after any lifecycle method of the portlet is being executed. The concept of Portlet filter is same as that of servlet filter. The only difference is that a servlet has only one request handling method i.e. service() method and therefore there is only one type of the servlet filter. A portlet has four types of request handling methods and therefore there are 4 different types of portlet filters. The portlet API defines following interfaces for creating Portlet filter:

javax.portlet.filter.ResourceFilter (for serveResource method)

javax.portlet.filter.RenderFilter (for render method)

javax.portlet.filter.ActionFilter (for processAction method)

javax.portlet.filter.EventFilter (for processEvent method)

Each of the above filter interface contains a single doFilter(*Request, *Response, FilterChain chain) method which differs in the type of request and response object. For example, doFilter() method in ActionFilter takes ActionRequest and ActionResponse while doFilter() method of RenderFilter takes RenderRequest and RenderResponse objects. Each of the above filter interface extends a common base interface called javax.portlet.filter.PortletFilter. This common base interface contains init(javax.portlet.filter.FilterConfig filterConfig) and destroy() methods. The init(...) method makes sure that every Filter has access to a FilterConfig object from which it can obtain its initialization parameters, a reference to the PortletContext which it can use, for example, to load resources needed for filtering tasks. The init() and destroy() methods of a portlet filter are being called only once during their lifetime.

A single filter class can provide filter functionality for more than one lifecycle methods and also a single filter can provide filter functionality for more than one portlet. There can be multiple filter associated with one lifecycle method of a portlet. The javax.portlet.filter.FilterChain class (created by Portlet container) is used to invoke the sequence of filters applicable for a particular lifecycle method of a portlet. The doFilter() method of a portlet filter may create customized request and response objects by using *RequestWrapper and *ResponseWrapper classes and passing these wrappers to the doFilter() method of FilterChain.

In order to write a portlet filter, the developer is required to do the folowing 2 things :

1) Write a filter class - A filter class should implement one or more of the above mentioned four interfaces and should provide a no argument public constructor. The filter class is also required to override init() and destroy() method of javax.portlet.filter.PortletFilter interface.

2) Add entry of filter in portlet.xml - After writing a portlet filter class, it can be configured by adding following 2 xml fragements in portlet.xml.






Filter 1 - portlet-container 2.0 Filter demo :)



The first xml fragment defines a filter by providing a logical name to it. It tell portlet container about the filter class and the lifecycle phases supported by it. You can specify initialization parameters also.

The Second xml fragment specifies the portlet(s) for which this filter will be applicable. You can specify a single portlet name or mapping to a group of portlets using the ‘*’ as a wildcard.