This tutorial is designed for beginners with little or no OFBiz experience. It covers the fundamentals of the OFBiz application development process. The goal is to make a developer conversant with best practices, coding conventions, basic control flow, and all other aspects which a developer needs for OFBiz customization.
This tutorial will help you in building your first "Demo Application" in OFBiz.
For any questions or concerns, please use OFBiz User Mailing List. Details about the mailing lists are available here.
- For 18.12, the ofbiz-framework trunk and ofbiz-plugins trunk the minimum requirement you need to be installed is Java 1.8 SDK or Sun JDK 1.8.
- Apache OFBiz can be downloaded and run on both Unix-based and Windows-based systems.
- Set JAVA_HOME environment variable (It is required to run Gradle build tool)
Execute the following command on terminal: echo $JAVA_HOME (this will show a path(i.e home directory of your Java installation) which means the variable is set and if not please set)
- System Specific requirements are available here.
Overview (Introduction to OFBiz)
Apache OFBiz (OFBiz hereafter) is a suite of enterprise applications built on a common architecture using a Unified Data Model, common logic and process components. The loosely coupled nature of the applications makes these components easy to understand, extend and customize.
The tools and architecture of OFBiz make it easy to efficiently develop and maintain enterprise applications. This makes it possible for us as the creators and maintainers of the project to quickly release new functionality and maintain existing functionality without extensive effort. It also makes it easy to customize and extend existing functionality when you have a specific need.
The architecture alone makes it easier for you to customize the applications to your needs, but many of the best flexibility points in the system would be meaningless and even impossible if the system was not distributed as open-source software. OFBiz is licensed under the Apache License Version 2.0 (ASL2) which grants you the right to customize, extend, modify, repackage, resell, and many other potential uses of the system.
No restrictions are placed on these activities because we feel that they are necessary for the effective use of this type of software. Unlike other open-source licenses, such as the GPL, your changes do not have to be released as open-source. There are obvious benefits to contributing certain improvements, fixes, and additions back to the core project, but some changes will involve proprietary or confidential information that must not be released to the public. For this reason, OFBiz uses the ASL2 which does not require this. The only required thing is to not remove the "copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices" you find in files. For more information on open source licenses see the Open Source Initiative (OSI) website at www.opensource.org.
Another benefit of this open-source model is that we receive constant feedback from those who are using the software. We have received countless bug fixes, improvement suggestions, and best-practice business advice from users and potential users of OFBiz. Many of the greatest features in the project were inspired by some comments or suggestions sent to the mailing lists associated with the project. With dozens of organizations using the software and probably hundreds of deployed sites using one piece or another of the project we generally get 20-30 emails each day about the project.
To make sure our functionality is timely and useful we always start by researching public standards and common usage for any component we are working on. This helps us support and use common vocabularies and gives us an instant breadth of options and features that can only be achieved through standards processes and other group efforts. It also opens doors in the future for flexible communication with other systems that are built around the same standards, both inside your organization and in the partner or other organizations.
The applications and application components that come with the system provide you with a broad and flexible basis that can be used as-is with the best-practices-based designs or customized to your own special needs. The applications facilitate the management of everything from parties and products to accounting, customer service, and internal resource and asset management.
Setting up and Running OFBiz
Download Apache OFBiz Framework
If you haven't already checkout Apache OFBiz Framework on your machine, let's do it. Anyone can checkout or browse the source code in the OFBiz public GIT repository. If you don't have Git, to install it you can go here for instructions.
To clone the source code, simply use the following command (if you are using a GUI client, configure it appropriately):
- Download ofbiz-framework codebase: $ git clone https://gitbox.apache.org/repos/asf/ofbiz-framework.git ofbiz-framework
- Now point ofbiz-framework codebase to release18.12: $ git checkout origin/release18.12
Since the release18.12 was split into ofbiz-framework and ofbiz-plugins, the specialpurpose and hot-deploy directories have disappeared.
New components must be put in a plugins directory which works as was the hot-deploy directory.
For OFBiz existing components, check them out using the Gradle tasks or the GIT command
1.Checkout via Gradle tasks
To get all components use pullAllPluginsSource(This command should be run from ofbiz-framework home). Beware this deletes a previously existing plugins directory.
