Sunday, 6 July 2014

Mavenize your Custom PrimeFaces Theme


PrimeFaces relies on the ThemeRoller themes for the look of the components.  There are more then 35 already available. But it is also possible to create your own custom ones.  This blog not only describes the creation of such a new theme, which is already quit good documented, but also how you can wrap it in a maven project and add some further customisations.

Create custom theme

ThemeRoller has an online visual tool to design your custom theme.  You can specify Font and colour for various types of content like header, highlights, buttons and so on.

Once you are more or less comfortable with how the examples on the site looks, you are ready to download the theme.
On the download page, it is very important to exclude all the components, you only need the skinning style. You have a convenient ‘toggle all’ checkbox to remove all the components. Also the 1.11 version of jQuery is NOT supported, so take one of the other 2 versions noted on the page.

This zip needs a few modifications before it can be used as custom theme for PrimeFaces. Luckily this is automated and can be done on this page. 

Here you can specify the custom name for your theme and after you upload the zip to the site, you are able to get a jar file which can be used directly in your application.


Most of the time you want to perform some modifications on the theme. Some of the modifications I made recently are described further on.
So it can be very convenient to turn the jar file into a maven project where the maven package goal generates a valid PrimeFaces Theme.
This is very easy to accomplish.

Just create a minimal POM file, you just need the groupId, artifactId and version info, nothing else, and extract the contents of the  jar into the src/main/resources directory.

The directory structure should look like the image above. The contents of the downloaded jar file is extracted in the resources directory as indicated in the image.

From now on, you can generate the PrimeFaces theme with a simple mvm clean package command.


In this section, I want to share you a few of the customisations I made in my recent project.


One of the common questions on the PrimeFaces forum is how you can change the size of the text within PrimeFaces Components.  This can be done by specifying a value for the .ui-widget, .ui-widget .ui-widget  CSS selector.

Instead of putting it into the css file of your application, you can also put this value in the theme and use it in all your applications.

Put the same font information also in the body selector as some components of your application are not from PrimeFaces (for example the h:outputText) and should look the same.

Table record selection

If you look closely to a selected record in a data table component, you see that the upper border isn’t highlighted like the 3 other borders. (look at the showcase with a theme like Blitzer, there you can see it easily).

You can ‘fix’ this in your theme CSS, look for the ui-state-highlight selector.

.ui-state-highlight, .ui-widget-content .ui-state-highlight, .ui-widget-header .ui-state-highlight {
   border: 1px double "yourColor"

Replace the solid with double and you wil see that all 4 borders are identical now.

Other then these 2 customisations, you can put anything you need in that theme file. Examples are
- A different colour for the cancel type of buttons
- A different colour for the default button
- Error indication on a field with a validation error
and so on.


Creating a custom PrimeFaces theme can be done quite easily.  Starting from the ThemeRoller visual designer, you can convert it to a maven project which allows you to customise the theme even further.