Remote debugging of Liferay portlets

Debugging is a task very important when building software, this allows software development with high level of quality (without bugs) because “debugging” enable you repeat cycles of “to do and to test” several time.

When developing Liferay portlets, Liferay Portal server will contain the portlets in a PC different of the PC of developer.

For this reason, debugging is an important task when working in distributed project teams with a single and/or centralized development server.

Then, remote debugging means you could debug an application or portlet on server from a different computer.

This post discusses how to use the Eclipse IDE for remote debugging on Liferay.

Versions used

  • Liferay Portal bundled with Tomcat:
  • Liferay IDE 1.2

Remote Debugging configuration

1. In your Liferay server side, if you have installed Tomcat bundle, to add this line into $TOMCAT_HOME/bin/setenv.bat or before you set any JAVA_OPTS:

In windows:

set JAVA_OPTS=-Xdebug -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,address=8000,server=y,suspend=n

In Mac OSX the file will be as follow:

## intix - remote debugging
JAVA_OPTS="-Xdebug -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,address=8000,server=y,suspend=n"
JAVA_OPTS="$JAVA_OPTS -Dfile.encoding=UTF8 -Duser.timezone=GMT -Xmx1024m -XX:MaxPermSize=256m"

2. Restart Tomcat server. You should see in log (catalina.out) a message showing that port 8000 is opened and ready to use.

Listening for transport dt_socket at address: 8000
Sep 8, 2011 9:55:02 PM org.apache.catalina.core.AprLifecycleListener init
INFO: The APR based Apache Tomcat Native library which allows optimal performance in production environments was not found on the java.library.path: .:/Library/Java/Extensions:/System/Library/Java/Extensions:/usr/lib/java
Sep 8, 2011 9:55:02 PM org.apache.coyote.http11.Http11Protocol init
INFO: Initializing Coyote HTTP/1.1 on http-8080
Sep 8, 2011 9:55:02 PM org.apache.catalina.startup.Catalina load
INFO: Initialization processed in 456 ms

* If you have Liferay Portal configured as server into your Liferay IDE, do not launch Tomcat from this IDE. It is possible that remote debugging port is not opened.
* For a successfully debugging, run Tomcat from a shell as follow:

chilcano$ sh ./ ; tail -f ../logs/catalina.out

3. In your PC of development, to open Eclipse, Liferay IDE or Liferay Studio, in top menu to do click on “Run > Debug Configurations…”, will appear a dialog setup window where you have to create a new “Remote Java Application”.
Follow the image bellow:

The Debugging Configuration window

The Debugging Configuration window

4. Under “Remote Java Application” to add a entry, add values of hostname and port of remote server.
Follow the image bellow:

Debug Configuration - set hostname and port of remote server

Debug Configuration - set hostname and port of remote server

5. In “Debug Configurations…” dialog window, click “Source” and to add source code of your project to be debugged. At end, start debugging by click on “Debug” button.

Debug Configuration - attach source code and start debugging

Debug Configuration - attach source code and start debugging

Your IDE will ask you if you want to change to “Debug perspective”. You accept it.

6. In your IDE, put some “breakpoints” on your code.

7. Open your browser and go to your webapp’s URL, if you put breakpoints are in appropriate places, then Eclipse will show the line of code being executed.

You have nice debug on Liferay!.




Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Portal
2 comments on “Remote debugging of Liferay portlets
  1. Mahesh V S says:

    Set CATALINA_OPTS instead of JAVA_OPTS; otherwise you may experience error while shutting down the tomcat.

  2. Vish says:

    Thank you!!

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