2.Checkout via GIT command(Following commands should be run from ofbiz-framework home)
- Download ofbiz-plugins codebase: $ git clone https://gitbox.apache.org/repos/asf/ofbiz-plugins.git plugins
- Now point ofbiz-plugins codebase to release18.12: $ git checkout origin/release18.12
Running Apache OFBiz
- Using the command line, build and start OFBiz (with demo data), use command:
The above command will load demo data, (Sample Data to run apps) which comes with OFBiz, in Derby Database. Derby comes configured with OFBiz ready to use.
For more options see README.MD.
- Direct your browser to https://localhost:8443/webtools and login with username "admin" and password "ofbiz" and look around a bit.
That's it, Apache OFBiz is now running on your system!!
Create Your First Application (Hello World...)
Introduction to Components
An OFBiz component is a folder, containing a special XML file, named “ofbiz-component.xml”, that describes the resources to be loaded and required by the component.
OFBiz itself is a set of components.
- framework components: These are lower-level components that provide the technical layer and tools to the application components; the features provided by these components are typically the ones provided by any other development framework (data layer, business logic layer, transaction handling, data source pools, etc…)
- application components: These are generic business components required for ERP applications that can be extended/customized (product, order, party, manufacturing, accounting, etc…); application components have access to the services and tools provided by the framework components and to the services published by other application components.
- plugins components: These components are similar to applications components but meant for special purpose applications like eCommerce, google base integration, eBay integration, etc
Create the plugin/component
It's very easy to set up a new custom component in OFBiz in the plugins directory. Using the command line you just need to run the following command.
Running your first application
Before running our first component, let's say 'Hello to the World'
Simply open $OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/widget/OfbizDemoScreens.xml file from the ofbizDemo plugin (you just created)
We have only added the <label text="Hello World!! :)" />
- Now you will need to restart OFBiz by reloading data($ ./gradlew loadAll ofbiz). It's required as you have created a new component with some security data for your component (Setup by default in your component data directory as OfbizDemoSecurityGroupDemoData.xml) and as you will restart it, the ofbizdemo component will also be loaded.
- As OFBiz restarted direct your browser to your application here https://localhost:8443/ofbizDemo
- You will be asked to log in. Login with user: admin password: ofbiz.
- As you log in you will see the ofbizdemo application up with the hello world message you have put on screen as shown below the given image.
That's it, congratulations your first component is set up and running.
Creating First Database Entity (Table)
To create custom Entities/Tables in the database, you simply need to provide entity definition in the $OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/entitydef/entitymodel.xml file of your ofbizdemo application. This file structure is already set up when you used the Gradle task to set up your component. You simply need to go in and provide entity definition as shown below. Here we are going to add two new entities for the ofbizdemo application.
Now have a look at the $OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/ofbiz-component.xml file. You already have resource entries made in it for loading these entities from their definitions to the database when the component loads. As shown below:
To check simply re-start OFBiz (Ctrl+C followed by "./gradlew ofbiz") and direct your browser to Entity Data Maintenance Tool here: https://localhost:8443/webtools/control/entitymaint and search for entities OfbizDemoType and OfbizDemo. You will see it as shown in below given image.
Preparing data for an entity
As you have set up your custom entities, now is the time to prepare some sample data for it. You can do it in data XML files already set up under the data directory of your component as $OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/data/OfbizDemoTypeData.xml and $OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/data/OfbizDemoDemoData.xml. Set it up as shown below:
Now again have a look at $OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/ofbiz-component.xml file. You already have resource entry made in it for loading data prepared in these files as:
Loading data in the entity
At this moment to load this sample data into entities/tables defined you can either run "./gradlew loadAll" on the console or can directly go here in webtools to load entity XML https://localhost:8443/webtools/control/EntityImport.
Simply put your xml data in " Complete XML document (root tag: entity-engine-xml):" text area and hit "Import Text", as shown in below given image
As you will hit Import Text, it will load data and will show the result as shown below
After completing the data load process again visit Entity Data Maintenance(https://localhost:8443/webtools/control/entitymaint) and check your entities, you will find this data here that you just loaded.
That's it, you have successfully imported the data in the database tables, super easy, right!
Form and Services
In our previous section, we have seen how to create the entities (tables), now it's time to create a form that will allow you to make entries in that entity.
