Building Your First API with Liferay API Builder (Beta): A Step-by-Step Walkthrough

Liferay Version: 7.4

For Liferay developers accustomed to the traditional code-heavy approach to API creation, a new era has dawned. Liferay’s API Builder (Beta) introduces a revolutionary user-friendly interface within the control panel, allowing you to build custom APIs visually.

This guide walks you through the process of creating your first API using Liferay’s API Builder (Beta), focusing on managing data sets (entity collections) within Liferay.

Liferay API Builder (Beta): Empowering Visual API Development

Traditionally, creating APIs in Liferay involved writing extensive code, often requiring in-depth knowledge of Liferay’s intricacies. This process could be time-consuming and pose a barrier for developers who prefer a more visual approach. API Builder (Beta) shatters this barrier by offering a user-friendly interface that streamlines development. Through this interface, developers can define API schemas and endpoints visually, significantly reducing the need for manual coding. This empowers a wider range of developers to build custom API applications, fostering greater agility and efficiency in Liferay development projects.

Beyond Reduced Coding: Unveiling the Benefits of API Builder (Beta)

The advantages of using API Builder (Beta) extend far beyond simply reducing coding requirements. Here’s a closer look at the key benefits:

  • Enhanced Developer Productivity: The visual interface eliminates the need for writing complex code structures, allowing developers to focus on core functionalities and business logic. This translates to faster development cycles and quicker time-to-market for your applications.
  • Simplified API Design and Management: Defining API schemas and endpoints visually provides a clear and intuitive representation of your API’s structure. This simplifies the design process, fosters better collaboration between developers and stakeholders, and makes managing APIs throughout their lifecycle more efficient.
  • Reduced Risk of Errors: By automating code generation based on your visual definitions, API Builder minimizes the potential for errors that can creep in during manual coding. This leads to more reliable and robust APIs.
  • Lower Development Costs: The streamlined development process facilitated by API Builder translates to reduced development time and effort. This translates to lower overall development costs for your Liferay projects.

Current Focus: Mastering Entity Collection Management

As API Builder is still under development in its beta stage, its functionalities are evolving. Currently, the primary focus lies on managing entity collections within Liferay. Entity collections refer to groups of related data entities, such as users, products, or orders. This focus empowers developers to build APIs for:

  • Effortless Data Retrieval: API Builder simplifies the creation of APIs designed to fetch specific data sets (entity collections) from Liferay. This can be invaluable for populating dashboards, feeding data to external applications, or building analytical tools.
  • Streamlined Data Population: Building APIs to populate Liferay with new data sets becomes a breeze with API Builder. This allows you to seamlessly integrate external data sources or create custom applications for data entry within Liferay.

Also Read: Blade CLI: Your Secret Weapon for Effortless Liferay Development

Who Should Embrace API Builder (Beta)?

API Builder (Beta) is a perfect fit for developers who:

  • Thrive in a Visual Environment: Developers who prefer a visual approach to API design and development will find API Builder particularly intuitive and user-friendly.
  • Focus on Data Management: If your project heavily involves managing data sets (entity collections) within Liferay, API Builder offers a streamlined solution for building data-centric APIs.
  • Welcome Early-Stage Innovation: Developers comfortable working with a tool in its beta stage can leverage the latest advancements in Liferay’s API development while providing valuable feedback to shape the future of the tool.

Getting Started with API Builder (Beta): A Step-by-Step Guide

Important Note: Since API Builder is currently in beta, these steps might change in the future. Refer to Liferay’s official documentation for the latest instructions.

  1. Enable API Builder (if not already done):
    • Access the Liferay control panel as an administrator.
    • Navigate to System Settings > Platform Settings > Features.
    • Locate the API Builder feature and enable it. Save your changes.
  2. Create a New API Application:
    • Within the Liferay control panel, navigate to Control Panel > API Builder.
    • Click Create a New Application.
    • Provide a descriptive name for your API application (e.g., “Product Management API”).
    • Click Create.
  3. Define Your API Schema Visually:
    • You’ll be presented with the API Builder interface. Let’s build an API to manage products.
    • On the left-hand panel, under Entities, select the “Product” entity.
    • In the center section, define the operations your API will allow for products. Choose options based on your needs (e.g., retrieve all products, retrieve a specific product).
    • Optionally, under Data Attributes, specify the product details your API will expose (e.g., product name, description, price).
  4. Click on Endpoints Tab:
    • This is where you define how users interact with your API.
  5. Add API Endpoint:
    • Click the + icon (Add new API Endpoint) on the right-hand side.
  6. Configure the Endpoint:
    • In the popup window, define:
      • Scope: (e.g., site or company)
      • Path: URL path for your endpoint (e.g., /products or /products/{productId})
      • Description: (Optional) Briefly describe the endpoint’s functionality.
    • Click Create to add the endpoint.
  7. Configure the Endpoint (Continued):
    • Your newly created endpoint will have two tabs: Info and Configuration.
    • Click on the Configuration tab.
    • Select the schema you created earlier (e.g., your product schema) under Response Body Schema.
    • Optionally, fill out Filter and Sort fields to allow users to filter or sort product data.
  8. Publish Your API:
    • Once you’re confident, publish your API to make it accessible. Click the Publish button within the API Builder interface.

Testing Your API

  • Liferay provides an API explorer accessible at http://localhost:8080/o/api. This allows you to test your newly created API directly within the Liferay control panel.
  • In the API explorer, locate your API under the REST Applications dropdown menu.
  • You can then use tools like Postman or curl commands to send requests to your API endpoints and test their functionality.

Curl Command Example: curl "http://localhost:8080/o/c/blog-api/scopes/20119/allposts" -u '[email protected]:test'


Liferay’s API Builder (Beta) presents a groundbreaking approach to API development within the platform. Its visual interface empowers developers to build custom APIs with greater ease and efficiency. While currently focused on managing entity collections, API Builder offers a promising glimpse into the future of Liferay’s API development capabilities. As the tool matures, we can expect it to encompass a wider range of functionalities, further streamlining and empowering Liferay API development. Stay tuned for future updates as Liferay continues to refine and expand this innovative tool.

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Thanks !

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