Create a Service
Before preparing the form, let's write a service to create records in the database for the OfbizDemo entity in the service definition XML file ($OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/servicedef/services.xml)
Now again have a look at the $OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/ofbiz-component.xml file. You already have resource entry made in it for loading services defined in this file as:
For this service definition to load you will need to restart OFBiz. To test this service you directly go to webtools --> Run Service option here: https://localhost:8443/webtools/control/runService
Running service via Web Tools: This is a smart utility provided by the framework to run your service.
On submission of the form above, you will present a form to enter IN parameters of the service.
Use of UI Labels (Introduction)
Internationalization of Apache OFBiz is really easy, we define the UI Labels in various languages, and on the basis of the user's locale, the respective label is shown.
Here is the example of UI Labels (while creating component <component-name>UiLabels.xml is created by default, in our case it is OfbizDemoUiLabels.xml)
Create the add Form
Let's create our first form for this service and for that let's edit the existing file at location $OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/widget/OfbizDemoForms.xml and add Create Form for OfbizDemo as shown below:
Here you can notice we have used auto-fields-service to auto-generate the form based on service definition IN/OUT attributes.
Go to Screens XML file(OfbizDemoScreens.xml) add this form location in decorator body to your screen that you used to show the Hello World... text. As shown below
Controller Entry for Form
Before you go to the form and start creating OfbizDemo records from add form, you will need to make an entry in the $OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/webapp/ofbizDemo/WEB-INF/controller.xml file for the target service which will be called when a form is submitted. You can do it as shown below under Request Mappings in your ofbizdemo apps controller file:
Everything set, let's have a look into to our recently create form https://localhost:8443/ofbizDemo
The primary key(ofbizDemoId) is not needed to be sent in with the form, it will be auto sequenced by OFBiz in database records.
Create a Find Form
Let's create a find form for the entity OfbizDemo so that you search OfbizDemos being created.
1.) Add the forms (FindOfbizDemo and ListOfbizDemo) in OfbizDemoForms.xml
Form or Screen's action tag is used for data preparation logic for your view.
We have used OOTB OFBiz generic service performFind to do the search operations which is easy and efficient to use when you have to perform a search on one entity or one view entity.
2.) In next step, we will include these forms in the screen, let's add these forms in the OfbizDemoScreens.xml file. For this include the FindOfbizDemo screen defined below in the OfbizDemoScreens.xml
3.) Add request mapping for accessing this new Find Ofbiz Demo page in controller.xml
4.) Now, let's add a new menu for showing find option.
Creating a menu is really simple in OFBiz, all the menus are defined is *menus.xml.
When we create a component from a Gra, we get a file named OfbizDemoMenus.xml
Make the following entry in the OfbizDemoMenus.xml file.
Use of UI Labels (Completion)
As we have seen above Internationalization of Apache OFBiz is really easy, we define the UI Labels in various languages, and on the basis of the user's locale, the respective label is shown.
Here we complete the example of UI Labels (while creating component <component-name>UiLabels.xml is created by default, in our case it is OfbizDemoUiLabels.xml)
Now simply restart the server, under the ofbizdemo application (https://localhost:8443/ofbizDemo/control/main) you will see the Find menu option.
Services using other engines
Whenever you have to build a business logic you should prefer to write services to leverage features from its built-in Service Engine.
The service "createOfbizDemo" that you created earlier was using engine="entity-auto" and hence you didn't need to provide its implementation and OFBiz took care of create operation. When you need to work on complex operations in service involving multiple entities from database and custom logics to be built, you need to provide custom implementation to your service. In this section, we will focus on this.
Service in Java
You can implement a service in Java as directed here in the below-given steps:
1.) Define your service, here again, we will be operating on the same entity(OfbizDemo) of our custom Ofbiz Demo application. Open your service definition file $OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/servicedef/services.xml and add a new definition as:
Notice we have this time used engine="java".
2.) Create package "com.companyname.ofbizdemo.services" in your ofbizDemo components src/main/java directory (create those if they don't exist in your src directory).
Example: src/main/java/com/companyname/ofbizdemo/services. Services for your application that have to be implemented in Java can be placed in this java directory.
3.) Define new Java Class in file OfbizDemoServices.java here in services directory and implement a method, which is going to be invoked by your service definition, as shown below:
4.) Stop the server and re-start using "./gradlew ofbiz", it will compile your class and will make it available when ofbiz restarts which updated jar file.
5.) Test service implemented using webtools --> Run Service option(https://localhost:8443/webtools/control/runService) or simply update/add the service name/new service being called by your controller request to use this service instead and use add form in your app that you prepared earlier. By doing this your Add OfbizDemo form will call this java service. Find below to new service
which will be called by your controller request.
To make sure this new service implementation is being executed, you can check this line in the console log that you have put in your code using Debug.log(....). For logging in OFBiz, you must always use Debug class methods in Java classes.
Service in Groovy
To utilize features of on-the-fly compilation and fewer lines of code you can implement services for building business logic in OFBiz using Groovy DSL.
To implement a service using Groovy you can follow below given steps:
1.) Add new service definition to services/services.xml file as:
2.) Add new groovy services file here component://ofbizDemo/script/com/companyname/ofbizdemo/OfbizDemoServices.groovy
3.) Add service implementation to the file OfbizDemoServices.groovy
4.) Stop the server and re-start using"./gradlew ofbiz", this time we just need to load the new service definition, no explicit compilation is required as it's a service implementation in Groovy.
5.) Test service implemented using webtools --> Run Service option(https://localhost:8443/webtools/control/runService) or simply update/add the service name/new service being called by your controller request to use this service instead and use add form in your app that you prepared earlier for testing. By doing this your Add OfbizDemo form will call this groovy service. Find below the new service
createOfbizDemoByGroovyService which will be called by your controller request.
To make sure this new service implementation is being executed, you can check this line in the console log that you have put in your code using Debug.log(....). For logging in OFBiz, you must always use Debug class methods in Java classes.
To get more details about using Groovy DSL for service and events implementation in Apache OFBiz you can refer document created by Jacopo Cappellato in OFBiz Wiki here.
Events in Apache OFBiz are simply methods used to work with HttpServletRequest and HttpServletResponse objects. You don't need to provide definitions of these as you did with services. These are directly called from the controller. Events are also useful when you want to add custom server-side validations to input parameters. For performing database operations you still call prebuilt services from events.
To write an event in OFBiz follow these steps:
1.) Add a new events directory to package and a new Events class file as mentioned here:
2.) Add controller request of calling this event as:
3.) Stop and start the server by rebuilding it as we need to compile the Java event class that we have added in #1.
4.) Now to test the event you can simply change the AddOfbizDemo form target to read "createOfbizDemoEvent" and as it's submitted now it will call your event.
Difference between service and event
Here are some differences between services and events,
- Events are used for validations and conversions using a map processor, while services are used for business logic like CRUD operations.
- Service returns Map.
- Event returns String.
- Services are loaded with the server, any changes in definition (not implementation if in MiniLang) needs a reload.
- We can call service inside the event. But we cannot call events inside the service.
- An event is specific local piece functionality normally used in one place for one purpose and called from its location.
- A service is a piece of functionality that can be located anywhere on the network, are most of the time used in several different places, and is called by its 'name'.
- In case of events, you have access to HttpServletRequest and HttpServletResponse objects and you can read/write whatever you want. In the case of services, you have access only to service parameters.
References: https://cwiki.apache.org/confluence/display/OFBIZ/FAQ+-+Tips+-+Tricks+-+Cookbook+-+HowTo#FAQ-Tips-Tricks-Cookbook-HowTo-DifferenceBetweenEventAndService and http://ofbiz.135035.n4.nabble.com
|Implementation possibilities||Entity auto, Java, Simple (XML) & Groovy||Simple (XML), Java & Groovy|
|Used to write business logic||Yes||No|
|Job Scheduling possible||Yes||No|
Customizing User Interface
Using FreeMarker Template and Groovy Script
Okay, so we are here in the last part of the OFBiz tutorial. In this part, we will focus on customizing the UI layer of Apache OFBiz for business management apps i.e. backend apps and esp. Most of the time you will find the OFBiz Widgets are enough. But sometimes the important thing is to develop applications as users exactly want them.
So to customize the UI part of your application first of all to make it easy we will be using Freemarker Templates instead of inbuilt Form Widgets. First of all, we will see how to use Freemarker and Groovy scripts with Apache OFBiz, and then we'll see how to put on custom styling on it by defining your own decorators. Initially, we will be using OFBiz default decorators.
Starting from here follow steps given:
1.) Add a new crud directory under the location $ OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/webapp/ofbizDemo/
2.) Add two Freemarker files at location $ OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/webapp/ofbizDemo/crud/AddOfbizDemo.ftl and ListOfbizDemo.ftl, as shown below:
2.) Add new Groovy file for data fetching logic at location $ OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/webapp/ofbizDemo/WEB-INF/actions/crud/ListOfbizDemo.groovy and add code as shown to list out OfbizDemo records:
3.) Add new screen file with Ofbiz default decorator to OfbizDemoScreens.xml with newly added freemarker and groovy files as:
4.) Add a new controller request and a new item for the OfbizDemo menu as:
5.) Add new UI Labels as used by your app.
6.) Run your ofbiz demo application and go to the new tab you just added. You should have viewed as:
Creating Custom Decorator
Having your UI in Freemarker gives you the freedom to experiment with it, doing CSS tweaks, and make your application the way a user wants. In this section, we will see how we can do that.
We will be doing it by defining a custom decorator for your application view. A decorator in OFBiz is nothing but a screen that you define and reuse afterward by including in your other screens of the application. You are already doing it with the default decorator (main-decorator –> ApplicationDecorator) which comes with OFBiz. Just observe your screens you have prepared so far, you will find that, you were using this main decorator, please refer below line in OfbizDemoScreens.xml.
The mainDecoratorLocation is available in parameters map as it is defined in webapp's web.xml
Now is the time to define your own decorator with custom styling.
In the sample given below, we are going to use Bootstrap to style our sample Freemarker screen we developed in the last part of this tutorial. Follow the below-given steps to build your own decorator.
1.) Download Bootstrap v3.3.7 directory, you can download it from here and unzip it.
2.) Create two new directories namely "css" and "js" at location $ OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/webapp/ofbizDemo/
3.) Copy bootstrap-3.3.7/dist/css/bootstrap.min.css to $ OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/webapp/ofbizDemo/css
4.) Copy bootstrap-3.3.7/dist/js/bootstrap.min.js to $ OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/webapp/ofbizDemo/js.
5.) Open $ OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/webapp/ofbizDemo/WEB-INF/web.xml and make entries for css and js directories in allowedPaths at the end as shown below:
6.) Add a new directory named "includes" at location $ OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/webapp/ofbizDemo/ and create two new files in this new directory you just added named PreBody.ftl and PostBody.ftl. We will be using(including) these two files in our decorator screen to build a complete HTML page.
7.) Open Common Screens file of your component $ OFBIZ_HOME/plugins/ofbizDemo/widget/CommonScreens.xml, this is the file we will define our custom decorator.
8.) Update screen named "OfbizDemoCommonDecorator"(which will serve as a custom decorator for your app) as shown below:
9.) Use this decorator in your Freemarker screen that you created in the last part as:
10.) Update your FTL files to follow HTML web standards and apply CSS on it as:
10. Now restart OFBiz as you have made entries to allowedPaths in web.xml. As it reloads hit https://localhost:8443/ofbizDemo/control/AddOfbizDemoFtl you should see the page with custom styles that you have used instead of using the default OFBiz theme. It should look like:
Here you can now play with it as you want. Try changing the header or having a new one, adding a footer, putting in validations, etc. So this way you can customize the UI layer of OFBiz with Freemarker templates, CSS and JS.
You may want to add your own CSS or JS files, you can include those the same way we did for Bootstrap files.
If you have followed all the steps and developed practice applications from this tutorial then this will help you in understanding other implementations in OFBiz. These things are the basic foundation of working in OFBiz. Now you know, how you can start development in OFBiz. Don't leave behind the extra links provided in this tutorial as they will help you a lot in understanding the things which are given there in detail.
Here is another good reading that can be of help is available at FAQ Tips Tricks Cookbook HowTo.
Now the next thing that comes in the way is the business processes which are really needed to be understood well for understanding the OOTB process flow in OFBiz and OOTB data model, so for this, books are available at OFBiz Related Books. Understanding well the OFBiz OOTB available data model and business processes will help in building better business solutions top of it.
Now you are ready to dive in. Welcome to OFBiz world.